D Kevin McNeirEditor's ColumnOpinion

EDITOR’S COLUMN: Don’t Cry for R. Kelly — He’s Doing Enough of That on His Own

R&B superstar R. Kelly ranted and raved, crying crocodile tears, while refuting all charges of locking up underage girls and having his way with them during a “well-scripted” interview recently with Gayle King on “CBC This Morning.”

It was his first interview since begin charged with sexual abuse during which he lamented being “assassinated” — calling his accusers liars and saying that the motivation behind the ongoing circus is money — his money. He says he never sexually abused women and that he never controlled their lives. Kelly says, “all of them are lying.”

Then he went back to shedding tears, screaming to the top of his lungs and walking back and forth like a bull just before the gates are opened and the bull charges after the ballyhooed bull fighter. Sorry R. Kelly, but while you may be convinced of your innocence, and that you “believe I can fly,” I am not buying it.

I actually wonder what took so long before mothers, daughters, fathers, brothers, district attorneys and lawyers and fans, finally realized that we cannot continue to ignore what’s been going on in R. Kelly’s private spaces with young girls for decades. Still, I’m equally troubled that after so many people, some extortionists who sold their daughters into “slavery” for the right price and for alleged silence, they now have decided to come forward, shedding their own scripted crocodile tears.

I wonder where the indignation was decades ago when we first heard that Kelly had a propensity for the young chicks. I wonder where his entourage was — men and women who made a lot of money as hangers-on and pocketed big dollars — turning a blind eye to what may have been sexual abuse.

Tragically, now at 52 and with more friends turning their backs on him every day, Kelly is in this fight alone. I get why he cried with Gayle King. He’s about to lose his shirt and could even find himself behind bars. And while I believe that he has long involved himself and others in sexual acts that are illegal and immoral and, for which he should pay atonement, I cannot throw him “completely” under the bus.

Maybe, before we lock him up, we should provide him with mental assistance and care for his psychological illnesses. Pedophilia is a sickness — it’s not a crime. The crime, however, is that we have endorsed, condoned and ignored the evidence for decades because we enjoyed the entertainer so much that we were unwilling to shut off the spotlight.

Now, we’ve recast the spotlight on the villain, conveniently making sure he’s there all alone. One finger points toward him — but three fingers point back at all of us. Kelly better write another hit song with the quickness. If not, he’ll probably have a lot of time to scrounge up another megahit while chilling out in a padded cell.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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