Charlamagne Tha God Asks “Why Now?” About Kobe Bryant’s Old Sexual Assault Allegations Resurfacing—Well Here’s Why
“When can a person, especially a black man, be not guilty?” That is the question Radio Host, Charlamagne Tha God brought up today in his “Donkey of the Day” segment in response to people bringing up the 16-year-old rape allegations against basketball star Kobe Bryant, who won an Oscar last night.
In the era of #MeToo, race is not often discussed when it comes to men of color being accused by white women. During the early parts of Bill Cosby allegations, I would hear black female friends of mine ask “well why is it only white women?” Or “how would he and Janice Dickinson even know each other?” Nevermind that Cosby used to hang out at the Playboy mansion or that black men have a history of dating white women when they go through a come-up. Also, the fact that among Bill Cosby accusers are black women including Beverly Johnson and Jewel Allison don’t seem to be enough.
When the Nate Parker allegations resurfaced when his movie Birth of a Nation was coming out, people were wondering the same question “why now?” Well, to me the explanation was simple, Parker wasn’t relevant then. Then suddenly he is out with his family talking about being a family man, all the while knowing that this was in his past.
I understand the instinct to protect black men. We have a history of innocent black men being killed, hunted, and persecuted in this country. Absolutely. That doesn’t mean that every black man, especially black rich men who have power and resources, can never be guilty of abusing that power.
Then there is also the question of when are men, including black men, going to realize that rape and sexual assault are more complicated than y’all want to deal with?
Looking at statistics from the site RAINN “Perpetrators of sexual violence are less likely to go to jail or prison than other criminals” and a lot of female victims end up dropping the charges because they know that there is no one on their side. Especially if the person in question is a powerful figure who has the money to give a good defense.
We do not always offer victims of sexual assault the best care or advocacy and we scrutinize every aspect of their being because it is easier to believe that women are liars rather than the fact that men they respect could be rapists.
During the time Kobe was accused I was young, but I remember every man and woman around me saying that Kobe doesn’t have to rape anyone because he’s Kobe. As a kid, that made sense, as an adult we know that rape is about power, not sex. We know even more now that men (and women), do not comprehend how consent works other than verbal.
Charlamagne brings up in the video that he doesn’t see the same outrage about Roman Polanski, Gary Oldman, and others that he’s seen about Kobe. I will say, frankly, he’s probably not looking in the right places. On almost every feminist or “social justice” site, people have been bringing up Gary Oldman’s abuse allegations. No one has forgotten. If you look at the #TimesUP hashtag you see people calling out Ryan Seacrest, Kobe Bryant, and Gary Oldman.
Feminists, those scary people, have been calling out Polanski for years while being told that we needed to separate the art from the artists. Only now are those things no longer flying as an excuse. Most of the time…
Hollywood is not going to be the perfect example of change, but it’s the beginning of where #MeToo’s current incarnation started so yes when Kobe goes to the Oscars it brings up those demons. It’s the era of MeToo and we are just now in a place where people can be called out without media telling us that we are crazy for speaking up about sexual assault. We know more about how people in power, like Kobe, are able to use their wealth and power to circumvent the law.
Just because you weren’t aware of the criticism, that doesn’t make it new. I remember when all the backlash against Lena Dunham was going on and some white feminists were complaining about how no one criticized Friends or male-dominated shows for being too white and I knew that was bullshit because I’d heard my mother talking about how white Friends was when I was growing up.
The backlash against Kobe isn’t new, it’s just that people are paying more attention. So to a degree, even though I disagree with Charlamagne a lot, I understand the instant reaction of being like why this guy and not those white guys. It is total garbage that Casey Affleck got an Oscar the same year Nate Parker’s career went (rightfully) in the toilet. But as you’ll notice, Casey Affleck wasn’t at the Oscars last night because of the allegations being taken more seriously now.
(via Youtube, image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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