If society valued Black women and girls, convicting R Kelly wouldn’t take so long | Tayo Bero

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For decades, Kelly hid his predatory behavior in plain sight – and people did nothing

After a six-week trial, R&B megastar R Kelly has been convicted of nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking and now faces decades in jail. Over the course of the trial, several of Kelly’s victims recounted harrowing testimony of the abuse they suffered at the singer’s hands, starting when many of them were just teenagers.

Although a guilty verdict is the best possible outcome in this horrific situation, I can’t help but think about all the other adults who failed these Black girls along the way, and how long it took the justice system to deliver this reckoning. For over two decades, serious allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate contact with minors have followed the Grammy award-winning singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly. Why did no one do anything about it? The answer is simple and twofold: first, Kelly was a superstar; second, society simply doesn’t value Black girls’ lives.

Tayo Bero is a freelance journalist

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