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how community continues to fail raz b

March 29, 2019
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You will often hear folks say that the truth shall set you free. Unfortunately, some truths not only keep us shackled, but set us down a path where we are in a constant fight against the community that is supposed to love and protect us. For music artist Raz B, this fight to share his truth has led to years of public meltdowns and a community that refuses to create space for men who have been sexually abused.

For years, Raz B has made allegations that he and several other band members were molested by manager Chris Stokes and also forced to perform sexual acts with one another when they were younger boys of the hit group B2K. Raz B has on multiple occasions fought to have this story not only be told, but also to be believed in the court of public opinion — none of which has ever seemed to manifest in his favor. Most of his public outcry has led to him being joked and clowned; much of his story has been written off as being erratic rather than a victim who is truly crying out for help dealing with an issue that has rarely ever been taken seriously.

The Raz B situation speaks volumes about the other side of rape culture that continues to harm male victims of sexual assault. One that is rarely discussed and only rears its ugly head when men attempt to share their stories of sexual abuse. An intersection of masculinity, manhood and this belief that male victims should be able to defend themselves against sexual violence no matter the age.

In the era of #MeToo, we have still not seen a space carved out for communities that aren’t white, cis and woman. When Harvey Weinstein was accused of abusing dozens of women throughout his career, he only refuted one allegation — that of Lupita N’yongo who happens to be a Black a woman. When actress Aurora Perrineau — a Black woman — accused Girls writer Matt Miller of sexual assault, several women involved in #MeToo, including Lena Dunham, accused her of lying on their friend, only to backtrack their support days later. Lastly, we can look at Terry Crews who claimed and proved that for WME agent Adam Venit sexually assaulted him was questioned and shamed for not being able to defend himself in a violent manner rather than how he chose to handled it.

Let’s connect some more dots. In the Black community, sexual abuse has been an issue for many years, especially in the music industry. R Kelly continues to be free, despite being 28 and marrying a 15-year-old. Despite being on video in sexual acts with multiple girls who were underage. Only to finally be indicted all these years later and still be bailed out not once, but twice by fans who refuse to believe Black girls and women. Russell Simmons accusations have now reach 17 victims and nothing has been done. Cosby had to reach 61 accusers before finally being sentenced to jail time.

Raz B didn’t stand a chance in a community so blind, that they are unwilling to accept nor see the sexual violence that continues to dominate our culture. I’m writing this with love to say that as a community, we have failed. We have failed the Black girls who for years have been yelling from the rooftops about their abuse. Most importantly, we have failed Raz B. A person who was only a boy in an industry that sweeps sexual abuse under the rug. A boy in a community that still allows the “uncles” and “aunts” that have violated our children still come to the cookouts and birthday parties. A community that struggles to hold our own people accountable with sexual abuse because the white community so often gets away with it.

Raz B has made it clear who his abuser was and still is. He has made it very clear that he feels unsafe that this person is still being allowed to be in the presence of himself and his group members while they are on this reunion tour. At what point does Raz B’s word become enough that the people around him are more concerned for the victim than the abuser. How many more stories like Raz B’s do we need to be public before folks are willing to bear witness to his truth?

I pray for Raz B. I pray that he finds healing and therapy and a circle of people worried about his best interest. More importantly, I pray for Black boys like Raz B. Black boys who face sexual violence and have nowhere to turn to, no one to cry out to for help. It’s time we show up for boys that become broken men. It’s time we start protecting our community. 

Writer and author, George Johnson is bringing our viral conversations to real life situations.