Social media users are buzzing over a set of videos Empire actress Taraji P. Henson posted to her Instagram page on Tuesday and the buzz isn’t pretty. The actress was clearly trying to make a point via social media, but people were not having it.
Taraji P. Henson tried to tackle a topic that others have brought up since the release of the Lifetime series, Surviving R. Kelly. The six-episode documentary took a deep dive into all of the chaos that has surrounded the artist for years and people had a lot to say about the short series.
One topic that came up more than once on social media was to compare the outrage against R. Kelly to that directed toward disgraced entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein. There has been a perception among some circles that R. Kelly is being dragged much more harshly than Weinstein ever was. Not everybody agrees with that take or thinks it’s even a fair comparison, but it looks as if Henson is one of those siding with Kelly in this battle.
Unfortunately for Henson, her take did not go over well.
The buzz started after Taraji posted on her Instagram Stories that she was “Checking on these #mute for a friend.” Henson then went on to videotape as she searched Instagram for hashtags involving variations of muting R. Kelly. In doing that, it’s easy to see that there are more than 33,000 posts with a basic hashtag related to this, along with many smaller groups with cities or other designations incorporated.
View this post on Instagram
SWIPE ????????????????????????What a night!!! #goldenglobes2019 Thank you #glamsquad @ashuntasheriff @tymwallacehair @jasonbolden @damoneroberts @sashaywaxbh @shinechicago @verawanggang @priyadeluxe @keithlissner @roberto_coin I FELT SO GLAMOROUS!!! ???????????????????????? To all of the above y’all DID THAT!!! ????????????
Then, Taraji went to check on hashtags muting Weinstein. She found there was only one with a hashtag of “#muteweinstein,” and only a handful with “#muteharveyweinstein.” Henson didn’t add any commentary throughout this short series, ending it with simply a “hmmm.”
Her point was pretty clear, but many people across Twitter had something to say about Taraji’s Instagram Stories. As Vibe details, Henson’s posts seemed to suggest that R. Kelly was facing more backlash than Weinstein because the musician is black. Others have suggested the same, but Twitter didn’t collectively embrace her suggestion.
Some on Twitter noted that they care more about the women allegedly abused by R. Kelly than either the artist or Weinstein, while others pointed out that Weinstein is facing a fair amount of backlash for his misdeeds. Weinstein had to depart his company and he is facing legal charges, whereas at this point, Kelly hasn’t gone through those types of issues.
Airs Tonight on https://t.co/92tKJdS5iY is the premiere “Surviving R. Kelly,” and it looks like R. Kelly’s team is threatening to sue if the network actually goes through with airing the project. #SurvivingRKelly @lifetimetv pic.twitter.com/a1OS5qqge4— Surviving R. Kelly (@surviving_r) January 3, 2019
Kelly’s music continues to be available, although several artists have stepped away from collaborations they’ve done with him and he’s reportedly been dropped by Sony. Some tweets noted that the point of the mute hashtags in relation to Kelly are to silence his music in the wake of the documentary, and others pointed out that there are a couple of documentaries covering Weinstein’s scandals as well.
An additional point brought up against Taraji’s Instagram Stories was that R. Kelly is all about music, so using a hashtag about muting him ties it all together. Weinstein, of course, isn’t in the music industry, thus talking about muting him is something of a disconnect.
Some might also make fair points about the timing, in that the R. Kelly talk is current, thanks to new allegations and the Lifetime series, whereas Weinstein’s story generated most of its headlines a while ago. In addition, Instagram may simply be a medium that sparks more interest and discussion about Kelly versus Weinstein due to user demographics.
As the Inquisitr shared earlier, musician Erykah Badu is facing similar backlash for her decision to speak out in support of R. Kelly. So far, it doesn’t look as if Taraji P. Henson has responded to the backlash she’s been receiving on social media over this. R. Kelly has denied all allegations against him, but it doesn’t look as if this drama is ending anytime soon.