I shared this tonight with a group of people and realized I wanted to share it further.
Last year, or maybe the year before, Radha Blank suggested we all remake verses from R. Kelly’s music to reflect his habits of sexual predation.
I couldn’t think of a good enough verse. But since then, I’ve found myself really wanting alternatives to those songs. They are fabric of life songs for me and many others of a certain age, catchy, connected to innocent memories of losing innocence.
At some point I realized that all of the songs felt gross now, knowing that his attention was on underage girls, apparently as a reaction to his own untreated childhood sexual trauma.
So here’s what I’ve started to do. As soon as I catch an R Kelly song moving through my mind or, god forbid, through my lips, I interrupt it with a Personal Service Announcement.
“You remind me of my jeep” –
It’s also 14 years old.
“My mind’s telling me no
But my body” –
Oh wait. Doesn’t matter. No means no. Because you’re underage.
“Step in the name of love” –
With people in your peer group.
“I don’t see nothing wrong with a little bump and grind”
Unless you’re too young to vote or drink, or legally sleep with me.
“It’s the remix to ignition
Hot and fresh out the kitchen” –
No. Underage girls are not bread.
“It seems like you’re ready” –
But I know that’s just my own trauma. Because you’re a child and I need professional help.
I could go on but you get it.
Add interventions if you have them, and feel free to use these. They really do help with unlearning rape/sexual assault culture.