KellsOne day as a freshman in high school, my friend Toby and I were in social studies class. The teacher had us pair up to work on an assignment. We finished the assignment and was chatt’in it up with the girls next to us, Erica and Monica. As the conversation progressed Monica asked Erica about her date that past weekend with her “man friend.” Erica begins to brag about their date; the movie, dinner and the sex afterward in his car. She also bragged about how he gives her money and so one. As she mentioned his named Toby and I looked at each other somewhat confused because we never heard of the guy. Toby asked “what grade is he in, does he go here?” Both Erica and Monica laughed; Erica replied “no nigga, he grown.”

As I maneuvered through high school, I found out even though Erica was not the norm, here situation wasn’t unique. Many teenage girls dated or had sex with older guys from the neighboring college or the surrounding military bases. Some even became pregnant. In my junior and senior year I noticed many of my male friends actively pursued older females from the same neighboring college. Not to mention that one female cougar teacher who was known for her after school activities or those two cheerleaders who had “interactions” with some members of the football coaching staff.

Just as I heard my boys talk about how they would love to fuck Adina Howard, I heard girls talk the same about R. Kelly and the Public Announcement. This all took place in the early 90’s. In 2015 why are we still shocked that teenagers do at times have consensual sex with legal adults (over the age of 18)?

Many teenagers don’t have the full mental capacity to understand the gravity of their actions. This doesn’t mean in every case and scenario they’re helpless victims or non-willing participants. I just want to point out the below list of states in the US where the age of consent is sixteen. Yep…six-fucking-teen years of age.

New Hampshire
New Jersey
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Washington DC
West Virginia

If you can get a driver’s license in these states, you can have sex with someone over the age of 18. I similarly want to mention that in all the provinces of Canada the age of consent is also 16. I’m bringing this all up because R. Kelly was celebrated at the 2015 BET Awards for his undeniable contribution to music and the internet along with social media lost their minds. This was because of the past statutory rape allegations, settlements and infamous piss tape featuring the pied piper of R&B.

Let’s be real, do I think Kells used his fame and money to get in the panties of some of these teenage girls…yes. I do think he broke statutory rape laws but again this was not forcible rape. I’m not saying I don’t have some problems with his actions but to call him a pedophile (as if he is molesting 5 yr olds) or a sexual predator (as if he is stalking women and raping them at knife point)…sorry, I just can’t go down that lane. Now I will say this, if R. Kelly would have sexed up some 15 yr old white girls or some 15 yrs old boys, dude would have been put on a rocket and shot out into the deepest parts of space.

Personal I think R. Kelly has a sexual fascination with underage girls that he acted on; which in our society is problematic. How does one weigh that against the great music he has created over the decades? What about all the other current artists who continue to work directly with R. Kelly that you may be a fan of?

Speaking of music legends; how do the people who’re outraged at the lack of banishment for R. Kelly and his continued success reconcile their logic as it pertains to Elvis Presley (Priscilla was 14), Marvin Gaye (got a 16 yr old pregnant), Rick James (abused women), James Brown (beat his wife), or Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page (had a 14 yr old girlfriend) and the countless other male artists who have either been with underage girls or abused women?

Also where does the line get drawn? What about attempted murder, assault, drug use, child abuse, etc? There are literally numerous mainstream celebrities in present day music and film who have committed crimes (some violent), yet no blogs posts or mainstream media articles expressing outrage.

How do we as a global society, un-hear musical greatness from these tarnished artists and erase their influence upon the world?