I just saw that James Avery just passed away and all I could think of was this scene from Fresh Prince. The ending moment between Will and Uncle Phil was unscripted and it shows how caring and loving James Avery was towards the people he interacted with. Judge Phillip Banks was the first positive black male role model I saw on TV (other than Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable…) and I want to post this in tribute. Mr. Avery, thank you for being a part of my childhood and you will be sorely missed.
I shudder at the thought of survivors in the Black community witnessing and internalizing this victim blaming and attempts to excuse sexual violence. We need to engage in some serious, critical dialogue. We need to discuss sexual violence. We need to discuss patriarchy and the means in which sexual violence fuels its functioning and operations. We need to discuss the trauma faced by survivors of sexual violence and the ways in which we can support them in their journeys towards healing. We need to discuss how rampant and detrimental sexual violence is in the global Black community. We need to discuss that for many Black folks regardless of age, gender, and sexuality, the face of sexual violence is a Black man’s face.
Discussion of the criminalization and pathologizing of Black boys and men and the portrayal of Black boys and men as inherently violent and deviant is very essential to the well being of our community, however, that discussion should never intersect with discussion of Bill Cosby and R.Kelly, both of whom need to be held accountable for the crimes they have committed. Simply put, Bill Cosby is a rapist, R. Kelly is a pedophile, and both of these men are sexual predators who used their male privilege and class privilege to sexually assault and violate girls and women.
No one has forgotten about those Black lives that have been viciously taken from us at the hands of the agents of the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. No one is distracted from the many issues facing and impacting our communities. If you are so devastated and so worried about the “legacies and contributions” of sexual predators, I think you have some internal work to do. Is your concern, worry, and devastation rooted in the fact that we have to engage in this conversation under the gazes of various communities as a result of the media coverage of Cosby and Kelly? Are you hurt that you have to question the artistry of R. Kelly because a large portion of his catalog of music discuss sexual experiences and relations with women and you now have to question if he was thinking of young girls will writing and singing his songs? Are you sad that you know have to reconcile with the fact that Bill Cosby is not Heathcliff Huxtable? If so, you have a lot of work to do and I question your “love” for our community.
“I’ve been sitting here since I left the BET awards. I keep watching the part where Jay interrupted my acceptance speech. After hours and hours of playback footage, I realized why I love this man. He waited three years to teach me my lesson. THREE WHOLE YEARS, Y'ALL. Now that’s some grown-up parenting shit if I’ve ever seen it. Like he went all Heathcliff Huxtable on my ass. I was definitely Vanessa Huxtable in this situation; I thought I got away with it, but BAM, Jay "Heathcliff” Z came in and shut my shit down. Thanks Jay, I needed some of that Huxtable Tough Love.“