That’s why there’s been zero discussion about Young admitting to infidelity on tape. Because someone must be blamed, the blame falls on his teammate for recording talk of cheating—not the actual, you know, cheater. The reaction is, “Well, he’s a basketball player,” which is about the same reaction Azalea gave when Young was accused of sexual harassment. The most criticism you’ll get from most people, not even most men, is that “he shouldn’t have been talking so much to get caught.” And that’s from, like, the extremists. God forbid a man, or even a woman, actually criticizes another man for cheating. That would be too much like fairness or equality.
2. If the filters on your phone have allowed you to avoid these stories, consider yourself blessed. I apologize in advance for bursting your “bubble.”
Earlier this week Kehlani, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter who used to be in a high-profile relationship with NBA player Kyrie Irving, popped up on the Instagram of her ex Jahron Anthony Brathwaite, aka PartyNextDoor. Or, er, part of her did.
Brathwaite posted a picture of Kehlani’s very distinct hand tattoo. The caption read, “After all her shenanigans, still got the R&B singer back in my bed.” Kehlani, who was no longer in a relationship with Irving, was immediately attacked on social media by followers who accused her of cheating on Irving and called her all the gross names women who are accused of cheating are called.
Kehlani was so disturbed by the social media bullying that she reportedly attempted suicide. She posted an image from her hospital bed with an IV in her arm and a caption stating that she did not cheat.
“No, I’m not a cheater … I’m a believer in following your heart and not lying to yourself,” Kehlani wrote, then deleted. Brathwaite, the ex who uploaded the photo that started all this mess, was by her bedside.
Some readers were sympathetic to the singer. Others questioned whether it was just a fake attempt to stop the bullying on her account. Public nuisance and misinformant Chris Brown weighed in for that contingent in an early-morning Twitter rant Wednesday.
“Her DMs got more names then the Declaration of Independence,” wrote Brown, who was recently involved in his own love triangle when he got a woman pregnant while in a high-profile relationship with his now-ex Karrueche Tran. The nerve of this pot addressing this kettle. “There is no attempting suicide,” he ignorantly admonished. “Stop flexing for the [Insta]gram.”
Brown didn’t say a word about Brathwaite, who started the whole fiasco by sharing the photo, possibly without permission. (I mean, if the assumption is that Kehlani was cheating, couldn’t we assume that she wouldn’t give permission for someone to take or post a photo about it?)
Irving, who confirmed that he and Kehlani were not dating when Braithwaite posted the infamous photo, is the only person I’ve seen condemn Braithwaite’s messiness. “I do not justify the picture or what [PartyNextDoor] did to try and spark all of this nonsense that could have been avoided, but me and Kehlani were not dating when the picture came out,” Irving tweeted before erasing his comments.
Irving, an actual human with a heart, added, “It’s unfortunate that [this situation has] received so much attention, but [it’s] become bigger because of a post that was misunderstood. Nothing but love and compassion over this way for [Kehlani] and her family.”
On Wednesday night, an eerily similar, high-profile incident occurred. This time, NBA player Nick Young was “caught out there" when a video confession of him admitting to cheating on his fiancee, “rapper” Iggy Azalea, hit the Internet. The video was secretly recorded by his Lakers teammate rookie D’Angelo Russell, who was swiftly ostracized by the team, according to ESPN.
Most of the articles and commentary about this issue have been about how Russell broke the “bro code” by secretly recording Young and posting the video. I’ve yet to hear a peep of criticism toward Young for cheating on his fiancee—a fact straight from his mouth, not an allegation or implication, unlike in Kehlani’s case. Azalea hasn’t even spoken out critically. She may be choosing to handle private business at home, which would be smart. She tweeted the cryptic comment, “I see D Angelo Russell is trending … I actually liked his film. Thanks bro.” That’s the most scolding I’ve seen for Russell’s infidelity.
Why all the outrage for Russell, but not for Braithwaite? And where’s all the outrage about Young’s infidelity? Or do we get enraged only when women allegedly cheat? (Or not at all cheat, in this case.)
That was rhetorical. We’ve seen this play out time and time again. Woman cheats? She’s called everything but a child of God, and no punishment is too barbaric. One hundred and sixty-six years after Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about how Hester Prynne was forced to rock an “A” for adultery in The Scarlet Letter, little has changed when it comes to perceptions of women and cheating.
Earlier this year, a woman allegedly cheated on her boyfriend in New York City, and his reaction was to force her to walk the streets of the city naked while videotaping her, then uploading the footage to the Internet. Some women were outraged, but not all. The consensus among men and way too many women? She shouldn’t have cheated, so she gets what she gets.
Kehlani is accused of cheating and is bullied so badly that she tries to kill herself. The girl’s laid up in a hospital bed somewhere. I overheard a couple discussing it at the Laundromat while I was folding clothes. The guy: “Dumb bitch shouldn’t have cheated. I would have killed her.” I turned around to catch his girlfriend’s reaction. Nothing.
A man cheats? Meh. Culturally, we treat it like discovering that water is wet, and the conversations turn to citations of links to scientific proof that humans aren’t made to be monogamous. Male humans, that is. Women are supposed to be loyal. When they’re not, they’re “hos.” Ask Chris Brown. The overall message is, there is no penalty for a woman cheating that is too stiff. And if a man cheats, it’s biology. Deal.
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She is also a blogger at SeeSomeWorld.com, where she covers pop culture and travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.