R.Kelly,Chris Brown and Russell Simmons :A portrait of the music industry and the victimization of black women.
Gloria Allred, a lawyer for many of the women assaulted by R.Kelly called him the worst sexual predator she ever pursued in 47 years.
He stood before a jury following the testimony of multiple young women that he sexually abused and held against their will for his sexual pleasure. Kelly used his wealth power and the music industry to find his victims of more than 20 years and hold off law enforcement, the media, and even parents. At the height of his career, his personal wealth was estimated at more than 100 million dollars.
In addition, the record labels he worked for had interns that worked with him sign non-disclosure agreements that protected the company from his sexual actions. The women outside the record company were often paid as much as 200,00 dollars for their sexual relations. In an interview, Lisa Van Allen, who was one of the first victims of R.Kelly, stated, “I knew that he was a pedophile after she walked in on him having sex with Aaliyah.”(Aaliyah Dana Haughton)
In many cases, his name R.Kelly “the king,” brought in young girls by their families, hoping to display their talent with his help. At 12 years old, Aaliyah was presented to R.Kelly by her uncle, and he would produce her first album. Still, he had sex with her when she was 14 years old, and he married her illegally at 15.
R.Kelly was never dropped by his record labels; his concerts and music streaming continued; there was no outrage by the black community. Instead, his victims were viewed as needy, with families looking for someone to entrap.
“ Lyrics from “marry the pussy” Album Black Panties R.Kelly 2013 : “When I call the pussy it come right away And I call the pussy every day I love pussy and pussy love me I can tell the way it strip for me if I am ever in the mood for two pussies Then the pussy will bring another pussy to me”.
Black and White singers lined up to work with R.Kelly or have him produce their music. But in plain sight, the sexual assault continued; an Epic record executive in 2002 refused to view Kelly on a sex tape with a 14-year-old girl. Because he needed him to produce the group B2K’S new hit song.
The album was #2 on the Billboard 200 and #1 R&B Hip/Hop.
The arrest of R.Kelly for the pedophile charges combined multiple police organizations. Still, there were accusations of collusion in his arrest by the police in 2002. In addition, there has been a history of mistrust within the black community charging black men of sexual assault of women. But women of color cases of sexual assault were rarely treated with the same urgency. Black women were distrusted and mistrusted by law enforcement, who often portrayed them as sexual and willing sex partners and not as victims of assault.
There has been a long perceived image within black culture of the “street life”black man a hustler and a player who controls all women. Black women are sexualized as the object of the power of this kind of man . R.Kelly in his 2013 album “black panties” the objectification of black women was clearly portrayed. The “black panties album “ As of October 2015, the album has sold 462,000 copies in the United States.
But black women have no say in this image without being called a “sell out” even if they are victimized. Hip Hop makes more than $10 billion per year in music sales and has helped the revival of the music industry.
The Black community embraced R.Kelly who was sadistic to young girls for years and allowed him to go unchecked.
R.Kelly was supported by more than wealth; the music industry was aware of his sexual abuses but provided him with awards. The music industry organization like AMA, BET, and Billboard gave him their highest honors. In addition, his world tours had record crowds, which helped sell 75 million records, fill streaming lists, and keep his music on the R&B radio networks.
But the industry has refused to address the images of black women and the violence by its artist.
Singer Chris Brown, who R.Kelly called the new king of R&B music in 2004, made the top 100 in R&B singing for Jive music. But in 2009, Chris Brown, before the Grammy awards, assaulted Rhianna, his girlfriend, and was given five-year probation. While Rhianna won a Grammy in 2009 and was one of the music industry’s stars, the highly publicized assault did not cause any actions against Chris Brown. Other artists continued to work with him, and he released the “Graffiti” album and in 2011, his album “fame” won him the Grammy for best R&B album of the year.
