Reconciling the human and the gift.
The thin line between being a fan and an enabler.(#1)
My morning started as usual with a prayer and a playlist. Travis comes on reminding me to get stronger as I wait on the Lord, Tasha is next reaffirming the power of grace even in my brokenness.
The storm is over, makes its play on the list, I rush out of the bedroom to catch a glimpse of the video of the melodious gospel oldie, eyes closed, arms stretched out, spinning around in circles, off-pitch singing along, hey who cares I can literally see the “sunshine somewhere beyond the clouds”.
The memories come flooding in. It was like I had been strapped in a time machine. I could see myself back in the year 2000 when the song was first released, walking down the dusty streets in Lagos to the bus stop, to catch a bus with the earphone plugged into my ears, and the voice of R Kelly prophesying into the storms that I was yet to experience.
I am relishing the euphoria of those memories, and subconsciously assigning each lyric to the past and current storms in my life, totally oblivious that my daughter is curiously watching on.
What’s his name mum? she asks, to which I respond R Kelly. As his name comes out of my mouth, a sense of guilt comes on me, which R Kelly do I introduce to my 9-year-old daughter?
Do I introduce the super talented R&B artist who has serenaded us with hit after hit gospel or secular genres, or do I introduce him as the man on a video that surfaced allegedly showing Kelly engaging in sex with, and urinating on, an underage girl with a string of other sexual allegations and no prosecution?
Maybe the god in me can forgive the allegations, because the music feels so good and I am selfish but how do I reconcile the feel-good hit-maker as the same man whose better half and mother of his kids gives a gut-wrenching account of how she endured abuse during her 13-year marriage to the singer. Is it possible to find a way in my mind to marry these opposing personalities? Can I still enjoy the music and discard the man? Does being a fan of the music mean I am also an enabler of his actions too?
I got the answers to my questions from the man himself. R Kelly is seen in a video that recently surfaced online where he is says in response to the #MuteRkelly movement
“I’ve got a million motherfuckers hating me, and 40 billion motherfuckers loving me, It’s too late, they should have did this shit 30 years ago.” — R Kelly
Am I an Enabler?
Its hard to admit but I think I am one of the 40 billion he is talking about who has looked the other way for too long because of my own selfish gratification. I think subconsciously that since I am not his victim or personally know someone who has been abused, his actions outside of music doesn’t concern me. There is a thin line between being a fan and being an enabler.
We somehow absolve ourselves of any responsibility for the hurt of others until it shows up on our doorstep.
We must resist the urge to give these gifted demigods undue passes when they clearly haven’t earned the morality ticket. It’s like intentionally eating food we know is laced with poison because it looks good and hope it won’t kill us because it was prepared by a gifted chef.
The fact that I felt guilty when I had to explain who he was to my daughter tells me I have to #muterkelly.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, please clap and share.