DEFENDING R. KELLY, THE ARTIST

I have not watched the documentary, Surviving R Kelly, which seeks to portray R. Kelly as a sexual predator and all. I do not know the man. I cannot speak to the validity or otherwise of claims made in the documentary. And because I have not met the man and I do not know his ex-wife or any of the women making these claims against him, I cannot claim to know that the claims made in the documentary are true or otherwise.

This is what I know: I respect the work of the artist. His work, especially his 2004 hit album, You Saved Me/Happy People, was one of the greatest tools that helped form the resilient, focused, and redoubtable man that I am today. Hit songs like The Storm Is Over, I Believe I Can Fly, If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time, When A Woman Loves, and many more inspirational music of this artist is still doing for individuals around the world, what many of his songs did, and is still doing for me. Which is to lift me up whenever I am down, buoy my faith, and cheer me up. There are few artists whose work can do all these things.

I know this too, I have been ganged up on by multiple women. Not for similar case as R. Kelly the man. But a much more worse situation. I was married, and my ex-wife was living a reckless lifestyle that endangered the wellbeing of our baby we just gave birth to. When I could not talk her out of it, I enlisted the help of Texas Child Protective Services and when the women of CPS saw that I was an immigrant and my ex-wife is American by birth, they turned on me. All of them. They knew my ex-wife’s lifestyle posed a grave danger to our son’s wellbeing but because they wanted to make a statement, they cared less about our son’s welfare. My ex-wife told them that I had an African girlfriend and that I wanted to take our son and go and form a new family with my African girlfriend. And that was all it took for objectivity, professionalism, and the need to investigate my ex-wife’s abuse of our son got thrown out of the window. I could not believe that people whose job it is to protect the welfare of a child was enabling my ex-wife to beat drug tests, falsify reports to make me look bad, and enlist the help of her friends to give false testimonies about her ability to be a mother. At a point, when they could not discourage me to stop fighting for my son, these CPS ‘investigators’ took issues with me. They tried to muscle my ex-wife to go and get a restraining order against me on a false claim, so I can stop seeing my son. My ex-wife was a good person who made wrong choices. She said no to that. I had to fight them back through their office of consumer relations. And I eventually had to go the route of divorce to save my son from her destructive lifestyle.

What am I saying? That someone lined people up to shed tears on camera and make claims against another person does not mean that the accused is guilty. Out of our unanchored emotions these days, men and women alike, and this inexplicable and sinister need to jump in on the bandwagon, many have hastily forgot that there are laws in this land. And as far as I am concerned, no court of the land have found R. Kelly the man guilty of the claims against him. And as I write this piece, I have not heard about any charges filed against him based on these claims. So how can we just declare a man guilty and go after his life’s work simply because someone aired a documentary? Did we offer R. Kelly the man the opportunity to defend himself before we throw him out to wolves? Just as in my case against CPS personnel who chose to use their government offices to harass me because “I did not know my place,” have we tried to question the motive behind this documentary. Have we tried to look into the relationship, past and present, between the producer of this documentary and the man, R. Kelly? What is in it for her? where is the “Why”? Have we become so dumb to objectivity and skepticism?

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