AFRICANGLOBE – The Boondocks, perhaps, is the most revolutionary Black American themed television show in recent memory. Its satiric episodes brought issues to light such as prison, the Black American culture of putting the wrong things as priority and even highlighting the criticisms and stigmas of Tyler Perry (which p*ssed a lot of people off.) In turn, it gained a lot of viewers, in which they were impressed how the show made them reconsider their train of thought.
One of my favorite episodes of The Boondocks period, is the “The Trial Robert Kelly” which exploited the message that the Black American community will overlook any suspicious activity documented by the court of law of their favorite Black celebrity and declare them innocent because of greed, racism, etc. (i.e Michael Jackson, unfortunately.)
It was perhaps the first “serious” time a television show dealt with R. Kelly’s issue of under aged girls and the Black community’s choice to blindly support him despite the obvious. With the information released via The Village Voice of the numerous times that R. Kelly has had relations, raped, been taken to court, paid settlements and made videotapes with more than a dozen young girls (reportedly,) it seems that Aaron McGruder, creator, writer for The Boondocks was right all along. And it took the message eight years to drive home.
Jim DeRogatis, who’s followed R. Kelly’s sexual slip ups for many years, can’t forget how the media and Kelly’s fans just threw the accusations underneath the rug because he’s a hero in Chicago music folklore. In fact, go to a concert when he performs one of my favorite songs, “R&B Thug” and see how they treat him. He’s practically a Chicago music God. DeRogatis can’t forget the documents of the Black women who Kelly purportedly victimized, overlooked in the justice system, as the judicial system would rather strap their backs with cash and tell them to take off and never come back.
But most importantly, DeRogatis can’t forget the silence, forgetfulness that the laws have implored to those women. Those Black women, according to him, “are the least important people in America.” It’s about the victims, folks, and with these facts being proportioned, we must put Robert Kelly into perspective. Because perspective is reality, right?
R. Kelly has been enabled by us; his fans, the Black American community, by not taking action or encouraging him to get help. We’ve been blinded by his prodigious talents, his chart topping singles and his star power. We could have boycotted his CD’s, not shown up on his tours until Jive stopped supporting him and sent him to some rehab. But, we didn’t, and that’s why he’s been at liberty to record whatever songs he liked. And just like in that Boondocks episode, his celebrity prevailed and he’s recorded nine albums (counting he and Jay-Z’s Unfinished Business in 2004 as well) since the sex-tape and charges were news in 2002.
But what did that Boondocks episode really get across? That our Black American celebrities are still human, no matter the circumstances. Had R. Kelly had been just Robert Kelly, a 35 year old UPS worker from Chicago; he would have been deemed a pervert on sight. He conceivably could have been jailed most likely before 2002. But that’s how the cookie usually crumbles.
But what does it matter? For R. Kelly, the storm is over now and the clouds have passed. His album,Black Panties, debuted at number four on the Billboard 200. It also sold 133k in its first week, his most since 2009’s Untitled. That debut is 65k more than his last album Write Me Back, which was released in 2012. I personally like R. Kelly, he’s one of my favorites, but it’s a tragedy he didn’t get the help or counseling he needed, unless it happened. But as we see from the sales, he isn’t going anywhere. By the way, Aaron McGruder is a genius.
By: Brad Washington