Like millions of other people who grew up in the 90s, I love Nelly. Or, at least I love Nelly's music. Or, at least I love Nelly's singles. I've always been especially partial to Air Force Ones (which features Kyjuan, Ali, and Murphy Lee). I've spent what probably amounts to hours of my life blissfully belting wrong lyrics to Ride Wit Me. I was even here for the weird Nelly/Tim McGraw mashup of 2004 Over and Over.

So when I heard that Nelly would be playing the Chamaign County Fairgrounds next month (along with Twista and Futuristic), I was ready. And then I came to write a post about how excited I am. And then I remembered that it's critical, if you're in a position to disseminate information, to make sure you do it responsibly, so I did a quick search of what Nelly's been up to in the last couple years.

Unfortunately, what he's been up to is being accused of sexual assault and rape. It's important to say that he has not been actually tried or convicted, and innocent until proven guilty is a real thing. I think it's an incredibly delicate balance in this particular case, because statistically two things are true: many instances of rape and sexual assault are not reported or pursued to trial (read more about that stat here), but also black men are more likely to be wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit (more on that here).

I'm in no position to dictate what these things mean for consumers of Nelly's music. I'm not sure how to navigate it myself. All I can say for sure is that it's important as responsible members of society that we do our due diligence in understanding the different dynamics at work as we decide where and how to spend our money. What systems and values do we want to support? How best to support those things? The answers will vary a bit for all of us, but being transparent, cooperative, and compassionate in our discussion of them helps move us towards a stronger, healthier community. 

Photo from Facebook event page