Monday, June 23, 2008

Black Men Unite And Speak Out Against The R.Kelly Verdict.

I just got this in my inbox. I am glad that i did, because when i heard about R. Kelly being acquitted after there being video tape of him having sex with (read: statutory rape) and urinating on a 13 year old young black girl... I was shocked beyond words. So much so that i couldn't even blog about it. It was too glaringly effed up and wrong, on so many levels. I thank these strong, conscious and socially responsible black men for helping me find my voice. At the very least, as a dj, i will not spin any R. Kelly until he comes correct (Its not like I have any of his albums anyway, perhaps a dancehall or hip hop single where he makes a cameo). I stand with the men who wrote this statement, and hope you will too. Bless.


Statement of Black Men Against
the Exploitation of Black Women

From: Aaron Lloyd • Adisa Banjoko • Alford Young, Jr. • Byron Hurt • Cheo Tyehimba • Davey D. • Dion Chavis • James Peterson • Kevin Powell • Kevin Williams • Lasana Hotep • Loren S. Harris • Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele • Mo Beasley, Jr. • Saddi Khali • Shaun NeblettSteven G. Fullwood • Thabiti Boone • William Jelani Cobb *

Six years have gone by since we first heard the allegations that R. Kelly had filmed himself having sex with an underage girl. During that time we have seen the videotape being hawked on street corners in Black communities, as if the dehumanization of one of our own was not at stake. We have seen entertainers rally around him and watched his career reach new heights despite the grave possibility that he had molested and urinated on a 13-year old girl. We saw African Americans purchase millions of his records despite the long history of such charges swirling around the singer. Worst of all, we have witnessed the sad vision of Black people cheering his acquittal with a fervor usually reserved for community heroes and shaken our heads at the stunning lack of outrage over the verdict in the broader Black community.

Over these years, justice has been delayed and it has been denied. Perhaps a jury can accept R. Kelly's absurd defense and find "reasonable doubt" despite the fact that the film was shot in his home and featured a man who was identical to him...But there is no doubt about this: some young Black woman was filmed being degraded and exploited by a much older Black man, some daughter of our community was left unprotected, and somewhere another Black woman is being molested, abused or raped and our callous handling of this case will make it that much more difficult for her to come forward and be believed. And each of us is responsible for it.

We have proudly seen the community take to the streets in defense of Black men who have been the victims of police violence or racist attacks, but that righteous outrage only highlights the silence surrounding this verdict.

We believe that our judgment has been clouded by celebrity-worship; we believe that we are a community in crisis and that our addiction to sexism has reached such an extreme that many of us cannot even recognize child molestation when we see it.

We recognize the absolute necessity for Black men to speak in a single, unified voice and state something that should be absolutely obvious: that the women of our community are full human beings, that we cannot and will not tolerate the poisonous hatred of women that has already damaged our families, relationships and culture.

We believe that our daughters are precious and they deserve our protection. We believe that Black men must take responsibility for our contributions to this terrible state of affairs and make an effort to change our lives and our communities.

This is about more than R. Kelly's claims to innocence. It is about our survival as a community. Until we believe that our daughters, sisters, mothers, wives and friends are worthy of justice, until we believe that rape, domestic violence and the casual sexism that permeates our culture are absolutely unacceptable, until we recognize that the first priority of any community is the protection of its young, we will remain in this tragic dead-end.

We ask that you:
  • Sign your name if you are a Black male who supports this statement:

  • Forward this statement to your entire network and ask other Black males to sign as well.

  • Make a personal pledge to never support R. Kelly again in any form or fashion, unless he publicly apologizes for his behavior and gets help for his long-standing sexual conduct, in his private life and in his music.

  • Make a commitment in your own life to never to hit, beat, molest, rape, or exploit Black females in any way and, if you have, to take ownership for your behavior, seek emotional and spiritual help, and, over time, become a voice against all forms of Black female exploitation.

  • Challenge other Black males, no matter their age, class or educational background, or status in life, if they engage in behavior and language that is exploitative and or disrespectful to Black females in any way. If you say nothing, you become just as guilty.

  • Learn to listen to the voices, concerns, needs, criticisms, and challenges of Black females, because they are our equals, and because in listening we will learn a new and different kind of Black manhood.
We support the work of scholars, activists and organizations that are helping to redefine Black manhood in healthy ways. Additional resources are listed below.

  • Who's Gonna Take the Weight, Kevin Powell
  • New Black Man, Mark Anthony Neal
  • Deals with the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot, Pearl Cleage
  • Traps: African American Men on Gender and Sexuality, Rudolph Byrd and Beverly Guy-Sheftall
  • I Am A Man: Black Masculinity in America by Byron Hurt
  • Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes by Byron Hurt
  • NO! The Rape Documentary by Aishah Simmons


Anonymous said...


At this point, this system is just about judging who is to be hated more, and black women go on the bottom.

richard said...


i feel your outrage. it is appreciated. this is a horrifying FU to black girlhood and humanity.

and i have to be real, on another level, your comment hits other chords... like an oppression olympics thing, to establish who is the most oppressed/hated in this country... a conversation that can invalidate lots of experiences. it also feels weird to hear this from someone who isn't a black woman to make that call, you know? so it hit a nerve to hear you declare that black women are at the bottom of society, even though i know you are a progressive man, talking about the system, and also sharing my outrage. does that make sense?

thanks for contributing your views as always tho!

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I overstepped boundaries on that. I understand that sometimes the same words from someone not in the experience isn't always cool.

But yeah, this is more my response to people celebrating him getting away with this. What really is being celebrated?

To flip it from oppression olympics, what I see is a celebration of "Oh, look! He gets some privilege too!"...

richard said...

oh MAN am i ever feeling THAT one!

i am also really flabbergasted that people are celebrating his getting acquitted. yay, a black man beat the system. did this little black girl beat the system? no, she got raped, had it filmed, had thousands of people witness that, and then have no justice.

i've seen blogs that are calling the people who wrote the statement against the exploitation of women as haters, and equating this with famous cases that have to do with black men and crimes outside of the community (not to minimize those crimes, but the community issue is paramount and singular in this case). dunno how many of them would say the same thing if it was their daughter who went through this dehumanizing process.

i know that a lot of people from the Black Voices blog (where the polls weigh towards being pro-yay-R.Kelly) are clicking thru to here, i want to hear just one pro-R.Kelly black person tell me that if their daughter was put thru that that they would strike it off as an opportunity to celebrate a black male celebrity beating the system.

richard said...

oh yes, and thanks for your understanding bankuei :) said...

Hey Richard! {waves}

It's good that black men are taking a FIRM stance for black women and children!!

I am a bit "ole skool" in that I grew up EXPECTING a black man to be in charge and to be protective of women, children and community. It never occurred to me that I would live to see what I see who want a woman to run the house...IF they are living in the house with their kids at all!

My dad taught me that black men are "watchmen" and that they instinctively keep watch and whenever a man is unattentive, there is something very off-kilter about him because black men who are healthy mentally and emotionally are always "watchmen".

I was probably six when he told me that...and I believed him then ...and I still believe that.

If I am in unfamiliar surroundings and something even "seems" like it may jump off, I instinctively look around for a watchman.


{raised fist}

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

SinlessTouch said...

I agree, black women are being treated like sex toys here. Anyway, great post! It was a touching and thought-provoking subject. I was glued to my seat while reading it.

richard said...

Sinless Touch,

thanks for the props and thoughts on the blog. pretty slick segue into promoting your biz too, lol! thanks again.