Written by Nicole
Every time a celebrity dies, their long list of accomplishments is displayed on news outlets as part of their “In Memoriam” segment. Depending on the celebrity, particularly if he is male, it is also in this post-death period that their more objectionable actions may also be scrutinized. This may be related to drug problems, problematic opinions they might have held, and seemingly most common, abuse of women.
And when women point out the departed’s abusive history, you may see a few reactions from the general public.
Why blame the abuser for abusing when you can accuse the victim of lying? Is it any wonder why victims don’t come forward? It takes an incredible amount of courage to face any abuser, much less an abuser cherished by the general public and insulated by wealth, intrigue, and an army of lawyers.
Never do we see concerns about the victims or their families, though. We never hear about how seeing their abuser glorified after their death makes them feel. And if they are courageous enough to share their experiences or thoughts in the aftermath of their abuser’s passing, they are quickly shamed and shut down.
I can’t believe that black folks in comment sections still don’t realize that every time they deflect to “white people do it too!” as some kind of excuse, that is a self-drag. Imagine using the degenerate behaviors of another group of people as some sort of morality measuring stick. Mind you, white people doing it too is only an excuse in the case of some horrible depravity, never something lighthearted or innocuous. Case in point:
Samuel Little (a black man) was recently named as the most prolific convicted serial killer here in the States. But like clockwork, a black woman (the most likely race and sex of Little’s victims) was on the scene to make sure that we all know that white people commit atrocities too!
Here’s another example. Any comment section discussing Bill Cosby or R. Kelly will undoubtedly have the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Woody Allen along for comparison. Which piece of abusing garbage should you defend? Here’s a hot tip – NONE OF THEM!
Getting away with depravity is not aspirational. Stop it.
If you ask when the right time would have been to call out the abuse that the dead man had doled out, you may either get “before he died” or “not right now, it’s too soon”. You may get the “it was years ago”, as if old trauma isn’t, you know, still traumatic. But the thing is, if it was brought up at the time of the abuse, “you just want to see a man fail”. Or if you waited a couple years to remind someone, then it’s “oh, that’s old news, why are you digging in the archives for that ancient history?”
So, if the mood takes you, feel free to name and shame abusers, famous or not, while they are alive. Since tomorrow is not promised, and apparently abusers are canonized and therefore off-limits when they die, air their dirty laundry out today. Chris Brown should not be remembered as a modern-day R&B whatever it is he does. He should be memorialized as the abusive human stain that beat Rihanna. Snoop isn’t some cutesy stoner grandpa hugging up on Martha Stewart, he was a pimp that made his living off harmful treatment of black women.
This goes double for abusers you personally know. Uncle Fred has a history of touching little girls in the family? Well Fred should not have the luxury of your silence (without jeopardizing your own safety). Fred should wonder if the plate being passed to him at Thanksgiving in a few weeks (because for some reason he is still invited…) has a knuckle sandwich waiting for him as the desert. And when Fred dies, his eulogy should reflect his actions – abusers don’t deserve sugar coating or kind words tiddlywinks. If Fred, and abusers like him, was soooo concerned about what his survivors would say and think about him upon his death, he should not have abused people in his life.
Unfortunately, in the black community, abuse of black women and girls is practically a rite of passage. Black women have the highest rate of domestic violence. Black girls have a 60%+ rate of molestation before 18. Doesn’t that give you some dark, ritualistic vibes? And, even more unfortunately, those same abusers get more protection than the victims, via other black women siding with him, filling up his commissary if he is jailed, and victim blaming. Abusers don’t deserve to be remembered fondly, no matter how talented or generous they were in life. There is no more room under the rug to sweep this under. Shame them today.
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Nicole, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.