Maniacal Genius - Addressing the issues outside of the age gap/pedophilia.
Updated: Jan 9, 2019
For those of you that follow my social media posts, I suppose I will elaborate on my position here.
Much of the talk regarding the recent rehashing of previous encounters of one such musical genius (yes I will go to such lengths to not say his name in this context) has been regarding the age of the women that he was with. (Mind you – I still REFUSE to watch this as it still feels grimy. I both want to thank and bash Lifetime for this as, on one hand, these stories need to be heard, they need to be told. Convicted or not – it takes the steam out of the shame when people have the opportunity to share their stories. However, it still feels like Lifetime sensationalism. I did not watch the Aaliyah/Whitney/Fantasia stories either, nor did I watch BET’s Bobby Brown as we all knew he did cocaine – why did we need images of a black man snorting blow in commercials? I’m cool on all of that. (Be careful what you feed your spirits people). Also, be reminded these things are BASED ON real stories they are not the REAL STORIES. I read about people and watch news reports. I do, however, know that through this series they are trying to expose the real issues etc. but I still refuse … I digress)
Allow me to submit this to you:
Suppose we throw out the whole pedophilia argument ALTOGETHER.
Many of us have been over-sexualized experiencing our first sexual encounters / the first time a man looking at us “in that way” / etc at the ripe old ages of 5 and 6. If you think that this is extreme, ask a woman and she will tell you. If this is the case – then by the time a woman is 14 and having a menses she is ANCIENT according to the male gaze in this country. And yes, not only have women been married off to old men of means in the past but women have chosen/preferred older men and not just because of daddy issues. Yes – some young women were 14/15/16 getting picked up by 30-35-year-old men from high school that were significant others. We know these things. Also – as conditioning from slavery, soon as a woman began her menses she was breedable. She was old enough to pair off and birth and so on. Soooooo I guess we were bred to be over-sexualized. There is no changing this mindset. Let’s move forward.
If we throw out the pedophilia issue, then what is this musical genius really guilty of?
Well, it seems there are 4 things at hand here that consistently draw people back to the age issue.
3. Systems of Dominance
4. Predatory Behavior
Health – He was KNOWINGLY infecting the women with STDs, one of being herpes. With the number of women that he was having sexual intercourse with and “keeping” I am positive that there were other communicable diseases prevalent. There are also at least 2 reports of women being forced to abort children. There were also stipulations on when these women can eat and even bathe. So, are they not allowed to bathe after intercourse? Also, what are their living conditions? If they are being treated as nothing more than sex toys, they are not seen as human and thusly being treated inhumanely. Women that have lived in that house have testified of these things - being forced to use the bathroom in buckets, then being subjected to embarrassment for not being able to hold it etc.
No matter what age, this is not okay.
Abuse – According to several previous reports this man was quite abusive to these women, physical abuse, mental abuse, and very controlling even making women ask for permission to bathe/use the bathroom/ eat/ etc. He actually takes the women’s phones. Is he physically tying them up? That has not been reported. These women have also reported that they were forced to perform sexual acts that they were not comfortable with. They were allegedly coerced, degraded, shamed, and controlled into the acts. It would be recorded, and there would be other men there to witness and also assist in this intimidation. This is domestic and sexual violence.
No matter what age, this is not okay.
Systems of Dominance – This man has an entire system, infrastructure built to acquire women.
I'm sure at first it looks like something that may be professional, a recruiter. These people pursue these women, find out where they are, magically “show up” there, get these women’s information, groom them, and make them sign forms. Mind you, with this tactic and the offers on the table, many of these women didn't even read! By the time these women come into this “man’s” captivity and really are involved in full-blown abuse the system has worked to where they can leave and come back without the “system” fearing they will run away or tell because it appears that the “system” is so powerful the women cannot escape. This system worked to effectively separate the women from their families while often hiding them in plain sight.
Yes, Keisha went home, but Keisha knew that she was supposed to be back at the mansion at a certain time. These women felt as though this system was more powerful than their own systems of support – especially when, in most instances, their own systems of support supported relationships with this “man.” This is a system of control. Controllers often thrive in situations where they are able to captivate the minds and audiences of their captives “supporters”. These “supporters” can be parents, schools, friends, jobs, lay community members, etc. This and other factors add to the abuse and trauma experienced here. It also causes trauma responses. Yes – STAYING IS A TRAUMA RESPONSE. This bears on the mental health of these women.
DOMINATING ANYONE AT ANY AGE IS NOT OKAY.
Predatory Behavior – It is not so much that they were young, it is the reasoning for why he sought after the young that is the issue. No, I am not addressing his attraction to young women here (as I said I am not discussing pedophilia), but the ease with which they can be controlled. I’m sure that there are plenty of parents of teenagers that will say WHOA – CONTROL A TEEN!!! YES!!!! Just because they don’t necessarily listen to parents doesn’t mean they aren’t listening to somebody – especially if that somebody is famous with lots of money, an established system of dominance, and a music industry willing to either cover up or look the other way.
