Recently stories have arisen about R Kelly allegedly controlling the lives of several young women, delegating every detail in their life including phone use, what they eat, etc. In other words, a cult. Twitter has quickly turned this story into a meme generator, basically. While some people are genuinely concerned for these girls, others laugh it off as a funny story and ignore the possibility of holding R Kelly accountable for his actions. What’s shocking is that this is not the first time that the R&B singer has shown his creepy taste in underage girls. On top of marrying 15 year old Aaliyah when he was 28, he also recorded a sex tape with a 14 year old girl where he urinated in her mouth, along with countless allegations from other young girls in Chicago. None of these allegations ever resulted in any charge, or in any major societal blemish on his name, and this is a phenomenon that happens all too often with celebrities who perpetrate crimes.
Seeing a hashtag #free[rapper name] on social media is a common occurrence, where people are pleading for their favorite performers to be released. Sometimes these individuals are put away on petty drug charges or inciting riots at their concerts, and I don’t really disagree with the hashtag in these cases. But when people are defending a seriously dangerous individual just because they’re famous, they need to reevaluate where their values lie. This is enabling criminals, plain and simple. There is XXXTentacion who was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend while still getting some major love from fans. Several dedicated followers even bashed the victim in trying to defend the Florida rapper, despite his clear history with violence.
The worst case, I think, is Kodak Black. As soon as he gets arrested (again) #FreeKodak pops up everywhere on the internet. It seems that many people blindly post this when they see it floating around, without realizing that maybe he really does deserve to be in jail. His list of offenses is extensive, and some are as tame as the possession of marijuana, but the few serious crimes are extremely troubling. He has been charged with the false imprisonment of a child, punching and kicking a woman, and raping a woman in a hotel room. Clearly, this is a man that has proven that his walking around freely is a liability. His music is subpar at best, but even if he was the most talented rapper of our time, assaulting women, especially rape, should absolutely land you in prison for quite some time regardless of status.
Before you post that next #FreeARapper hashtag, make sure you do your research to see if they are really worthy of being free. These rappers take this unconditional support as not only an ego boost, but also an excuse to avoid feeling remorse for their actions, which could no doubt lead to repeat offenses. If social media users aren’t careful, they can contribute to the rape and violence culture that already exists in the music industry, and they tell celebrities that they are above the law. Stop excusing these trash rappers.