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Bene Viera: R. Kelly Gets Pass for Pedophilia

Controversial R&B crooner R. Kelly
Controversial R&B crooner R. Kelly


After BET recently aired "My Mic Sounds Nice" and "Black Girls Rock," celebrating female emcees and honoring black women who rock in their fields, respectively, viewers hoped that just maybe BET's Debra Lee had heard our outcry, constructive criticism and displeasure over what the network has become. It appeared as if they were moving toward admirable representations of black women. But the disappointment didn't lag far behind. The laudable programs were eclipsed the evening R. Kelly opened the "2010 Soul Train Awards." I only watched for about 10 minutes, but as with every major award show, the commentary on Twitter was in full effect.


People in my timeline were either outraged that a "child molesting pedophile" was even allowed to make a comeback appearance, or folks quoted their interpretation of scripture, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone," praising R. Kelly's performance, demanding that we all move on from his past transgressions. Some of the outraged turned back to BET after his performance; those who flooded my timeline suggesting that his performance was great and unproblematic, I unfollowed.

It wasn't surprising that R. Kelly was chosen as the opening act for the award show. Cable networks do not have an alliance to morals; rather, the bottom line is business. In television, ratings equal money. The network is smart enough to know that the masses would love R. Kelly's first appearance in months, as was proven by thunderous screams and attendees standing for Kelly throughout his performance.


What I find disheartening is our community's plea for forgiveness of pedophilia and child pornography anytime a black male celebrity is the culprit. Cue Bishop Eddie Long. More importantly, it was usually women who rallied up their support for these men.

What does this say about how we view crimes that disproportionately affect girls and women?

Read the article in its entirety at Clutch magazine.

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