Black Women Around R. Kelly’s Trial React to His Conviction

When singer Sparkle testified in a Chicago court 13 years ago, she gave the jury an uncomfortable explanation for sexual assault. Music.

But even after others told similar stories in Kelly’s first criminal trial in Chicago in 2008, a jury acquitted her of child pornography charges.

And ten years later, when the Me Too movement swept the country over sexual misconduct, Sparkle said she didn’t see it as her experience. That changed on Monday when Mr Kelly was convicted of all nine charges against him in a trial in New York.

“I didn’t even know the Me Too movement was for us black people,” Sparker, whose real name is Stephanie Edwards, said in an interview with the singer after her conviction. “Then and now, black women are not very interested.”

Kelly’s case is widely seen as a turning point for Mee Too, and is the first high-profile trial since the Disruption Collection Movement was founded, in which most of the victims were black women. ..

In the days and weeks leading up to the jury’s verdict, many observers feared that the story of a possibly disastrous group of black whistleblowers would be rejected.

In contrast, Mr Kelly’s conviction on Monday was seen by many as a strong test of explanation from both those who opposed him and others whose stories were never published.

“For years I was devastated talking about the violence suffered by predators. People called me a liar and said I had no proof,” Kelly said in the verdict. Jerhonda Pace, the first woman to testify, wrote on Instagram after the verdict. : “I’m happy to end this chapter of my life.”

However, it remains unclear whether Kelly’s decision represents a broader shift towards better treatment of black victims of sexual assault.

“This moment is one of two possibilities,” says Chicago-born author Mickey Kendall, who writes about feminism and the cross. “Ultimately, black women and girls will say they deserve protection, or again the idea that black girls like us are ‘incurable’ because of the color of their skin. ”

He added, “We made a choice here in the ‘Me Too’ movement.

Recent activities have focused on priority talks.

When black Tarana Burke started the first iteration of Me Too around 2007, she wanted to use the term to raise awareness of sexual assault and connect victims to resources.

But observers say the effort was disapproved of by a prominent white feminist. And actress Alice Milano wrote the same words on Twitter: Ten years later, there is a growing concern that black women will be left out of the story.

And when high-profile cases of influential men (Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Larry Nasar) began to dominate the mass movement, white women and girls made up the majority of prosecutors. Occupied.

This discrepancy has shocked lawyers and advocates for sexual assault victims, who have long warned that black women and girls face serious difficulties in filing sexual assault and rape charges. It’s not something that needs to be done.

They report data showing that black women are disproportionately more likely to experience sexual harassment and violence than in most cases, but less so under certain circumstances. The simultaneous difficulty between sexism and racism creates a dynamic known as misogyny.

For some, these factors explain that it was a decade of failure to bring Mr. Kelly on Monday.

Professor Treva B. Lindsey of Ohio State University said, “We needed the first trial, a video, a marriage certificate, documents, a social media campaign, city organizers. State University. “This is for comprehensive treatment of sexually injured black girls and women. I don’t think that bode well.”

“If this level of sexual exploitation is necessary to create the impression that black women and girls suffer disproportionately from the general population as a result of sexual violence, that is actually a very sad sign. According to me.”

Report by Emily Palmer and Kitty Bennett who contributed to this study.