R. Kelly’s Sales and Streams Have Increased and Jada Pinkett Smith Is Confused

Photo: Michael Loccisano (Getty Images)

After three back-to-back nights of Lifetime’s docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, one thing is painfully clear: Black girls deserve better.

Decades of R. Kelly’s disturbing acts have finally made it to the forefront, and what he’s done in the dark has yet again made its way to the light. Stories of sex cults, years of manipulation and Kelly “knowingly” passing sexually transmitted diseases were released for the public’s consumption, and we’ve learned and relearned about the damages that the “Pied Piper of R&B” has inflicted upon the lives of multiple girls and women in our community.

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And yet, after all we’ve learned, after all that’s been brought to the table, there has been a spike in Kelly’s record sales and streams. It makes a lot of you look rather funny in the light, and it has also confused Jada Pinkett Smith.

“I’m having a really difficult time understanding why, but I think it’s important that I understand why ... even if it’s something I don’t agree with,” she told Instagram followers. Pinkett goes on to say that she doesn’t want to believe that it’s because black girls don’t matter, but it’s my humble opinion that if you’re still supporting Robert Kelly, you’re basically saying that you don’t care about black women in general.

R. Kelly’s songs are essentially subliminal shots at his victims (if you can even say they’re that subtle at this point), and since the beginning of his career, he has told us exactly who he is—in 1993, after teenage singer Aaliyah was introduced to Kelly, he released “It Seems Like You’re Ready.” I know some of y’all already have issues talking about consent, but please enlighten me: What grown-ass woman only “seems” like she’s ready for sexual intercourse?

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Yet still, a lot of you chose not to believe him. Kelly picked a metaphor that was infamously related to seducing children with music; he hid in plain sight, yet many chose to be in denial about his actions because they admired him.

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A lot of people do not want to let go of R. Kelly because they don’t want to let go of his music, but the value of a black girl’s life is far greater than a couple of hit records.

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About the author

Corey Townsend

Chief Beyoncé Content Officer @ TheRoot. I aspire to be as steadfast & unmovable as Solange's wig. Former President of Hogwart's Black Student Union.