Following a breakup with Rhianna a second time, Brown began a relationship with actress Karrueche Tran. Within less than a year Tran, broke off the association in 2015, learning of a child’s birth with another woman Nia Guzman. But even with a break up in 2015, two years later in 2017, Tran requested and was granted a 5-year restraining order against Brown when he threatened to shoot her. On October 31, 2017, Chris Brown released heartbreak on a full moon, a top 10 album. Still, he never faced the media industry or RCA’s retaliation for a second restraining order for threats of assaults on another black woman.
However, Chris Brown was rejected for his violence against women by Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom for a visa to tour.
The rejection by foreign nations did not affect the U.S. music industry’s streaming of Chris Brown’s music even when he threatened a woman with a gun on August 31, 2016. He refused to allow the SWAT team serving a warrant to him. Brown was later arrested, but the charges were dropped.However, the pattern of violence by Chris Brown against black women has never been questioned by the greatest supporter of R&B music in black Americans.
In January 2019, Brown was also detained by Paris police and charged with the rape of a woman. Still, he later would skip a meeting with the French officials, and he claimed he was innocent. He refused to appear for a May 28 meeting with prosecutors, and Brown’s French lawyer argued he did not have to appear.
Chris Brown fled France, which had no extradition treaty with the U.S.
The foundation of the music industry fears backlash by the artist that make billions of dollars for the business. In 2018, when Spotify planned to remove R.Kellys music, artists like Kendrick Lamar threatened to remove his music from their streaming. As a result, Spotify and all streaming platforms were accused of targeting artists of color. The companies were forced to reevaluate their plans to drop black artists even when they committed violent acts against black women.
UltraViolet, an activist group, sent a written request to remove R.Kelly, Chris Brown, and other men who have victimized women in 2018. Still, they were never supported by black men of the music industry or its executives. Instead, the industry has always claimed that it defended the creative rights in its lyrics. In R&B, the style of sexualization has been a consistent theme. But for many, the music reflects the perception of black women and the value that they have in society. Author Paul Butler wrote in an OP-ED in the Washington Post that black songwriter Chancellor Johnathan Bennett (chance the rapper) reacted to viewing the film “surviving R.Kelly. “ “ Saying he did not value the victims because they were black women.”
He later took back his reply, but this is the mindset that exists with many black men. Many black people reject the #MeTo movement and view it as only a part of the world of white women. However, R&B music has been culturally considered as a part of the life of black people, even if it marginalizes black women. ( Tarana Burke founder https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarana_Burke)
Russell Simmons was a prominent music executive beginning in the 1980's who built “def jam records.” He was worth more than 34 million and owned several companies connected to the hip-hop generation. But, unlike R.Kelly, he lured educated professional women who were mature and raped them at his home and different locations. Drew Dixon, a young black music executive, was one of his victims.
In May 2017, a film was released by HBO “On The Record” Dixon, along with 20 other women, documented the rapes and sexual assaults by Russell Simmons. Simmons denied the claims and attempted to discredit the women. The film was initially directed and written by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering and had the production support of Apple streaming and Oprah Winfrey. But Winfrey, as Executive Producer, withdrew before the release she would claim “creative differences” that severed the deal with Apple tv. On January 25, 2020, the film appeared at the Sundance film festival, and HBO MAX released it on May 27, 2020.
Drew Dixon continued to work at the def jam and never reported the rape to the police. Still, after the rape, she felt keeping Russell Simmons away from her was her real job. So she left the def jam and joined Arista records. Tragically, she was sexually harassed by executive Antonio LA Reid in 2018; he was later forced to resign as Epic Records CEO.
Reid was never sanctioned for his actions by the record industry and is still the head of HITCO music company. Russell Simmons and his supporters attempted to pressure Oprah Winfrey not to support the film. Still, she claimed she was not motivated by him to drop her support but by the inconsistencies of Dawn Dixon’s story. But she reported that she believed her and the other women.
Dawn Dixon stated that she was disappointed by Oprah Winfrey as the most influential black woman in the world.
Over 20 years in the music industry, Russell Simmons received numerous awards like the Gold Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in Music from Essence. But during this period, the voices of the women he assaulted were never heard.Like so many black women attacked by Russell Simmons, Dawn Dixon believed she was labeled a “selling out” to the white man for telling her story.
