Nobody wants to defend a child predator.
Amidst the ongoing #MeToo movement, the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries is rocking the music industry.
Once again, the spotlight shines on a hugely influential celebrity whose sexual predation has been protected and facilitated for years. Now #cancelrkelly and #muterkelly are picking up steam, and celebrities are speaking out. Here's a handy roundup of everyone who agrees: fuck R. Kelly.
Vince Staples on R. Kelly www.youtube.com
Vince Staples blasted people on Twitter who are just now taking notice of "this K. Relly shit." Staples has a point, considering he has been speaking out against R. Kelly since April 2018, when he used his Coachella interview to put "piece of fucking shit R. Kelly" on blast for being a "child molester."
John Legend + Sparkle
To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn't feel risky at all. I believe these w… https://t.co/ypjCmCngMr— John Legend (@John Legend)1546572415.0
John Legend and Sparkle were the only artists who agreed to participate in the actual documentary, Surviving. The executive producer revealed that many others, including Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Questlove, and Dave Chappelle refused. But as John Legend made clear on Twitter, he doesn't "give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist."
Chance the Rapper
https://t.co/bqbKlsDA9l— Chance The Rapper (@Chance The Rapper)1546737653.0
After taking flack for audio where he said he "didn't value the accusers' stories because they were Black women," Chance tweeted an apology to R. Kelly's survivors, and expressed regret for ever having worked with him.
I stand by anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault: https://t.co/67sz4WpV3i— Lady Gaga (@Lady Gaga)1547098989.0
Receiving newfound backlash for her 2013 R. Kelly collaboration, "Do What U Want (With My Body)," Lady Gaga set the record straight on Twitter. She said she stands behind the accusers "1000%" and plans to remove the song from iTunes and all streaming platforms.
Common Admits Black Community Failed R. Kelly Survivors, Says That Ends Now
Common Admits Black Community Failed R. Kelly Survivors, Says That Ends Now www.tmz.com
In an interview with TMZ, Common lamented the fact that he turned a blind eye to the long-cited allegations against R. Kelly. He believes the entire black community has been failing R. Kelly's survivors for a long time and should have put a stop to things long ago.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith took to Instagram to express confusion at the fact that R. Kelly's music sales have spiked greatly since the docuseries aired.
Ne-Yo took to Instagram, too, posting a #muterkelly image alongside the sentiment that music is not more important than protecting our daughters.
#SurvivingRKelly is the #1 trending topic on @twitter. Amen. Speaking truth to power.— kerry washington (@kerry washington)1546569316.0
On Twitter, Kerry Washington praised the fact that #SurvivingRKelly was the #1 trending topic.
While I know our fans would be greatly disappointed if we didn’t perform those songs on #TheMillennoumTour , after… https://t.co/tRDBpSrOjV— OMARION (@OMARION)1546834541.0
Omarion announced on Twitter that people need to acknowledge the ugly truth behind their industry, and he will no longer be performing any songs written by R. Kelly. That being said, he still plans to perform R. Kelly written songs on his current tour so as not to disappoint fans.
Tank made a long, heartfelt Instagram post expressing that in spite of how R. Kelly inspired his career, he cannot separate the music from the monster. He writes about his love for his own black daughters, and he suggests that there are more predators like R. Kelly currently working in the industry.
Bun B straight up said, "Man, fuck R Kelly." He also reserved some fucks for Hugh Hefner, Sparkle, and R. Kelly's ex-wife, but later clarified that he did not intend to discount their experiences.
I’m not feeling R after watching that .... it’s so much filthy shit going on in this industry nobody will ever real… https://t.co/DUqKvPMYkf— Meek Mill (@Meek Mill)1546727825.0
On Twitter, Meek Mill said he's "not feeling R" after watching the docuseries, and, similar to Tank, suggested that there are a lot of other people in the music industry with similar accusations floating around.
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Breaking down the bias of comfort films.
With the constant onslaught of complicated news that 2020 has brought, sometimes you just want to be able to shut off your brain, relax, and feel happy.
Enter comfort films. These are the feel-good movies that feel like a warm hug when you finish them, the ones that allow you to escape for a short while. We often turn to these types of films in times of trouble or extreme stress, and when we're not sure what films of this nature we should watch, we turn to the Internet for options.
Rivera's "Glee" character was not just important, she was groundbreaking.
As a young queer girl growing up in the south, I was lucky that my parents weren't homophobes.
My parents believed that people were sometimes born gay, and while they wouldn't "wish that harder life" on their children, they certainly made me and my sister believe that gay people were just as worthy of love as anyone else. I was lucky.
