Dear Black People,

I’m calling for another family meeting. I hate as much as anyone to give up on a brother, but it’s time for us to let go of R. Kelly. I didn’t want to have to go over to that bastion of black culture, BET, but I had to hear that interview for myself.

So when Toure asks you “Let me ask you something real that millions of Americans are thinking about and wondering about you. Do you like teenage girls?” tell me you didn’t come back with “When you say teenage, how old are we talking?” Seriously … seriously … you are going with your “it depends on your definition of ‘is’ is” defense? Hell to the naw, we are too through.

This wasn’t the judicial system working for us for a change. This is a failure on our part. Unlike O.J. or Michael Jackson who suddenly wrapped themselves in the love of the black community who they had long forgotten, R. Kelly has always been here. But we have standards and we need to hold each other accountable. He’s not a hero to be embraced. He wasn’t Nelson Mandela unjustly imprisoned and on trial. R. Kelly was fool enough to videotape himself as if we don’t live in the YouTube age. Get R. Kelly some help.

Look, I live by a simple credo: we don’t get to pee on children. Is that too much to ask from people we decide to rally around as if they’re role models? I’m not a hater. I don’t care about his money. I don’t care about his songs. I don’t care that he’s the Pied Piper of R&B.; I do care that not only did he get away with it, but we made him confident enough, worse, unashamed to go on national television and spout his brand of nonsense. So yeah, I’ll say it: you could put him under the jail … and spare us another episode of “Trapped in the Closet.”

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