YES – there are plenty of women who are OF AGE that are preyed upon by men. They are abused, mistreated, and traumatized. These men prey on women that may have low self-esteem, parental issues, mental health concerns, previous trauma, low economic status, etc. This is factual. However, the way this system of dominance was set up, it was most effective with women ages 13 – 18. Women in this age group are normally inexperienced, so he gets to “train” them in the way he wants them to be. His example of sexual intercourse and affection is something that he can pass off as normative. Add the ages of these women to the prevalence of their own weakened support structures and you have a perfect storm for this “man”.
Let’s be honest – women - especially black women - are not talked to about sex. They experience over-sexualization and sexual deviance, they are told to keep their legs closed, they are told to not bring home any babies, they are told books before “boys”, but they are never told about healthy sexual habits. The women in this age category are not taught about “date rape”, but rather they are shamed into believing they “led a guy on” for simply having pronounced sexual features. They could wear a burlap sack and be shamed for “being fast”. We are dealing with a population of women that are often used as the stereotypical welfare mother/ teenage dropout, pregnancy after school special. This is the same population of women whom a WHOLE COMMUNITY will blame if she becomes pregnant and a boy has to choose between having a family and a hoop dream (but of course THEY BOTH WERE … never mind that is a WHOLE OTHER convo).
ACTIVELY SEEKING TO PREY UPON THE WEAKNESSES OF OTHERS AT ANY AGE IS NOT OKAY!
Responses to this whole storm of mess that I have heard include:
"Where were the parents?"
"Well if we are talking about this why don’t yall talk about the abusers in your own homes, communities, families, white people, (and my favorite) CATHOLIC PRIESTS!"
"Them girls knew what they was doin, they some hoes, they was in it for the money. They not innocent!"
"Why hasn’t he been in jail? He was let off! "
"They are always trying to take a black man down."
"This some old stuff, why they bringing up old stuff."
"Since we bringing up old stuff we need to put the US on trial for all the rapes during slavery!"
"Well, he was abused too! Where’s the compassion for him!"
First off, it has been LONG KNOWN that black women are not protected in their communities. These communities start with their parents. Are we really THAT surprised at the lack of involvement? Also (and I know it is hard to believe this – insert snark here) parents are not perfect! All of the young women did not have morally defunct parents. Some of them genuinely trusted their children and were a lil naive themselves. If their child told them that they were in the studio they believed it. Add that to the fact that many of these people were working people and you have unattended teens and parents who are put in a position to HAVE to trust. I do not deny that there should have been more protection for them, and I do not deny the predatory and greedy nature of some of those parents, however, all of them are not the same.
Access does not excuse this “man’s” actions against these women. This is the same as saying an unlocked door excuses robbery, or a short skirt excuses rape. I could have SWORN we were human and not animals! I am pretty sure that we use reasoning rather than instinct in most situations. We know right from wrong. This "man" knew what he was doing is wrong. If he doesn't - all the more reason to get him off these streets!
ACCESS DOES NOT EXCUSE ACTIONS!
Maybe some of these women did think that they were going to get in with him, and get what they wanted out of life. Maybe some believed they were going to sleep their way to the top and once in BAMM they received all of this abuse, were controlled, could not get out. To say that a person went into a situation trying to get something out of it does not excuse this “man’s” actions against them nor does it mean they deserved it. To physically/verbally/emotionally/financially abuse and control women is still not okay. This wasn't some sort of retaliation for betrayal, and even if all of them were snakes, once he found out he could have just said BYE! But we all know they were there for the express purpose of sexual pleasure in whatever form suited this "man". They were not there for healthy, mature, loving, relationships. They were not even there for mature, consensual, sexual relationships that had mutual respect of boundaries. NONE OF THIS. These women were human sex toys for this “man”.
To add insult to injury, the same people that want to justify non-existence of this “man’s” wrongdoing by way of the absence of conviction will also state that “they” are just trying to keep a black man down and embarrass the whole black community. So you mean to tell me y’all will use the “white man’s” justice system to prove/disprove why a person is/is not guilty but this same “white man” is keeping us down? Make me understand this foolery! Not to mention we are not talking about EVERYBODY ELSE right now this conversation is about him.
However, I really find it entertaining that the same people that make these statements are the ones that fail to pay attention to news sources and outlets, or search for information. Plenty of others are being prosecuted, they ALL are just not as famous or did not have a whole system constructed to bring women to a cult like this "man". Not to mention, you know this is not the first movie about predators and abusers Lifetime has done right? The MAJORITY of Lifetime movies and series are NOT about POC. Yes peeps, they are about WHITE predators. With the aid of Lifetime and other news and entertainment outlets the "look" of rape and abuse does not "look" like a black woman. I just saw a post the other day where someone put up a picture of the founder of the #metoo movement. A man commented, "She's not very attractive." (No he was NOT trolling and he was defending his position) People proceeded to argue with him but in his mind rape is only prompted by physical outward attraction and if he PERSONALLY didn't find her attractive she certainly must not have been rape-worthy. Cringe at both the attitude and my use of the words rape and worthy together as a descriptive of his sentiments. Rape culture much?
