If you’ve been on Twitter today, you might have noticed that 20-year-old R&B artist Kehlani has been trending. Now, I know that many of you may not be familiar with Kehlani. And that’s fine. What we’re discussing today is more about relationships, double standard, and how to handle said drama when you’re in the public eye.
So what exactly happened with Kehlani?
Well, if you were at all familiar with her, you might have known that she was in a relatively new relationship with Cleveland Cavaliers player, 24-year-old Kyrie Irving. The two seemed to be going quite strong after celebrating their first Valentine’s Day together.
But things took a left turn when Kehlani’s ex, a producer named PartyNextDoor, posted a very incriminating picture of the two in bed together.
As you can tell, there are no faces, no body parts. But Kehlani has some very distinct tattoos. With that caption, the couple’s history, and the tussled sheets, it wasn’t hard for folks to surmise that they had slept together; which, if true, would mean that she cheated on Kyrie Irving.
In response, likely to the public backlash and her overflowing Instagram notifications, Kehlani, a new artist deleted her entire Instagram page, losing all of those followers. While she never addressed the picture directly, deleting an entire Instagram page, particularly as a new artist, is very close to an admission of guilt.
What happened afterward has been quite annoying. Men from all corners of the earth (read: young, Black men in America) have been blasting Kehlani and the rest of “these hoes” who don’t know how to handle or appreciate “a nice guy.” Not having the full story about the current status of the couple’s relationship, not knowing if Irving is indeed a “nice guy.” And what I find particularly irritating is that when male artists, entertainers and athletes cheat on their wives and girlfriends, there is no trending topic. Men don’t call these other men hoes. They don’t express their allegiance to the “good girl” who was hurt privately and publicly humiliated. Instead, men shrug their shoulders and offer explanations about biology, monogamy and access when you have money like these public figures. Hell, some of them might even celebrate the man for being “out here.”
The discussion about PartyNextDoor and his foul ways have yet to cross my path.
In this whole discussion of Kehlani, Ayesha Curry’s name was also trending. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but ever since homegirl talked about her preference for covering up, men have placed her on a pedestal, pointing to her as a beacon for Black womanhood. I happen to like Ayesha Curry but I really resent the fact that much of the discussion surrounding her in our community is about berating and belittling other women in comparison to her. Men have been tweeting all day that they’re looking for an “Ayesha Curry in a world full of Kehlanis.” As my coworker brought to my attention, someone literally tweeted that Ayesha Curry was the last good, light-skinned girl out here. As if any of these men, spending their waking hours on social media, could be Steph on their best day, or would even know what to do with an Ayesha type.
This is all just a little background.
At the very end of the day, I feel sorry for Kehlani. Not because I’m excusing her infidelity; if that’s really what happened, but more so because I’m thinking about her career and her mental health. Having scads of angry, disconnected people from all over the internet trying to speak on your morals and character is enough to drive any sane person mad. Working on the internet, I know that feeling well. So even if she did make a mistake, I hope she has some positive and uplifting people in her corner who are keeping her off of social media and reminding her of all the good qualities she possesses. And I hope she’s truly internalizing that message.
But then there’s the career piece as well. No one, who is serious about their craft as an artist, wants scandal to be associated with their name before they’ve had a chance to prove themselves and blow up in the industry. But today, sadly, that’s the position in which Kehlani finds herself. Sadly, there will be tons of people who will hear about her for the very first time today, in relation to these allegations of cheating.
In an ideal world, this is what would have happened after PartyNextDoor posted that picture.
1. Kehlani called him and cussed him out for being messy and violating her privacy on the internet.
2. She did NOT, I repeat DID NOT delete her Instagram page.
3. She called Kyrie to explain what happened… if she’s still interesting in saving the relationship.
4. She offered NO explanation to the people of cyberspace. Deleting the page read guilty, while silence leaves room for question, doubt and, most advantageously, intrigue. People would have flocked to her social media channels looking for an explanation. And while there, they might have become more acquainted with her skills.
5. She would have either owned up to the infidelity, preferably with a new song. Or deny, deny, deny. She could have said this was an old picture. Could have said that her ex was messing with a copycat or hell, that they simply fell asleep after working on a song together. At the end of the day, the only person she needed to explain herself to, was Kyrie. Not us.
Hopefully, she can bounce back from all of this. Use this laser focus on her life either to her career advancement or to reconnect with the people who will continue to ride for her and her artistry. But in the meantime, the fellas out there, looking to throw the first stone, should back back.