The western world’s attack on the black man remains ever-present in a society that preaches of change. The change, of course, speaks to a change in approach as the players in the global game of white hegemony remain stagnant.
From Kevin Hart, to Dwight Howard to R.Kelly, the black male remains a persistent target of a piercing white gaze that perpetuates racism in the (not so) silent declaration of the black man as the devil. R. Kelly’s public lynching has a unique prominence as it highlights the systemic disregard for the black man and the black women. simultaneously
In a conversation about the R.Kelly documentary that recently aired on Lifetime, a colleague mentioned that “there is too much smoke for there not to be a fire.” This comment instantly reminded me of Ida B. Wells’s Southern Horrors where she exposes the whiteness of “smoke” as indicative of its correspondence to white supremacy. The book documents acts of white terror to which the destruction of the black body precedes a butchering of black identity. Wells delineates a number of black bodies accused and persecuted for crimes they never committed depicting the true horror that is his story. Contemporary culture reveals a similar landscape to which black men of varying placement in western society remain persecuted to perpetuate black bodies as the face of crimes continually cast against them.
I want to say here that my intention for writing this piece is not to defend R. Kelly the individual. My efforts are to expose that for any member of the black collective to cheer for R. Kelly’s demise or incarceration is to cheer to your own consequence.
The jails are filled with those plagued by white supremacy and run by those who should have inherited their ancestor’s life sentences.
R.Kelly’s case mirrors what the world witnessed with the late, great Michael Jackson. In Kelly’s instance, the players are all black. Michael Jackson’s public persecution exposed his rise to global superstardom as a hoisting onto the branch where he would eventually hang for the world to see. Jackson’s persecution targeted his white fanbase by employing the one tool that would rob him of his fair-weather fans—white children.
Jackson, like so many of the black men delineated in Wells’s book, endured consequence for his caricature as a black man. Specifically, the accusations cast against him functioned with a belief that preceded the formal charges. Even when the world screamed and shouted as Jackson danced across the stage, the belief that he was a hyper-sexual black man capable of the sins their ancestors continues to cast upon black bodies without consequence lay dormant. With R. Kelly, white supremacists employ black bodies to execute a white agenda. These black faces that speak out about what functions as black male terrorism, function to implement black faces to manifest what the white world continues to perpetuate about black male sexual degeneracy. This agenda is guised under the pervasive falsity that the black man, not the white media, is the devil that must be extinguished.
Blacks, in siding with the white media attack against R. Kelly are made to believe that they are on the right side of justice. This belief omits the query as to why Bill Cosby is in jail, why Lifetime aired “Surviving R. Kelly” and Harvey Weinstein and others like him remain unscathed, and relegated to the forgotten sins of yesterday.
These efforts are not anti-R.Kelly, but anti-black. Media attacks as seen in Jackson and R. Kelly, amongst others, ensure that blacks remain the face of crime, notably, sexual assault—crimes that white men and women continue to perform without acknowledgement or penalty. Jails are full of black “rapists” while those who have and continue to rape our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters, sons, teachers, among others maintain the freedom and power to cage us.
Black women, contemporary racism resumes the technique of separating us from our men. Please allow me to remind you that while the black man remains the face of “rapist,” the white woman, remains the race of “race victim” while we remain abducted, bought and sold by those who gloat in freeing blacks from the hypersexual black male beast. To believe or perpetuate the black man as “beast” is to believe and perpetuate the white woman as “beauty”—to condemn our husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons of the very hypersexuality that birthed us as a people.
The white world does not care about black women and our sexual integrity. Accusations that surrounded R. Kelly in the late 1990s and the early 2000s went virtually under-discussed because his alleged victims were black women. This is, of course, problematic, but reflective of the systemic forces that enable our demise regardless of the assailant.
It is of great significance to note that black disenfranchisement is not a desire. As the late Dr. Amos Wilson noted, black disenfranchisement is a necessity. It is necessary that blacks live in a world without care, and it is necessary that we as a collective never forget that our division and espousal to the poisonous ways of white supremacy remains necessary for the control exuded over our collective.
The white world, specifically, the white media has never cared about black people. We as a collective are never fed information that stimulates our mind or challenges us to assume our full potential. Thus, it is crucial to note that the media exposure of R. Kelly is to the benefit of white supremacy not to uplift the black collective. The white world only cares about white people and maintaining white supremacy.
In closing, while the white world does not care about the sheer falsity of projecting the black man as the devil, the white world does not care about casting the black collective as soldiers in their own genocide so that they may label our demise suicide.
Black Power ❤