Still, in my relatively sheltered world of Northern Virginia (a rich suburb near Washington D.C.), homophobia wasn't as blatant as hate crimes or shouted slurs, but it was generally accepted that being straight was, simply, better.
In high school, it wasn't uncommon to use "gay" as an insult or for girls to tease each other about being "lez." While many of us, if asked, would have said we were in support of gay marriage and loved The Ellen Show, being gay remained an undesirable affliction.
Even more insidious, I was instilled with the belief—by my church and my peers—that if gay and lesbian people could be straight, they would. But since they were simply incapable of attraction to the opposite sex or fitting into traditional gender roles, we should accept them as they are as an act of mercy. At the time, this kind of pity seemed progressive and noble. Those in my close circle of family and friends weren't openly dismissive or condemning of gay people, but we saw homosexuality as a clear predisposition with no gray areas.
Specifically: Gay men talked with a lilt, giggled femininely, and were interested in things that weren't traditionally "masculine." Meanwhile, gay women dressed like men, had no interest in makeup or other traditionally female interests, and probably had masculine bodies and features. In my mind, before someone came out as gay, they did everything in their power to "try to be straight" but were eventually forced to confront the difficult reality that they felt no attraction at all to the opposite sex. I viewed homosexuality not as a spectrum, but as a black and white biological predisposition that meant you were thoroughly, completely, and pitiably gay.
As a child, when I began to experience stirrings of attraction for other girls, I would reassure myself that not only had I definitely felt attraction for men in the past, but I also liked being pretty. I was a tomboy as a child, sure, but as I got older I recognized that my value was increased in the eyes of society if I tried to be a pretty girl. As it turned out, I even liked putting on clothes that made me feel good, I liked applying makeup, and I liked some traditionally "feminine" things. In my mind, this meant that I couldn't be gay, because gay women didn't like "girl" stuff.
As a teenager, I began to learn more about the difference between gender and sexuality, and the fluidity of both. I began to let myself feel some of the long-suppressed feelings of queer desire I still harbored.
Still, in the back of my mind, the instilled certainty of sexuality as an extremely rigid thing sometimes kept me up at night. What if I was gay? Would I have to change the way I looked? Would I have to give up some of the things I liked? In my mind, being gay meant your sexuality was your whole identity, and everything else about you disappeared beneath the weight of it.
But then, Santana came out as gay on Glee.
GLEE - The Santana 'Coming Out Scene' www.youtube.com
If you didn't watch Glee, than you might not know the importance of Naya Rivera's character to so many queer young women like myself. Santana was beautiful, she was popular, she had dated boys, she was feminine, she was sexy, and she was gay. There's even evidence that Santana had previously enjoyed relationships with men.
But the character came out anyways, not because she had to or because it was obvious to everyone around her that she was gay, but because her attraction to women was an aspect of her identity she was proud of. It wasn't an unfortunate reality she simply had to make the best of; it was an exciting, beautiful, aspect of her identity worth celebrating.
Before Santana, it had never really come home for me that being gay wasn't an entire identity—that it wasn't an affliction or disorder, but just another part of a person. She also didn't suddenly start wearing flannels or cutting her hair after coming out. She was the same feminine person she had always been. I had never realized that being a gay woman didn't have to look a certain way. Santana and Brittany's gay storyline showed two femme-presenting women in love, and for me, that was a revolution.
If it wasn't for Naya Rivera, we may never have had that important story line.
"It's up to writers, but I would love to represent [the LGBTQ community] because we know that there are tons of people who experience something like that and it's not comical for them in their lives," Rivera told E! News in 2011. "So I hope that maybe we can shed some light on that."
While Rivera herself wasn't gay (the importance of casting gay actors in gay roles is a separate conversation), she understood how important her character was to the queer community. "There are very few ethnic LGBT characters on television, so I am honored to represent them," Rivera told Latina magazine in 2013. "I love supporting this cause, but it's a big responsibility, and sometimes it's a lot of pressure on me."
Rivera wasn't just a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community on screen. In 2017, she wrote a "Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community" for Billboard's Pride Month. In it, she wrote, "We are all put on this earth to be a service to others and I am grateful that for some, my Cheerios ponytail and sassy sashays may have given a little light to someone somewhere, who may have needed it. To everyone whose heartfelt stories I have heard, or read I thank you for truly enriching my life."
Now, as we mourn the loss of Naya Rivera, at least we can take comfort in knowing that her legacy will live on—that the light her Cheerios ponytail and sassy sashays gave us won't go out any time soon.
Excuse me, I have to go weep-sing-along to Rivera's cover of landslide now.
Glee - Landslide (Full Performance + Scene) 2x15 youtu.be
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