The rapper and music producer Curtis James Jackson III (50 cents) on social media attacked Oprah Winfrey for only singling out black men like Michael Jackson, R.Kelly, and Russell Simmons for a #MeToo attack.
Jackson claimed that white men like Harvey Weinstein and Jeffery Epstein were given a pass by Winfrey from criticism.
This is the atypical reaction felt by many black men who think it is better for black women to suffer in silence from the assaults rather than expose crimes against them. Again, to preserve the image of a black man.Unfortunately, the mindset of black ethnocentrism has en-grained this type of thinking.
The women’s activist group “times up” sent an open letter to Apple, Spotify, and Sony to end their connection to R.Kelly and Chris Brown and any artist who promote or have a history of assaulting women. However, their music is still on the 300 lists for Spotify.Russell Simmons 2018 sold his interest in the def-jams recordings to the Universal Music Group for an estimated $340 million. He has moved to Bali, Indonesia, which has no extradition with the U.S. There are no criminal charges currently based on the “film on the record” for him to face.
“Where is Black America , where are black men.”
The Activist Dream Hampton, who produced “surviving R.Kelly,” claims most black women fear the criminal justice system due to the racist history. She feels that the police will use the situation of a sexual assault to attack black men, even those that are innocent and that they will not be believed in the end by the police.
R.Kelly in a interview with Gail King of CBS presented his side of his connection to the women he was accused of holding hostage .Two of the women Azriel Clary, 21, and Jocelyn Savage, 23, dismissed their parents’ claims that they were brainwashed by the 52-year-old, and denied being held captive by him. But The women later recanted that Kelly had control over them during the interview and testified against him at his trial.
Kelly claimed that he was victimized by collaboration between the police and the families of the women who accused him of abuse; he believed he treated them like a family. But they all testified about his methods of control. Kelly mentally degraded the women with sex involving other women and men. Then, sadistically, he made them prove they were worthy as his partner. But the reaction by his fans was that they were “gold diggers “ and liars.The women faced threats from his fans most who are from the black community.
Black women have the highest rate of assault from their intimate partners of any group of women in America. In addition, the rate of rapes and sexual assault violence ranks the highest for women in the U.S.
The entertainment Industry in 2020 embraced the “Black Lives Matter “ movement. Still, it has failed to make the lives of black women a focus of the campaign.
The culture of black America has demanded justice from law enforcement and the killing of black men and women. Still, it has not made the same demand on the support of Record companies and streaming services that use artists that assault women.
The U.S. government has held Congressional investigations on the danger of Social Media and the spread of hate over the internet. But The Congress has never questioned the industry’s failure to make the record label accountable for an artist that promotes sexual assault.
The music industry from streaming made in 2020 $12.2 billion with the R&B making up five of the top ten artists producing the industry’s profits.
Four of these artists are black men .
The leaders of social justice change in America have been black women from groups like #muteRKelly , #MeToo , Timesup and Black LivesMatter but clearly missing from this movement are black men. Black men are the driving force in the R&B Hip Hop music industry at every level but this is were the paradox exists. They have allowed the factors of profits that can be gained rather than stop the R.Kelly like artist. But the black community and the world needs to be asking black people questions about a music that promotes a victimization of it’s people . The world needs to know the following answers :
Why have black men failed to speak out for black women’s voices to be heard when they accuse men like R.Kelly, Chris Brown, and Russell Simmons assaulting them ? Why have black Americans been unable to denounce the presenting of awards to artists willing to promote or create music that nurtures victimization of women?America has undergone a time of enlightenment with “Black Lives Matter.” but it needs to be willing to embrace black women from victimization.
To read other works by Raj Christian regarding race and social justice check out the article :White rage lives in The soul of Critical Race Theory in America. Why? And Sell-Out! “I am black”! But I have a life of my own.
Profile :Raj Christian is a Journalist and Cyber Security Forensic Investigator with writings that cover subject on Law and Justice as well as social justice . He has a website at https://clickbite.net.