Now that I have your attention, you have to know that the title is far from the truth. At least it is for any sane person, but not for a growing number of Black women who are now using the R. Kelly acquittal to bolster their claim that Black men hate Black women.
Before I deal with that, let me tell you a story.
It was the mid-nineties and I was hanging out with Jermaine Dupri at the Santa Monica airport in California, where R & B group Jagged Edge was filming one of their videos.
It was Summertime and the honeys were out in big numbers—legs, breasts and butt cleavage on display for all to see.
These honeys were in line to be chosen for participation in the Jagged Edge video and what happened next stayed with me for a while. Jermaine pointed to the line and said: “DJ, watch this, man.”
I watched as the young Black women in the line foisted breasts, hiked up skirts and exposed as much flesh as possible the closer they got to the front of the line.I asked Jermaine if this was usual and he shook his head and replied: “It’s like this all the time.”
Over the years, I learned that such is the behavior of the so-called “Video Hoes,” who are painted by some as strong independent women and by others as victims of sexism.While I always have problems with such labels as “Video Hoes,” I have an even bigger problem with blaming their behavior on sexism. Particularly knowing that their avocation is an unpaid one.
I have yet an even bigger problem when Black women pretend that the existence of “Video Hoes” is only at the behest of the Black men who make the music. It leaves so many people out of the loop.
It leaves out parents, educators, the media and of course, the women themselves who participate in the degradation of their own image and standing in society.
It also ignores the dichotomy of public opinion regarding music videos, music and sexism, which frankly draws a line down the middle of Black womanhood. Some Black women celebrate the sexual imagery in entertainment, while others decry it and blame it solely on Black men.
But, if Black women can not reach a consensus about crucial issues including sexism and misogyny, then how can anyone expect a consensus from Black men, particularly if they are only watching?
I guess I could have put the cape on and flew to the rescue of those poor “victims” at the Jagged Edge video, but anyone with half a brain knows that none of those women would have come with me to safety. In fact, I would have been laughed at and cursed out and possibly even assaulted.
So why do some Black women continue to blame Black men for any and everything that happens to any of them? And why do some Black women claim that because Black women are subject to sexist views and sexist behavior it is only because Black men are failing to protect them or because Black men actually hate Black women?
Simple: Because it is the path of least resistance since anyone can say anything about Black men and very few will come to their defense. I mean, really, we must ask ourselves: Has it been open season on Black women, or on Black people?
Now, back to R. Kelly.
I tried to stay out of the discussion about whether he was the man in the video and whether the young girl was a victim and whether he should be jailed, because, for me, the man deserved a trial before being convicted and punished.
Some people compare it to the OJ Simpson case and claim that African Americans don’t care if a Black person is guilty or not—they just want to see them go free. That’s asinine. And it’s also a damned lie. African Americans are not so unsophisticated that they just want any famous Black person to go free simply because they are famous. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Black people who cheered for OJ did so because the “evidence” was not evidence at all. They cheered for his acquittal because Whites with the same level of evidence had been acquitted. In fact, most Black people don’t really care about OJ, because they know he’s an idiot.
It’s just that we understand the justice system and if “they” can get off, so should we. For example, there was and still is no moral outrage over filmmaker Roman Polanski, who admitted to raping an underage girl and then fled the country to evade prosecution. There are no extradition efforts and no outrage from women who want his art boycotted and/or to use him as an icon for the sexual abuse of women. Further, he was given a standing ovation at the Academy Awards a few years ago.
The people who cheered for R. Kelly understood that no matter how much people became emotionally involved, he could not be convicted simply because people wanted him to be convicted.The tape was not evidence enough, as demonstrated in many cases involving police brutality caught on tape.
And the witnesses, including the alleged victim who swore she was not the person on the tape and the woman who stole from Kelly and admitted to extortion were not enough. For all the crowing about Black men not protecting Black women, this case shows clearly that apparently many Black women aren’t willing to protect themselves, as evidenced by the cheering of Black women over Kelly’s acquittal.
What is also sad and very confusing is that in light of Black women’s failure to stand up for Black women, groups of Black women are still willing to give too much focus to chiding Black men about standing up for Black women.
WhatAboutOurDaughters.com, a site run by Black women, admitted that during the R. Kelly trial, it was Black women and not Black men who acted the most disturbing in their defense of R. Kelly.
Yet, the site has posted and is promoting a petition targeting Black men and their need to stand up for Black women by battling the exploitation of their daughters, sisters and wives.
Something is wrong with that. Where is the petition for Black women to stand up, or the petition for Black women to stop participating in their own exploitation? It’s not that I am opposed to the protection of Black women. I just think it is a mistake to lay the burden of protection solely at the feet of Black men.
I also think it is a grave mistake to link the defense of Black women and girls to the allegedly unjust acquittal of one man. Leave R. Kelly alone, because there is nothing there.
We would do better to launch unified defense campaigns of Black women and girls, simply because it is the right thing to do. We should do so because we love and cherish Black women and girls and they should be defended.
It’s said that some people think we need an icon. Why not go after all the media outlets that facilitate the soft porn of Black women? Why not go after—and I know this won’t be popular—the very Black women who participate in and facilitate the destruction of Black women and girls?
And while we’re at it, why not go after the Black women who participate in and facilitate the destruction of Black men and boys?
Really—who’s hating whom?
Next Week: Black Women Hate Black Men
Darryl James n is an award-winning author of the forthcoming powerful anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Discounted Autographed and Numbered Pre-Release copies can be ordered at www.darryljames.com. He released his first mini-movie, “Crack,” and this year, will release his first full-length documentary. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at firstname.lastname@example.org.