Home PoliticsAfrica News Gayle King’s CBS interview with Mr. Kelly in 2019 exploited his vulnerabilities and pitted Black women against Black men.

Gayle King’s CBS interview with Mr. Kelly in 2019 exploited his vulnerabilities and pitted Black women against Black men.

Gayle King’s CBS interview with Mr. Kelly in 2019 exploited his vulnerabilities and pitted Black women against Black men.

In 2019, Gayle King, a prominent African American female journalist, interviewed R. Kelly during his high-profile legal proceedings. Mr. Kelly was later sentenced to 20 years in prison on child pornography charges. Kelly, one of the most celebrated R&B singers of the ’90s, was convicted in September 2022 on three counts of child pornography and three counts of enticing a minor in Illinois.

Gayle King’s CBS interview with Mr. Kelly in 2019 exploited his vulnerabilities and pitted Black women against Black men.

Gayle King’s CBS interview with Mr. Kelly in 2019 exploited his vulnerabilities and pitted Black women against Black men.

It is my opinion that King’s interviews exploited Mr. Kelly’s vulnerabilities and pitted black women against black men.   This article does not defend Mr. Kelly’s actions or inaction nor his trial or conviction. This article is a critical examination of how the US media tends to use “Black women journalist” to do their dirty jobs when targeting Black men.

In July 2019, federal prosecutors in both New York and Illinois unsealed indictments against R&B singer and songwriter R. Kelly on a host of charges. They include accusations that the R&B singer and songwriter abused girls and women over some two decades, that he had made child pornography, and that Kelly and some of his circle made hush-money payments to silence the alleged victims. The prosecutors have also charged Kelly with racketeering — building a criminal enterprise, they say, whose purpose was to “prey upon young women and teenagers.”

Mr. Kelly is already serving a 30-year prison sentence in New York after being convicted on sex trafficking charges in 2021. The two convictions culminate in a long, slow build of accusations that go back decades.

While many white media praised the calmness Gayle King exhibited during her interview with Robert Kelly (“R. Kelly”) as Kelly lashed out, some people also became alarmed at how Black women journalists were used to exploit and sometimes destroy successful black men.

Gayle King’s CBS interview with Mr. Kelly in 2019 exploited his vulnerabilities and pitted Black women against Black men.

Gayle King’s CBS interview with Mr. Kelly in 2019 exploited his vulnerabilities and pitted Black women against Black men.

While it is true that King’s journalism career spans over two decades, it is also confirmed that she was given that assignment solely because of her race.  After her explosive interview with Kelly, she spoke to Oprah about keeping her composure and said, “I was not scared.”

It is baffling that she needed to be scared, given that she was in a safe and secure interview environment. But that simple statement speaks volumes. It further echoes the sentiment that Black men needed to be feared.

I understand that the interpretations of the interview conducted by Gayle King with R. Kelly vary widely. However, I saw the interview as exploitative of R. Kelly’s vulnerabilities due to the nature of the questions asked and the focus on sensitive topics related to his legal issues and allegations of misconduct. This caused Mr. Kelly to explode in anger and frustration.

Regarding the notion of pitching black women against black men, it is my opinion that while the interview may have contributed to broader conversations about power dynamics, gender relations, and accountability within the black community, it also may have opened up a new dynamic of how Black women journalist are used as an instrument to target successful Black men.

I believe Gayle King’s interview exploited Mr. Kelly’s vulnerabilities. I have no doubt that Mr. Kelly would have remained more guarded if his interview had been with a white man or woman. To some degree, he let his guard down. King was a Black woman, which was Mr. Kelly’s biggest mistake.

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