It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened. These women are finally speaking out AND being heard! They have BEEN speaking out on this FOR YEARS. The difference now is that they are being heard. They have been ignored, people bought off, paid off, but finally, someone is listening and conversations are happening.
Yes, he was abused and illiterate and all of that. Yes, there is compassion for him and he needs help. Yes, many of the things that these women describe mimic behaviors that children would have gone through during abuse. Yep. There is still all of this damage that he has done to all of these women. However, the abuse done to him does not erase the damage he has done. Not only that, there is a whole system of people surrounding this that aided in this activity. These people are just as sick as him. No one is digging into the backgrounds of ALL of his accomplices to see if they were also abused and mistreated, there ain’t no compassion for these people, no love, no violins for these people. NOTHING.
I guess we have compassion for this man because he is a musical genius? Maybe because he wrote some gospel songs! (After all even David wrote some of his BEST Psalms when he was in trouble) I get it; your FONDEST memory was the singing of “I Believe I Can Fly” at your graduation (I even sang it at one). Or maybe it is because he reminds us of the "uncles" in our own families. We have the fondest memories of our uncles. No, it is not ALL the uncles, it is the very special uncle. He is at every family gathering and everyone laughs and smiles when he is around. There is a lot of love. He wears the traditional bar-b-que sandals, makes the best ribs, and slaps bones all to the backdrop of "Step in the Name of Love." He consoled your mother through her pain and was the one that was always there. He was also the one that everyone said had a rough life, had a “hard time” (of course they never talked about abuse out loud), but he was a success story. He lived! He still loved. He is also the one that always wanted you to sit on his lap, would hold you a lil too tight, made comments on your maturing body, snuck into your bedroom, etc. His appearance makes you feel uncomfortable. His presence makes other women feel uncomfortable, but they play it off. Everyone knows what he does, what he likes, how he is, they just don’t talk about it.
So many in our community would much rather remain ignorant. They don’t want to hear it. It hurts too bad. They will make every nonsensical excuse to say ANYTHING that would discredit this “man” from having fault in this situation. But the truth of the matter is – he carries the fault in this, his accomplices share in it, and there is nothing that will deter from that.
You can have the argument about whether or not he is a pedophile and how mature the young women were and how mature they were not. You can go round for round about how ages and marriage practices have changed throughout the centuries. You can even flip it and say, what if this "man" was a woman and these were young men? These are the most prevalent arguments that I have seen and am hearing. However, the more important thing and what cannot be argued is the atrocities committed to these women. This "man" of means used his means predatorily to secure a system of dominance with several accomplices in order to perpetuate dehumanizing abuse to women while knowingly harming their physical and mental health.
He beat women, verbally abused them, gave them diseases, forced abortions, controlled them and ruined many of them.
No matter what age, this is not okay.
I believe them.
No matter what age they are or were.
No matter if they initially pursued him.
No matter how much time has lapsed.
No matter if they went into full blown sex work.
No matter if they have 8 baby daddies and 3 kids.
No matter if they are stark naked in front of pulsating privates shooting heroin.
I believe them, and I will not shame or blame them.
1. Am I judging him? Yes. Could I also be judged for my past and in other areas of my life yes, yes, yes. Of course, a person saying "Judge not lest ye be judged." does not prevent righteous judgment when the offender has not repented or made right the offenses. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory, that does not mean you sit idly by and don't call out foolishness. This "man" professes himself to be of the church, was raised in the church, I am also of the church, therefore this is MY brother, MY family. I don't disown him but rather embrace the opportunity to speak to this issue. He writes gospel songs and sings praises. He is gifted and motivational. What a gift he is to the world if only he was corrected and held accountable? I would really love to see him show some accountability, be a MAN, care for these women that he has damaged, and get the help he so desperately needs.
This is definitely my place and my lane and it is time the CHURCH stopped turning a blind eye to what we call the WORLD'S issues. I am not BASHING him; I am not calling him names. I am speaking the truth of what I have heard from the testimony of many women which he has yet to repent to them for. I am calling these things into question. Too often our sisters say things and we turn a deaf ear. At this time, I am listening and more importantly, speaking and questioning.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13 English Standard Version (ESV)
2. Do I really believe a 13/14 year-old is an ADULT woman? No! But it really doesn't matter what age they are - violence against women of all ages is at an all time high and must be addressed. Sadly, violence or grooming for the acceptance of violence against women normally starts way earlier than puberty.