Usher is just the next Black Male Scapegoat
See, the problem I’m having with those that are shaming Usher is much deeper than the fact that it seemed like I knew how to spell his name out loud long before I had friends. I’ve been riding with Usher since U-S-H-E-R R-A-Y-M-O-N-D; this is a guy who built his career off sex and honest conversations around sex before my mom had given the privilege to me of having the birds and the bees conversation. But it’s much deeper than that.
When I consider the line of black men we have accosted through words over the past year, I sit stifled by the narrative that we have claimed and yet live completely different lives. From Cosby to Raymond to R. Kelly to even Lawrence from Insecure it’s as if we give pause and credit to everyone else, but believe that these men are guilty until proven innocent—and even after that, we still berate them and fuck up their legacies. I can’t help but to think of those like Woody Allen and Charlie Sheen and the hundreds of others that have had such an easy life along with daytime talk show interviews to clear up their brands. Hell, even how we got behind Blac Chyna because “Rob exposed her” after she played pussy and got fucked and gave her a new platform to make hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, we are sitting here arguing over IF a big girl can have sex with Usher versus what this narrative is doing to his career when she said she hasm't tested positive for herpes. We give everyone a chance but Black men, it seems.
So, let’s have an honest conversation about sex, but before we even get to being transparent, I have a few rules:
1. We are talking about consensual sex specifically those times in which people are not married or not in a monogamous relationship with said partner.
2. We are talking about knowledge versus feelings.
Now, that we have got that out of the way. Let’s go over some statistics. African Americans account for 45% of new HIV diagnoses with gay and bisexual men accounting for majority of new infections (this would include the Trans community because, unfortunately, they have yet to begin to separate that data). Women and injected drug users have shown steady progress in new HIV infections. 1 in 4 Americans will get an STI in their lifetime along with 1 in 6 Americans aged 14 to 49 years old have herpes with most not knowing.
So, now that we have laid the framework, let’s speak about how we have wrecked this man’s life for people who fail to be responsible for their own life.
Usher may or may not have herpes although he probably does. He may or may not have had sex with lots and lots of women since he is a worldwide R&B superstar who has a career spanning a couple decades although he probably has. He may or may not have had sex with no condom with multiple women or men in this span because they saw it was Usher and wanted that seed although he probably has.
But this is the deal: it was consensual and he is responsible for his own sex. There may have been an argument if the accusers had mentioned condom usage or something as herpes is one the few STI’s that can’t stop transmission with the use of condoms as protection, but that surely isn’t this narrative. When you decide to participate in hook-up culture you agree to the risks that come from it—or you do your job of protecting yourself in whatever way you can.
The court of public opinion is not about advocating for truth, women’s (or men's) health or sex positivity; public opinion is about crucifying and vilifying black men who do anything that we feel can be looked at as inappropriate. It’s about creating a narrative that damages a legacy of a person versus fighting for truth. Now, if we were having a conversation about Usher admitting he willfully had sex with multiple people during outbreaks of said herpes, then I could get with some backlash. We’re not even there yet! Still, in that, if someone wants to have sex that bad with blisters popping on a penis, then that’s still questionable, in my opinion. So, we are ruining this man with conversations around promiscuity, negligence and now, sexuality. I guess no black man is safe, huh? And the worst of it all is we see it as activism.
The conversation SHOULD be around being responsible for your own body. It should be around smelling a man’s genitals to see if there is a yeast smell (that could come from him not washing under the hood, but hell you shouldn’t be riding what ain’t been properly cleaned). It’s about squeezing the head to see if anything comes out of it other than a little precum. It’s about looking for sores, blisters and the sort. It’s about seeing if he has spots underneath the skin on his hand or under his foot. It’s about getting on PrEP! You know: this sounds like a bomb ass explorative foreplay session.
It’s about us taking responsibility for wanting the lights off during sex because we don’t like something about ourselves. It’s about understanding that I put myself at risk for something because I was either super horny, drunk or really wanted to please who I was having intercourse with and now have to accept the potential consequences.
That’s the story we should be telling. Get out my face with this victimized bullshit. If you are knowingly hooking up with random people (which I advocate for if need be), you need to take responsibility for the type of sex you enjoy—and stop blaming it on the next person.