When boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping Miss Black Rhode Island, Desiree Washington, in an Indianapolis hotel room, for which he served three years in prison, we threw him a parade upon his release.
When singer R. Kelly finally went to trial for 12 counts of child pornography, after a video of what really looked like him urinating on an underage girl surfaced online and in every hood across America, we stood in front of the courthouse with signs that read "free R. Kelly" and continued to flock to his concerts and buy his albums.
And even when football legend and actor O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, a White woman, and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1995, much to the ire of Whites across America, there was a since of vindication not only for Simpson but for Black America. I remember hearing the shouts of praise, hallelujah, and glory to God coming from houses up and down the street as Black people came out of their homes and celebrated.
However, when the verdict came down this weekend, in record time I might add, that Simpson had been found guilty by an all White jury in Las Vegas, Nevada of robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon, coercion with use of a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit a crime…not a word from Black America.
Whether it's admitted publicly or not, Black America is not found of Black men, especially sports athletes and celebrities, who choose to marry White women. To be fair, neither is White America, who has had a hatred for O.J. since his murder acquittal 13 years ago.
All that withstanding, Black America still stood by Simpson's side throughout his murder trial, assuming he'd learned his lesson.
The lesson that dictates if your Black ass gets off for murdering a White woman once, you do not take your ass back out there and find yourself another White woman while turning your back on the people who had your back when no one else did.
Unfortunately, for O.J., his biggest mistake was choosing to abandon the community that stood by him in spite of his indiscretions.
As my Aunt so plainly put it, "he's never been one of us. He's always thought he was one of them."
I think it's clear that Black America is no longer in O.J.'s corner and once your ghetto pass is revoked, it's almost impossible to get it back. Just ask country singer Cowboy Troy, who sung at this year's Republican National Convention, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, commentator Armstrong Williams, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
That's why you can have grown women including Angieniki, Jerhonda, and friends, standing in front of a Chicago courthouse holding signs in support of a Black man who has a history of pedophilia like behavior with underage Black females, and yet nothing from those same women for a brotha who is on trial in a conservative mostly White county with a jury of all White people for crimes that are in my opinion far less egregious than pedophilia.
See R. Kelly, for what it's worth and that isn't much, never turned his back on Black America and in return, Black America reciprocated by overlooking the video showing someone that looks an awful lot like him urinating on an underage girl, his marriage to underage singer Aaliyah, allegations in Polk County Florida of 12 counts of possession of child pornography when authorities alleged to have found a digital camera containing 12 pictures of an underage female with three of them showing Kelly and her engaged in intercourse, a lawsuit filed by a Chicago woman who accused Kelly of going "half on a baby" and impregnating her when she was a teen-ager and forcing her to have an abortion, and most recently, as in this year, allegations from Kelly's longtime publicist, Regina Daniels and her husband George that Kelly was having a secret affair with their college-age daughter, Maxine, right under their noses.
Throughout all of that, Kelly kept it real with Black America, never forgetting his roots.
Now had O.J. come out of his trial in 1995 with the attitude that he was in fact a Black man living in America and acted accordingly, I can't say he wouldn't have been found guilty, but chances are, "some Black leader" would have called for a march on Las Vegas by now and for a re-trial due to the fact that a Black man was convicted by an all White jury.
Instead, White America is celebrating from coast to coast because Simpson will quite possibly be going away to prison for life. Something they've wanted to happen for the past 13 years. But worst of all, Simpson is left without the support of Black America, who can be a force to be reckoned with when angered…just ask shock jock Don Imus and Black Congressional Members who choose to support Sen. Hillary Clinton over Sen. Barack Obama during the Presidential primary season.
It's a known fact that troubled Black celebrities cannot afford to lose the support of Black America. And while that support isn't always defensible, as in the cases of R. Kelly and Mike Tyson, it can make all the difference in times like these.
And if O.J. thinks he's lonely now, wait until he meets his cellmates in a Nevada state prison, where some would argue the majority of that state's Blacks are housed and where perhaps for the first time in his life, he will realize that he is a Black man living in America…albeit a bit too late.
At 30, Jasmyne Cannick is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the worlds of pop culture, race, class, sexuality, and politics as it relates to the African-American community. A regular contributor to NPR's 'News and Notes,' she was chosen as one Essence Magazine's 25 Women Shaping the World. She can be reached at www.jasmynecannick.com or www.myspace.com/jasmynecannick.