Raz-B's Molestation Publicity Blitz

Former B2K member Raz-B has taken to YouTube to air accusations that his associates molested him as a child. Is he making a spectacle out of a serious issue?

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For the benefit of headline-seeking celebrities everywhere, it's time we add an addendum to the phrase, "All press is good press."

In recent months, thanks to the likes of Fantasia Barrino and Tyler Perry, suicide and molestation -- two issues largely unaddressed in the black community -- have been brought to the forefront. Of course, Barrino and Perry didn't let the media into their personal lives solely for the sake of awareness; both of them discussed their problems in conjunction with the promotion of their latest projects.

Despite this, one could argue that at least the issues they've lent their names to may prompt an overdue public dialogue. I was initially inclined to agree, but after watching the breakdown of a fallen boy-band member over his alleged molestation, it's become clear that some stars who open up to the media about their troubled pasts can do more harm than good.

Raz-B, a former member of the black boy band B2K, has launched an Internet tirade against the men he feels wronged him. Raz, born De'Mario Thornton, first leveled allegations of molestation against his ex-manager and cousin, Chris Stokes, on Christmas Eve in 2007 by way of a YouTube video. In it, he claimed that he and his brother Ricardo Thorton were inappropriately touched and molested by Stokes.

Stokes quickly dismissed the claims, saying that they were "vehemently false and hold no merit." Raz-B lent credence to Stokes' denial when he apologized in a retraction video he posted just two days after his original video went viral. Nearly three years later, Raz-B is back with a vengeance and directing his anger at an ever growing number of targets.

Citing as inspiration Perry's revealing Oprah Winfrey interview, in which he discussed the sexual and physical abuse he endured as a child, Raz-B has now backtracked on his original backtracking. Now he says that while Stokes did indeed touch him inappropriately, it was actor-singer Marques Houston who had sex with him without protection. Houston has vehemently denied these allegations and has since filed a restraining order against Raz-B, citing "emotional distress."

Former bandmate Omarion, the group's breakout star, still aligns himself with Stokes and Houston and has also dismissed Raz-B as someone seeking money and attention.

In an effort to validate his stories, he's released several videos of his recorded conversations with everyone from Houston's sister to Quindon Tarver, a former label mate who previously shared his own allegations of molestation at the hands of Stokes in a 2008 interview with Vibe magazine. Many of these conversations were recorded and released without consent, drawing the ire of various unwilling participants in Raz-B's viral campaign.

Despite my own sneaking suspicions, it is not my place to state whether or not Raz-B's accusations are true. I do, however, have a problem with Raz-B's methodology.

Days ago, Raz-B released another video -- this time of him holding a conversation with Ray-J. In the video, Raz continues the celebrity-patented pattern of mixing serious discussions with topics pertaining to his career. In previous videos, Raz-B has mentioned movies and new singles. In the latest, he seeks R&B singer and VH1 "celebreality" star Ray J's advice on how to salvage his career. Ray J suggests a reality show -- because we don't already have enough of those.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM