Gayle King and Kobe Bryant

I’m so angry right now and I don’t know where else to take it, so I’m taking it here. Really?! Gayle King is getting DEATH THREATS for questioning Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant being charged with rape?! Really?! Let me just say, I probably wouldn’t have brought the issue up at this time, out of respect for Kobe’s family because I know how devastating it is to lose the most important person in your life, let alone two of them, NOT because I’m committed to protecting the sanctity of a Black man or his legacy. Why would I be committed to that when so many Black men have given Black women their ass to kiss even when Black women have spent countless hours defending them?

Now, that that’s out of the way, since Gayle chose to question Lisa Leslie about this, she was CORRECT to point out it was unlikely Lisa would’ve seen Kobe act in a sexually aggressive manner because they were friends. She was RIGHT to correct her about the procedural history of the case and state the case was dismissed, because the victim refused to testify because she was getting death threats I believe, as opposed to the case going “to trial.” (Sidenote: isn’t it so interesting AKA misogynistic that so many Black people suddenly have so much faith and belief in the criminal “justice” system when it comes to Black men being charged with crimes of sexual violence?)

For so many people, there will never be a “right” time to discuss that Kobe Bryant was charged with rape. And for all of those people saying, “Why didn’t you bring this up when he was alive?” If people would recall correctly, this conversation came up again when he won his Academy Award. Then y’all said, “It was 15 years ago, why are you bringing this up now?!” The narrative will always shift to continue to oppress and attempt to silence women.

Particularly BLACK women. Gayle King is receiving such a huge backlash, particularly from Black people, because she’s a Black woman. I have seen several non-Black women disparage Black men and receive little to no pushback. I just watched a Black reporter named Erica Cobb say Black people are so sensitive about this because of the historical context of white women falsely accusing Black men of rape as a tool of white supremacy. She also said Kobe apologized because he was fighting for his life, just as Emmett Till (yes, she compared Emmett Till’s situation to Kobe Bryant’s) apologized many times for something we now know he didn’t do.

While of course this historical context is true, I don’t think it’s applicable to Kobe Bryant. I don’t think he would’ve apologized if he believed he didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, he was likely advised against apologizing. But he felt it was important to say the woman involved didn’t feel the encounter was consensual and she wasn’t doing what she did for money because it was. It was a step toward making his victim whole since she wasn’t going to get her day in criminal court.

Finally, I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and two sexual assaults as an adult. I suffered all of this violence at the hands of Black men. Because of my experience, I’ve chosen to be an advocate for survivors of sexual violence and that means advocating for everyone, not just survivors who are Black women or girls and not just those who weren’t abused by your favorite singer or ball player.

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