Thursday, June 19, 2008



In my email today:


Dear Friends:

I am one of the contributors to the anthology Be A Father to Your Child,
which focuses on encouraging healthy fatherhood development in the black
community. We felt it necessary to issue the following statement and petition in
response to the recent verdict in R. Kelly's child pornography trial.

Please read and, if you agree, sign and forward this to your networks.

Jelani Cobb

*Statement of Black Men Against the Exploitation of Black Women*

Six years have gone by since we first heard the allegations that R. Kelly had filmed himself having sex with an underage girl. During that time we have seen the videotape being hawked on street corners in Black communities, as if the dehumanization of one of our own was not at stake. We have seen entertainers rally around him and watched his career reach new heights despite the grave possibility that he had molested and urinated on a 13-year old girl. We saw African Americans purchase millions of his records despite the long history of such charges swirling around the singer. Worst of all, we have witnessed the sad vision of Black people cheering his acquittal with a fervor usually reserved for community heroes and shaken our heads at the stunning lack of outrage over the verdict in the broader Black community.

Over these years, justice has been delayed and it has been denied. Perhaps a jury can accept R. Kelly's absurd defense and find "reasonable doubt" despite the fact that the film was shot in his home and featured a man who was identical to him. Perhaps they doubted that the young woman in the courtroom was, in fact, the same person featured in the ten year old video. But there is no doubt about this: some young Black woman was filmed being degraded and exploited by a much older Black man, some daughter of our community was left unprotected, and somewhere another Black woman is being molested, abused or raped and our callous handling of this case will make it that much more difficult for her to come forward and be believed. And each of us is responsible for it.

We have proudly seen the community take to the streets in defense of Black men who have been the victims of police violence or racist attacks, but that righteous outrage only highlights the silence surrounding this verdict.

We believe that our judgment has been clouded by celebrity-worship; we believe that we are a community in crisis and that our addiction to sexism has reached such an extreme that many of us cannot even recognize child molestation when we see it.

We recognize the absolute necessity for Black men to speak in a single, unified voice and state something that should be absolutely obvious: that the women of our community are full human beings, that we cannot and will not tolerate the poisonous hatred of women that has already damaged our families, relationships and culture.

We believe that our daughters are precious and they deserve our protection. We believe that Black men must take responsibility for our contributions to this terrible state of affairs and make an effort to change our lives and our communities.

This is about more than R. Kelly's claims to innocence. *It is about our survival as a community*. Until we believe that our daughters, sisters, mothers, wives and friends are worthy of justice, until we believe that rape, domestic violence and the casual sexism that permeates our culture are absolutely unacceptable, until we recognize that the first priority of any community is the protection of its young, we will remain in this tragic dead-end.

We ask that you:

o Sign your name if you are a Black male who supports this statement:

o Forward this statement to your entire network and ask other Black males to sign as well

o Make a personal pledge to never support R. Kelly again in any form or fashion, unless he publicly apologizes for his behavior and gets help for his long-standing sexual conduct, in his private life and in his music

o Make a commitment in your own life to never to hit, beat, molest, rape, or exploit Black females in any way and, if you have, to take ownership for your behavior, seek emotional and spiritual help, and, over time, become a voice against all forms of Black female exploitation

o Challenge other Black males, no matter their age, class or educational background, or status in life, if they engage in behavior and language that is exploitative and or disrespectful to Black females in any way. If you say nothing, you become just as guilty.

o Learn to listen to the voices, concerns, needs, criticisms, and challenges of Black females, because they are our equals, and because in listening we will learn a new and different kind of Black manhood

We support the work of scholars, activists and organizations that are helping to redefine Black manhood in healthy ways. Additional resources are listed below.

Who's Gonna Take the Weight, Kevin Powell
New Black Man, Mark Anthony Neal
Deals with the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot, Pearl Cleage
Traps: African American Men on Gender and Sexuality, Rudolph Byrd and Beverly Guy-Sheftall

I Am A Man: Black Masculinity in America, by Byron Hurt
Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, by Byron Hurt
NO! The Rape Documentary, by Aishah Simmons

The 2025 Campaign:
Men Stopping Violence:

Sunday, June 15, 2008


R. Kelly Aquitted

What's wrong with the world?! Any thoughts on how we should respond to this?

He's so smug about the situation too! In a recent guest spot on Raheem DeVaughn's "Customer remix" Kelly says "Thirsty? I got some bomb ass lemonade . . ." Really?!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008


Sasha and Malia Obama

This is just painful. More at Michelle Watch

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Miso’ Soup: On the liquid misogyny the media feeds us

So I’ve got something new that I’m heated about. Tommy Lee and Ludacris have an ad on television promoting the new Planet Green TV Network. In it, they verbally spar over which of them is more “green” with Ludacris brandishing a chain purportedly made from recycle rims and Lee pointing to a tattoo of his etched with soy ink. Luda then says, “ . . . you remember the hot tub right? I filled it up with all women instead of water, saved 150 gallons.”
This pisses me off for several reasons.
1. Women < 150 gallons of water. I don’t think I can find a better example of men seeing women as objects rather than human beings. Women are used to replace water! They are in fact less valuable than water and therefore an acceptable, supposedly humorous substitute. I think there are a host of legitimately inanimate objects that could be used to replace water but what’s cleverer than having a rapper known for his problematic depictions of women delivering said phrase?
2. People green lighted this shit. Lots of folks saw this before it appeared on my television screen and apparently thought it was funny. This is really scary. This is yet another drop (or maybe splash) into the bucket of women’s degradation in the public sphere.
3. Male celebrities telling us how to be green, through a glorified pissing contest. I don’t really understand the green movement as being about one-upsmanship, particularly not among the wealthy who are the biggest users/abusers of resources in this country that uses/abuses more than any other. What about them setting some real goals that would make a difference like no more plastic bottles on tour, energy efficient stage lighting, or heaven forbid, no more private jet setting? The commercial sets up the green movement to be about reducing one’s individual impact instead of generating collective strategies for changing how we live and consume as a whole.
4. Why is there no public outcry? Even as I’ve mentioned it to friends I don’t get the level of outrage I’m expecting. Have we become so desensitized that even blatant woman hatred elicits no reaction? When did misogyny become so innocuous that it could be used to support social justice causes? This commercial maybe isn’t anything new in that regard; just think of PETA. But what does it say that our movements are so disparate that one will sell out the other for its own ends?

If you’re pissed please email Bryan Hughes, VP of Communications for Planet Green at

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?