Law confirms age means more than number

With the cheers of his performance at the 2002 Olympic games still audible, R&B recording artist, R. Kelly must now answer allegations of having sex with an underage female.

Apparently, videotape that conclusively identifies Kelly having sex with a minor has surfaced. Considering his prior marriage to Aaliyah when she was15-years-old, I increasingly hear Kelly pegged as a pedophile. Despite the fact that the situation looks incriminating, I feel there is a reasonable explanation for Kelly’s recent conduct.

Being a celebrity, Kelly obviously has a plethora of shapely, attractive and yes, aggressive and deceptive young ladies in pursuit of him and at his constant disposal. However, not every young lady who approaches a celebrity will be honest and forthcoming about her age. Some of those same women who approach celebrities do so, no doubt, believing and hoping to profit monetarily from associating with them.

Also, what has to be taken into account is the appearance of these young women. I think most straight, black men can attest to the fact that puberty typically blesses African-American women with an ample arsenal of physical tools.

Besides, I’m sure many men have admired a young woman’s appearance, only to find out that her body told a deceptive story of many more years of development than she’d actually lived. Let’s face it, many young women’s bodies appear riper than the fruit you’d find in the produce section of your local Publix Supermarket.

It seems in our society we have let science dictate morality. There was a time in our history when it was not only socially acceptable, but the norm for a girl in her teens to be married off, no doubt somewhat influenced by the short life expectancy of that time. However, with advances in science and medicine resulting in longer life spans, it seems society’s morality has shifted in direct proportion to that.

Regardless of how many women Kelly is alleged to have been involved with, it doesn’t appear as if he had to twist any arms for consent or cooperation. I stand totally in favor of a legal and social system that keeps children from being brutalized, sexually or otherwise. I also believe we paint with a broad brush in this society when we decide who the term “child” should apply to, not realizing the volatility of such vague descriptions.

Unfortunately, it seems in today’s society all you have to do to rally support for or ostracize an individual is to mention children or minors in your argument.

Donathan Prater, 26, is a graduate journalism student from Spartanburg, S.C. He can be reached at