My line of work allows me the opportunity to be around a lot of influential people and I am eternally grateful for that opportunity, but I consistently remind others that regardless of their talent, money, or fame, they are human beings just like the rest of us. They breathe the same air and they are just as, if not more, flawed than the next person. Regardless of that fact, fame, fortune and power have generally had a way of providing more leeway, if not totally absolving, unacceptable behavior. It’s rather clear to see the reasons why--the most obvious being the massive amounts of money generated for themselves and others. Unfortunately, we live in a society where morals and ethics are swiftly thrown to the wayside for a dollar or access.
I’m assuming you know what is inspiring this conversation.
The Surviving R. Kelly six-part documentary, which recently premiered on Lifetime, was heartbreaking, devastating and disgusting to say the least. While watching, I had numerous moments of scratching my head, yelling “What???” to the television while also feeling sheer empathy for the survivors who were victimized by this individual.
But what was just as appalling was realizing that underneath the layers of his sadistic behavior were people who enabled, aided and abetted his lifestyle. It’s literally impossible for someone to get away with this for over 30 years without the help of others. I am pleased to see that since the documentary has aired, criminal investigations are starting to pop up, and I pray it’s only a matter of time before formal charges are made and he can be taken off the streets, but sadly, that does not change the destruction that was caused to these black women, and the ongoing abuse that is caused by others who follow in R. Kelly’s footsteps behind closed doors.
That documentary was so jarring for me that it made me evaluate my entire history with women. Not in a threatening sense, but just the notion of how we must respect the fragility and tenderness of their existence. We literally would not be here without them. I feel like I conduct myself with the utmost respect and decency, therefore predatory men have always struck a nerve for me, but it’s clear that this is not how every man chooses to operate.
As men, we have to do better.
We have to hold other men accountable for their actions towards women, especially our black women and other women of color. If you know one of your homies, uncles, dad, teammates, whomever is out here doing some foul shit, then it is your responsibility to speak on it, address it, or even lay hands on that man if it comes to it. There has to be ramifications and repercussions for these actions, and if you turn the other cheek, you’re enabling this behavior to live on and fester.
I hope this documentary has sparked conversations in your social circles and I hope you pay attention to how people are reacting to it, because that’s a sure way to see who is who and how they get down.
I hope you take it upon yourself to hold yourself and your people accountable for their actions, so that we can treat women with respect, honor and sincere love.
Last, but not least, I hope that the awareness of how frequent this abuse occurs will inspire you to step up and be the change we need to protect our women.
Jacky Wright is striving to become a master in the art of living; pursuing his vision of excellence and blurring the lines between work and play.