Why You Should Watch "Surviving R. Kelly" and Stop Supporting Him!

Updated on January 9, 2019
Tamara J Riley profile image

TJ is a professional photographer and writer. Her expertise is in photography, but she is strongly invested in women and children's issues.

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The world has changed drastically since R. Kelly's accusations first came to light, but what seems to remain the same is the horrible mistreatment of women around the world. From what I viewed in this heartbreaking documentary, I can’t help but ask, "Will justice finally be served for this monster?" Or, will history repeat itself once again? When it comes to our girls and women, justice can be nonexistent. Will we turn our backs on this awful human being? Or, will we once again turn a blind eye and hope his new album is better than his last?

Why You Should Watch "Surviving R. Kelly"

Yesterday, I watched all six episodes of “Surviving R. Kelly.” It was a harrowing and emotional journey. The documentary was the hardest thing I’ve ever watched. The descriptive accounts of what these women endured during their time with musician R. Kelly were disturbing (to say the least). After taking all of this in, I felt as though a large boulder was resting on my chest. After hearing the degrading descriptions of what these victims had encountered from someone they admired and trusted, I couldn’t even breathe. I wanted to scream. I wanted to hold these victims in my arms and rock them. But, all I could do was cry and pray for them. After it was all said and done, I grabbed my three children and hugged each one. Thanking God that he blessed me with these angels, I prayed that no one ever comes into their lives to harm them like R. Kelly did to those poor young girls. This documentary shed light on his truly horrible actions and caused me to turn my back on him forever!

R. Kelly's First Accusation

I remember when the first accusation came out about R. Kelly. I was a young woman in my early '20s. And, like everyone, I listened to his music. I enjoyed every beat and became enthralled by his lyrics, not realizing how truly revealing those lyrics were about his life. I guess you can say I was naïve and didn’t read between the lines. I was one of those who supported and stood by him, refusing to listen to the “appalling rumors” that began to circulate. One would think, this man wouldn’t be that stupid to throw his career down the drain.

Why I Stopped Supporting Him

Once, I was young, and like an idiot, I defended him. Saying "that wasn’t R. Kelly on that tape." I went as far as telling myself that this man had haters that were looking for a reason to shut him down due to his celebrity status. I’m even guilty of laughing at the shows that did the parody skits on him and joining in on the victim shaming, asking, "Where the hell were the parents?" or saying, "They should’ve known better." Well, now I can say that I was quite foolish. I apologize for my blatant ignorance and for not knowing any better during that time. I apologize for not showing empathy or sympathy to his victims. But, to contradict my younger self, when the verdict came back, I did not rejoice when the jury found him not guilty. Something weighed on me. I knew in my gut that this man was indeed guilty.

Now, as a mother of three small children (two of them being daughters), I can say that watching that show made me realize how stupid I was to continue supporting this monster. Knowing what I know now, I can safely say that I sympathize with the brave women that shared their stories and pain within this documentary (including his ex-wife, who I once called "a dumb broad," only to find that she too suffered at the abusive hands of this monster that everyone called "a musical genius"). These girls had parents, who hadn’t seen their daughters in years. They were trying desperately to get their daughters back. I truly felt their pain. I could only imagine what they’re going through and pray that one day they’ll be reunited with their babies.

It must have been terrifying to come forward, and I applaud these amazing women, and others like them, who have come forward to bring these animals to justice, exposing them as the true monsters that they are.

When I look at my daughters, I see how vulnerable they are and how easily a predator can come along and destroy their very existence. Seeing this documentary made me realize that it can happen to anyone at any given time. We shouldn’t let our guard down, not for one second!

Once upon a time, I was a devoted fan. Now, as a parent, I can't continue to support someone who uses girls and women for nothing more than pure gratification. I’ll stand by the victims and pray for their healing. I’ll sleep soundly, knowing that his victims are getting closer and closer to seeing that justice will soon be served.

© 2019 Tamara J Riley

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