(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
I've had personal opinons about Charlemagne for about 9 years.
I first encountered homie on MTV's Guy Code and thought he was funny at first (the pre-PC days), but my roommate quickly set me straight by literally pointing me toward all the anti-Black woman, anti-gay, anti-Trans and other stuff that he's said--in addition to these allegations of sexual assault--and unlike most, that was it for me.
About three weeks ago though, he made a statment on the air about a sexual encounter he had with his wife years ago. "“Me and my wife dated for a whole year, she would not give me no p—-” Charlamagne reveals. “Me and my wife hung out one Saturday night and she got sloppy drunk and passed out in my momma’s house and I got that p—-. She was f—— me back and all that but she was really drunk I asked her yesterday, ‘Yo, did I rape you the first time we ever had sex?’ And she goes, ‘I mean in hindsight, yeah …’ ” He said this all in jest, in his signature "funny" way.
Is that funny though? Not to me. He later "apologized" for using "triggering language" but not for the deed itself. It's been essentially swept under the rug. I've been waiting patiently on the Internet and no one is really talking about this, but I will.
It seems that, that as time went on, particuarly for this invividual, the Black community at large not only defended both his anti-Black woman comments and (unsurprising since our community does not truly value us unless it wants us to mule ourselves) his sexual assault allegations, but also for one reason alone:
For what he could do a lot for people's careers.
What do I mean by that? Well, it's simple:
Certain Black people refuse to cancel anyone because certain Black people value business connections over Black lives.
You may be confused at how someone could take "we all Black" and therefore "we're all we got" and turn it into "we all Black and we're all we got unless you're a broke bitch who can do nothing for my pockets and my career then that changes".
And one day, I would love to explore how this employment of "community" only when money is hanging in the balance is uniquely a Black bourgeoisie thing to do and that Black people who place class politics above anything--include liberation politics--are just as dangerous as "the White man" but until that day comes, I'll stick to specifically this example of Charlamagne by also sharing my own.
Four months ago, in the month of April, it came to light that members of the Blerd (Black + Nerd) community had misappropriated approximately 56,000 in Kickstarter money and countless more in ticket sales and simply disappeared to avoid accountability. Those who disappeared immediately included one visible Blerd, Jamie Broadnax. The one who didn't do so immediately, Broadnax, had been the most popular and revered by the community prior (and who had leveled those same connections for the big con) to said misappropriation and her whole shtick boiled down to "hey so I didn't know, my b".
And people who had no personal stake in her crime defended her like she was hapless five-year-old who had helped to misplace 5 dollars instead of a grown ass woman who misplaced 56K. And it continues today, because the same people who would go hard in the paint if "the White man" robbed people this badly suddenly had nothing but open arms and "welcome backs" to give her as she attempts to make a roach-like come back.
This skipping of consequences have perturbed my sleep for the last week, but I can say that it did truly help me understand why Black people will still bend over backward to make "community" space for men like Charlamagne, or Bill Cosby, or R. Kelly or on a smaller scale, Broadnax. Of course, the former three have the privilege of being cis men in the community and have patriarchal power and patriarchal gaslighting on their side. But for that latter example, they most certainly share one thing with Broadnax that isn't race or gender:
Perceived connections (and status).
While Bill Cosby does not quite possess the power he used to, his previous deeds for "the community" managed to shield him from much due criticism for his perverse crimes. R. Kelly still sells out concerts and is brave enough to put out 19-minute tracks that somebody (not my Black ass) will surely listen to.
And as for Charlamagne?
Well, he's a major power player and gatekeeper in the entertainment realm--particularly if you are a Black creative.
As one of the minds behind The Breakfast Club, he has a sizable audience of Black people who listen in--be they genuine patrons or be they people who still don’t realize that hate-listening still counts when it comes to statistics.
When it comes time for White or Black (but especially Black) creatives to attempt to reach out to the Black community for publicity or a new project, guess who they have to go through? Guess how many of them are NOT gonna rock the boat by calling him out (or at least not instantly leaping to his defense for clout, even though you proclaim yourself to be “woke”)?
But what about Charlemagne's wife, who now has to deal with this information being out there. Who do the women have to turn to? There's a reason why productions like A Wrinkle in Time or Black Panther (and even other productions), who celebrated Black girls and women, STILL ended up having to make their rounds on The Breakfast Club and, again, face the big bad cultural gatekeeper to get their message out to the masses.
It's disappointing, sure, but it's not all that surprising. Though we have other media personalities out here that are far less problematic (Desus and Mero, Crissles and Kid Fury of The Read), Charlamagne endures because he is a cis Black man and our community and the world-at-large views cis straight Black men as the surveyors and purveyors of Black popular culture. Which I have no doubt has to do with all the misogynoir, homophobia, transphobia, colorism, fatphobia, ableism and etc that we have yet to deal with in our community.
And until that changes, until our value for the most marginalized in our community outweighs our need and want to network (will it ever?), no one will be getting Charlamagne outta the paint any time soon.
Not anyone who comes forward about his alleged assault on them and not even himself and how many time he accidentally alludes to possibly doing these things.
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