It’s been a while since I’ve seen a social issue saturate the pop culture scene like “Surviving R. Kelly” has.
From social media to CNN, from water cooler talk to our radio airwaves, the subject is unavoidable, and rightfully so. On the slim chance you haven’t heard, “Surviving R. Kelly” is a six-part Lifetime Television Network documentary detailing sexual abuse allegations against singer/songwriter, Robert Kelly aka R. Kelly. The series aired over 3 nights, from January 3 to January 5, 2019 to 1.9 million viewers, making it Lifetime’s highest rated program in more than two years. Surviving R. Kelly sheds light on sexual manipulation, sex slaves, molestation, and even what some parents are willing to risk in hopes of fame and fortune. Yet as we showcase a renewed energy to #muteRKelly, we must be sure to Unmute ourselves. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “1 in 5 women are raped at some point in their lives, and in 8 out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator.”
The R&B hit-maker wrote, produced, and performed legendary songs that, for many of us, have been the soundtrack to much of our lives. He made undeniable hits like “I Believe I Can Fly”, “Step in the Name of Love”, “Bump N’ Grind”, “Ignition”, albums like 12 Play, the hip-hopera “Trapped in the Closet”, and the list goes on and on spanning a nearly 30 year career. By many accounts, he is a legend and a musical genius, but Lifetime’s mini-series shows a disturbing side of R. Kelly. A side that can manipulate young girls into leaving their families and remaining on his property as tortured and abused sex slaves.
I’ll be honest, I have not watched the series, as I knew R. Kelly was sickening when he married singer Aaliyah and urinated on a 14- year-old on a sex tape that was released in 2001. Even more honesty, I did not want to comment on the R. Kelly, the underage girls, nor this Lifetime series until I heard one of my favorite comedians and social media influencers, Kevin Fredericks aka KevOnStage, raise a question regarding the R. Kelly’s allegations that I haven’t been able to shake from my mind: “Does the issue have to hit your home before it becomes important? Does it have to affect you for it to be wrong?”
Accordingly, Press Release Marketing is spearheading a fundraising discussion on behalf of Hosanna 4 Youth hosted by Sizzle. This event will feature three panelists: The Founder of Hosanna 4 Youth, a survivor of sexual abuse and a license family and marriage therapist. Guests and panelists will discuss how sexual abuse rips communities apart, breaks up families and creates identity issues. However, sharing traumatic experiences will expose predatory behavior, promote healing and ultimately minimize occurrences of sexual assault. Additionally, conversations like these allow organizations like Hosanna 4 Youth to detail how they provide resources and financial support to victims of sexual crimes like rape, molestation and incest.
We are hopeful that the Surviving R. Kelly conversations will generate not just social media memes but surge of concerned citizens. In addition to blaming Kelly, we must address parents and other enablers that may have intentionally and unintentionally overlooked signs of sexual offenders. The end game must be healing, wholeness, and hope of brighter days. Otherwise, it’s just bringing up more pain.
Press Release Marketing Writing Team Lead
Audrey L. Aaron
@PressReleaseLLC on Instagram