Last year at
his negro superbowl state of the Black union, Mr. Smiley made a point of repeatedly using the word accountable to promote his book and his political positions Well, I do believe that it is time that we hold Mr. Smiley accountable for his actions. Smiley has often appeared to show concern for the issues currently facing the Black community, however; his efforts often end in some sort of self promotion, which undoubtedly benefits him. What good could possibly come from publishing the work of a man that was filmed having sex with an underage girl? What exactly is he trying to promote by doing this, except for the fattening of his own wallet?
Though Kelly was acquitted of all charges, his insistent interest in young girls and women speaks of man that clearly has a predatory nature. Yes, I have not forgotten about Aaliyah. Though his fans spent large amounts of time slut shaming the young girl he was caught on tape with, the point of the matter is that this relationship could not possibly have been equal because of the age differential between the two? What is it about young girls that continues to draw his interest? Could it be the ability to use his fame and male privilege to his advantage?
You will note that he needs to qualify the word teenager. Sure he has friends that are nineteen, now that his predatory ass has been tried. “If you was charged with something and you was found innocent, then you can’t be found guilty for having been found innocent.” Alright, getting a not guilty verdict is not the same as being innocent. It means, that you were found not guilty because there was not enough evidence to prove your guilt in a court of law. This is in no way a vindication. You can ask O.J about that one.
Apparently, with the help of celebrity author David Ritz, Kelly will write about the loss of his mother, the creative process behind hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly” and “You Are Not Alone,” as well as discuss his six year legal ordeal. It must have been trying for him, poor baby; we will just ignore what the young girl went through. It seems that we find it easier to show sympathy for the predator, than we do the victim and only in this unbalanced state could it be possible for Tavis Smiley to believe that it is an excellent idea to offer this man a platform to tell his story.
In the debate regarding the issues that continue to face the Black community, quite often there is a fixation on the issues of Black masculinity, thereby; creating Black women as invisible. You cannot heal the Black community, until you first deal with the crimes that are committed against Black women. The slut shaming, rapes, physical violence, emotional abuse and sexism, that Black women face everyday are a virus to our community. Black women are the mothers of Black children and are therefore the foundation upon which the community is built, however; this simple fact routinely gets ignored to promote the Black male patriarchy. Not only has R Kelly not received justice for his actions, he will profit from them through the enabling of Mr. Hold’em Accountable Smiley.
R. Kelly may have avoided penalty for his actions but it is certain that just like any other predator, he will return to this behaviour. It is a compulsion that has been documented time and time again. The lyrics of his songs take on new meaning when we understand that they are not aimed at women, they are aimed at vulnerable children. This sickness is what Tavis not only seeks to promote but profit from. Is there no limit to the depravity in the name of a buck? At some point we need to look inward and hold our own community accountable and if Tavis Smiley is not willing to do this, then we need to band together and forcefully denounce this horror. If young Black girls don’t matter to the Black community, who will hear them when they cry out in pain?