Who Will Save Our Children?

It wasn’t the kind of the thing you expected to hear the day before Christmas. In truth, it’s not the kind thing one expects to or wants to hear at any time. But he had to tell it. He needed to tell it. On December 24, 2007, Raz B (real name: DeMario Thornton) of the former R&B teen boy group B2K, via a pair of YouTube videos, revealed a long held secret. The young man alleges that while underage and still a part of B2K, he was coerced by his manager, Chris Stokes, into performing sex acts with other group members and supervising adults.

If what Raz B., now 22, originally stated is true (A couple of days later he posted on retraction on YouTube.), it is saddening but not surprising. Raz B and his brother and fellow group member, Ricardo, are said to have had a drug addicted mother and perhaps money hungry relatives who were in no way capable of making sound judgments on the boys’ behalf making them easy targets for predators of all kinds.

What I found even more saddening was the reaction of commenters on the “black” blogs which originally ran the story with all of its twists and turns. (Ricardo is now claiming that his brother, Raz B. is now missing intimating foul play may be involved.) The hateful remarks which questioned the young man’s sexuality and/or his willingness to participate in the acts, reflected a lack of sensitivity to such matters that is not uncommon in the black community.

When a girl, regardless of the age or circumstance, is raped or molested, the first thing someone says is that she was “too fast” — too sexual for her own good. And when a boy is molested, his masculinity is questioned. Instead of putting all of their time and resources into apprehending or punishing the perpetrators, parents and relatives, use their energies chastising (and sometimes physically reprimanding) the already wounded child.

This lack of appropriate action has dire consequences for the community. It allows a man like R&B crooner R. Kelly, who is alleged to have had sex with and urinated on what is to be believed a 14 year-old girl as he videotapes the entire sordid act, to go unpunished after approximately 5 years. Kelly was indicted in June 2002 on 21 counts of having sexual intercourse with a minor. As of this date, 14 of those counts remain. For some reason, the Chicago D.A. keeps making and postponing trial dates allowing Kelly to continue to tour, record CDs and make other public appearances. He is set to go to trial in May 2008. We shall see.

It’s is not that Kelly hasn’t had past dalliances with young girls. He married, at age 27, without her parents permission, the then 15-year-old, now deceased, R&B singer Aaliyah. The marriage was later annulled. Where’s the outrage? If we don’t care about our children, how can we expect others do to so?

In the midst of this darkness, there is a ray of light. I did find some sympathetic and thoughtful voices speaking out on the Raz B. affair on my favorite “black” blog, A Hot Mess“.

Here’s what one had to say:

“This wasn’t about publicity for his reality show. Puh-lease. Ain’t no GROWN man gunna lie about being raped / molested like that. Child abuse it too SERIOUS of an issue for De’Mario to be lying about it. I think he was threatened to make this video because Chris Stokes ‘cease and desist’ letters weren’t working.… I know what he’s going through, I was pressured to keep silent too by HALF of my family. Sometimes you just have to step against the grain and do what’s right, regardless of how it appears to people on the outside. My prayers go out to both sides because this is just a mess.” – Drea

And another who goes my the name of MissOMyGoodnezz:

“… Shit like this happens far too much in our community. Some scandal happens in our family and someone should be brought to justice but instead we choose to handle it ourselves [because] he’s family and he just needs a lil prayer. But who’s thinking about the kids? I remember Raz’s mom saying in the other video after Raz told Marques’ family about the incident ‘Why did you feel the need to tell them, do you feel better now?’ I mean, WTF? You’re talking about a young man who was molested by their family member and he came forward to them and your asking him WHY? it’s like she knew all along but swept it under the rug, smh. Ya-ll, we have got to quit letting our pride get in the way of our children’s safety because this is too much. Even R.Kelly’s victim is saying ‘That ain’t me,’ after over 7 years of us watching her get pissed on on tape, all because SHE has a life now, forget that their are other girls other there. Aaliyah’s parents didn’t file charges when R. Kelly married their WELL UNDERAGE DAUGHTER, but instead, brushed it under the rug and made sure he never saw her again. This stuff sickens me. I feel like Raz B had no one to back him up or support him. The other members of B2K included. They probably weren’t ready to come out and probably were all in his ear about what he did and how he’s risking their friendship….But I know for a fact that Raz B has done charity with underage and molested children in 2005/2006 saying how he does the charity because he ‘identifies with them’ and he ‘speaks up for them’ ..Raz, I feel for you baby because our community has failed you…I hope you get through this.”

In a few days, it will be a new year. My wish: Peace, Safety, Love and Understanding for all of our children.

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