How do we navigate respecting the legacy of deceased public figures while acknowledging some truly unsettling aspects of their lives? That is the question many find themselves asking as the nation still grapples with the sudden death of former NBA player and basketball superstar Kobe Bryant.
Following the helicopter crash that killed Bryant, his 13 year-old daughter, and seven others, the world saw men like Lebron James, Doc Rivers, and Tracy McGrady brought to tears over the accident. For hours Kobe was the number one trending topic on Twitter with heartfelt messages pouring in from all across the globe, but as the memories came in, many remembered the rape case of 2003 that divided his fans and forever complicated his legacy.
That year, he was charged with felony sexual assault following a 19 year-old woman’s accusation of a nonconsensual encounter between the two at a Colorado hotel. Initially, Bryant denied having any sexual contact with the woman, but as the case evolved, he eventually admitted to “the mistake of adultery” at a highly publicized press conference.
The District Attorney for his case said at the time, “it is alleged that he caused sexual penetration or intrusion, and he caused submission of the victim through actual physical force.” While Bryant stuck with his first story of “nothing happened,” the victim had his semen inside her, vaginal lacerations, and bruising. Only when his attorney, who relentlessly shamed the woman, informed him of the evidence, did the basketball star admit having had sexual contact with her. As a result of the brutal attacks not only by the attorney, but also the media, the victim stopped cooperating with police and refused to testify at trial causing the criminal case to be dropped. She later won a civil suit against Bryant.
Many on the internet reminded the world of this troubling time in Kobe’s life. Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted a link to 2016 article titled “Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser’s Story, and the Half-Confession” before being placed on suspension by the news outlet. Others declined to mourn Kobe’s death at all citing a sense of duty to the woman and to sexual assault victims everywhere.
Of course, death threats were hurled and comments of “it’s too soon” were inserted into the conversation. However, as the country still tries to make sense of his death, it is entirely appropriate to review his life as he himself chose to live it for the good and the bad. One reporter aptly said, “Nobody is telling you how to mourn or that you can’t feel sorry for the fact that he died or that it was a tragedy, because it is. But that should not therefore dictate the way others choose to remember him or what we want to say about his death.”
Those who loved Kobe Bryant will undoubtedly continue to grieve their loss, but can they reconcile doing so at the cost of the victim?
Rolling Ray Undergoes Surgery After Wig Catches On Fire
Social media star Rolling Ray underwent surgery Tuesday morning to treat serious burns on his body after his terrible wig accident last week.
In a series of IG stories, he let his audience follow along as he prepped for surgery.
Last week Rolling Ray announced he was hospitalized after his wig caught on fire! During a January 13 Instagram Live session hosted straight from his hospital bedside, he showed his severely burnt and damaged face telling viewers his “whole skin, legs, arms, feet, and everything” were burned.
In a more recent Live, Ray explained the incident that led to his whole wig catching on fire: an unfortunate smoking accident. “It just, like, lit on fire when I tried to light the cigarette,” he recounted. “So I get to trying to snatch the wig off. B***h, the fire goes to my f*****g shirt, to my feet, to my legs, to my back. It’s a fire everywhere, it’s a fire in the whole room.”
Of course the internet trolled him in a disgusting display of ableism and heartlessness. Comments like “Rolling Ray should have stopped, dropped, and rolled” and “karma’s a b***h” had social media conflicted in its feelings about his accident. His sensation comes from his harsh and, often, below-the-belt reads (just last month he told Yung Miami to “dig (sic) up” her dead baby father. However, the criticism didn’t stop him from responding on Twitter.
Rolling Ray might be problematic as all get-out, but we do not tolerate ableism here. We wish him well as he heals.
Fantasia Reveals Gender of Baby On the Way!
On Tuesday singer-songwriter and “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino took to social media to reveal that she is having a baby girl, her first child with husband Kendall Taylor.
In a series of Instagram stories, Fantasia showed pink fireworks being shot off during a gender reveal party, to her and her hubby’s excitement! She continued by sharing what her daughter-to-be’s name will be: Keziah London Taylor.
The news comes after the couple revealed they had struggled to conceive since their 2015 marriage. During a November episode of her IG Live show “Taylor Talks,” she described continuously praying for a child with her husband. Fantasia, a deeply devout Christian, was obviously elated when she shared the news.
“God I Want To Thank You!” she said in an Instagram caption. “You Gave Us A Seed even when the Doctor said that one of my Tubes [was] Closed you said Different. @salute1st I Love You King and I can’t wait to see who He or She acts Like.”
We can see Fantasia and family are all super excited to be welcoming a baby girl into their lives. All congratulations to her.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Are Getting Divorced, Report Says
In a story published Tuesday evening, Page Six is reporting that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are getting divorced, with the two already in settlement talks. The news comes after the couple spent the holiday season separately – Kanye at his ranch outside Cody, Wyoming, Kim and the kids with her famous family in southern California.
A source close to Kardashian was quoted saying, “Kim got Kanye to go up there so they could live separate lives and quietly get things sorted out to separate and divorce. She’s done.” Kardashian, 40, and West, 43, are said to be splitting because of marital problems directly related to Kanye’s very public mental health struggles.
For several years the rapper’s various antics have caused fans to worry. After coming out as a Trump supporter, West then announced his own 2020 presidential bid under a new political party: the Birthday Party. At a campaign rally in South Carolina, he was seen rambling, debating individual audience members, and at times, crying. In various interviews, he has rambled on almost incoherently, and his tweetstorms are now infamous.
For her part, Kim has always supported her husband and has openly discussed the difficulties of their marriage. Back in June, she shared on social media, “Anyone who has [bipolar disorder] or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand… People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual (has) to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.”
It appears she has finally reached her limit in the union with the unnamed source saying, “She is serious about taking the bar exam and becoming a lawyer, she is serious about her prison reform campaign. Meanwhile Kanye is talking about running for president and saying other crazy s**t, and she’s just had enough of it.”
Separately, a source close to Kanye alleges the rapper is sick of his wife and her family, which might have some truth to it since he has tweeted some pretty nasty things about them in the past. “I been trying to get divorced since Kim met with Meek at the Warldolf [sic] for ‘prison reform,’” he said in a now-deleted July tweet. Recently, he hasn’t been featured on his wife’s Instagram and has largely remained out of the public eye.
With the news yet to be confirmed, the “divorce is imminent” reports are just rumors for now. We’ll be following the news as more information comes out.