What does R. Kelly’s alleged culture of abuse suggest about how society views black women?


Jim DeRogatis:

Well, I have spoken to more than a dozen brave women who have put their names and faces to the accusations they have made in BuzzFeed in July 2017, the big story that has revitalized interest in this sad tale. It got 8.5 million hits online.

It is at a tipping point, in the sense that we are like Cosby. It took those two dozen women who put their names and faces on the cover of “New York” magazine before people said, Bill Cosby has been hurting people for a very long time.

I don’t know why — I have enormous respect for Dream Hampton. What she has done with this six-part series is given the viewer the experience I have had for 18 years, of sitting with a woman who is doing the hardest thing imaginable, telling you about her sexual abuse, going on the record, crying on my shoulder, Yamiche.

I mean, I have seen the scars on women’s wrists where they attempted to kill themselves after relationships with R. Kelly, a man who is selling 100 million records, a man who is recording with Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

And where is the music industry, his peers, the record company? As of today, he’s still signed to RCA Records and his concerts are still promoted. Mute R. Kelly has been trying to raise the level of awareness. Those are black women activists.

And there have been black women activists protesting since his trial in 2008, since his indictment in 2002, since my first story in December of 2000.

I really can’t think — I’m a student of rock history. I’m a music journalist. I’m a rock critic. We can talk about Jerry Lee Lewis, and we can talk about Led Zeppelin, and we can talk about Marvin Gaye.

I don’t think — when the dust finally settles, if there’s an end to this story someday, I don’t think anybody in the history, not only of popular music, but popular entertainment, has abused his position of fame for so long to hurt so many people.


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