Final Essay Draft Team #19

Hi Ashley,

Good work, please add images!  Good writing style, good content, good job overall. One thing though is I’m missing connection with the class concepts in  your essay.  You have told me a lot about what is going on with R.Kelly and so forth but I’d like to see more about how you analyze this topic in light of say secrecy, McLuhan, and such.  

Alexandra Fernandez                                                                                     3/16/2019

IDS3309                                                                                                      Rough Draft

2019 has been a dramatic year for the world of pop culture. With the rise of the internet era and the golden age of social media, what has been left in the darkness is finally being brought out to the light. With the crumbling and dynamic changes in our institutions happening on the daily one of the biggest bulldozers is that of the #MeToo movement. It has been a gigantic wakeup call to the establishment and powerbrokers that have victimized the helpless for far too long. The #MeToo movement has been credited for taking down powerful figures such as Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, which had abused their power for years with impunity. The #MeToo movement seems to suck in a new person every day. The movement is something that forces us as Americans to reflect on who we idolized and challenges us to separate the art from the actions committed by the people. The most recent scandal is that of notorious R&B singer R. Kelly and the King of Pop Michael Jackson. The revelations, which have arisen about both artists, have shocked and appalled many people as well as fans. The media has played an integral role in revealing the dark truth of what they have been doing for years.

The media as well as Hollywood had always winked and nodded at the possibilities of both Kelly and Jackson being sexual abusers since the early 2000s. One could easily look back and see infamous Chappelle Show sketches making fun of Kelly and the allegations that he urinated on an underage fifteen-year-old girl. The same scenario was happening with Jackson on the show South Park for his affinity towards playing alone with underage boys. The reality is none of this is funny or humorous as people were victimized and worse being that most victims were underage. What ties both of these cases together is that they were revealed by the #Metoo movement and after the premiere of explosive documentaries. “One of the main goals of the Me too Movement™ is to give young women, particularly young women of color from low wealth communities, a sense of empowerment from the understanding that they are not alone in their circumstances” as stated by Michelle Rodino in the Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies.

The victims of R. Kelly came primarily from this background. They had the courage to speak out against their former abuser in the documentary “Surviving R.Kelly.” The media has been a strong medium in giving women a voice to speak out against abusers and giving them a platform to be listened too. The blowback resulted in a number of other victims of R. Kelly coming out eventually leading to his arrest and him being charged with ten counts of sexual abuse, with three of them against minors. R. Kelly’s entire history of sexual abuse against minors was brought into the limelight and deservedly had his reputation and career destroyed. “In 2001, a witness had conversations with Robert Kelly and Robert Kelly’s associates where the witness was asked to retrieve videotapes showing Robert Kelly having sexual intercourse with the victim in this case”—identified by the state as R.L.—“when she was fourteen years old” as stated by Jim DeRogatis of the New Yorker. In as little as two months, R. Kelly’s net worth dropped from $150 million to $1 million.

In the Michael Jackson case, the allegations against him have been raised posthumously. The damning documentary that premiered a few months ago destroyed the image of Jackson. “Leaving Neverland” profiles two men who say Michael Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. Jackson faced several allegations that he molested young boys dating back to 1993, but was never convicted of any charges” as stated by Shaila Dewan of the New York Times. The reported details of child sexual abuse shocked the country as a childhood hero for millions was vilified and the rumors that had since been forgotten were now in your face. 

The media and the many forms of technology we see today spread the news like wildfire. As the stories of the victims and the pathos narrative we saw a fire begin and the #Metoo Movement provided the gasoline. The media landscape has taken drastic steps to remove the legacy of Michael Jackson. For example “In the shadow of the “Neverland” premiere, Jackson’s music — including his work with the Jackson 5 and The Jacksons — has dipped noticeably in popularity. From March 3-5 (the documentary premiered on March 3), the singer’s album sales fell by 39 percent and his combined song and album sales faced a drop of 8,000, according to Billboard” as stated by Anna Tingley of Variety Magazine. Jackson has also been removed from past episodes of the Simpsons and radio stations nationwide have pulled his music.

The recent series of events have raised questions on social media as fans of both artists have come out staunchly defending them especially Jackson. “Meanwhile, a vast global army of fans have mounted defenses on social media. Jackson supporters have flooded the internet with rebuttals to the documentary, questioning the credibility and motives of Robson and Safechuck” as stated by Tom Dart of the Guardian.  The allegations have forced people all over the world to step out of their comfort zone and confront the reality that was happening.The media has exposed two scenarios that many would have preferred to remain blissfully ignorant about. America now faces soul searching and coming to grips with the figures we regarded once as heroes “ Michael Jackson’s legacy is bigger than Michael Jackson, right?” said New York Times critic-at-large Wesley Morris on the Daily podcast. “We can’t cancel Michael Jackson because canceling Michael Jackson means canceling America in some way. Not just our love of [the] music, but our sense of who we are as a people.” (Dart, Tom.) America finds itself in a state of mourning but should we feel ok to mourn idols even with all the bad they have done.

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