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This weekend, while women across the country and the world marched for equal rights, Keke Palmer found herself dealing with a man who simply couldn’t take no for an answer, singer Trey Songz to be specific.

Before we go any further, I should be very clear that it wasn’t a rape type situation but it was a case of a woman being exploited despite her explicit instruction. Basically, Keke Palmer was at Trey Songz’s house in Miami for a party when he started shooting scenes for the video for his song, “Pick Up the Phone.” Trey and his people asked Keke several times if she would star in it. And she declined several times. Instead of honoring her request not to be featured, it wasn’t long before a tweet revealed that she was, in fact, in the video.

Keke explained.

Keke released a video explaining exactly what happened at the party, how the situation became extremely uncomfortable and why she felt the need to hide in the first place.

As you might assume, it wasn’t long before Trey responded. Earlier in the day, after he celebrated the Queens marching for women’s equality, he addressed Keke’s claims.

Then for show, he tweeted a gif of Michelle Obama as if our former first lady would cosign this sh*t.

I’ll admit that I’m one of those women who is inclined to give women the benefit of the doubt, to believe her word when there isn’t clear evidence for either side. But in this instance, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. If Trey had Keke’s permission to put her in the video, he simply would have tweeted that. But he didn’t. Instead, he logged onto Twitter to say he don’t do Twitter sh*t. If he was going to break his habits and traditions, what he should have done was uploaded some receipts, i.e. a release form with her signature on it saying she agreed to be in the video. Saying she was sitting around “saw the camera and the lights, heard action” is not consent for her image to be used. And I’m sure being that she’s known Trey for so long, she didn’t think that he would violate her in this way after she specifically and repeatedly told him she didn’t want to be in the video.

If you listen to the lyrics of the song for which the video was shot, you might understand why Keke had a problem with it.

[Verse 1: MIKExANGEL]

Yeah, I met that bitch at a party

I swear that liquor got it started

Bit tits like Dolly

Excuse me, beg your pardon

Yeah, I do this shit often

Stone Cold like Austin

What this life style costin’

And these bitches wanna see me

Swear this drippin’ ain’t easy

Now she sayin’ that she need me

I palm her pussy like Keke

Like Keke, like Keke

She know I’m go act the fool with it

Tell me she gon’ let my bros hit it

Throwin’ that pussy, I go get it

Go get it

For as much as people want to say they’re disgusted by Donald Trump and his comments about women, he’s not the only one. Perhaps this is why so many voters didn’t find his “grab her by the pussy” a disqualification of him holding the highest office in the land. Because, hell, so many men talk like that. This past weekend there were hundred of thousands of women protesting against Trump and his comments, among other things. These are the same women Trey claimed to support. Still, he lent his voice to a song like this. And wanted to force Keke Palmer to be a part of it when it was her name that was being referenced, her reputation that was on the line.

I’ve heard what people have to say about Keke Palmer these days. They have a problem with the way she dresses, the way she speaks, the way she dances, the music she releases, her extra-ness. But the point is, these are all choices she’s clearly and comfortably made for herself. And at the very end of the day, the girl has business acumen. She knew not to make a decision that could affect her brand, her image, her career at a damn house party when she’s been drinking. And just because folks see her as “wild” and attention-seeking, it doesn’t give Trey Songz or anyone else the right to dictate how they want to use her image for their commercial gain. It’s vile and a complete dismissal and disregard for her autonomy and voice as a woman.

To that point, here’s a bit of advice for you ladies out there. Beware of these Black men who will call you Queens one minute and then flip the script when you don’t do what they want. I’m not a queen to you if you don’t want me to use my voice. I’m not a queen if you try to trick or manipulate me into doing something I repeatedly told you I don’t want to do. I’m not a queen to you if you try to make money off my face, my body, my image but don’t respect my mind. It’s just that simple.

Quite a few people asked why didn’t Keke just leave the house. In the videos above she explained that her Uber was going to take too long to get there and so she felt her best course of action was to hide in a closet. Trey found her in there and assured her that if she didn’t feel comfortable, she wouldn’t be filmed. And yet, the video was released. (It’s since been removed.) What type of decency is that? Forget the man, woman, misoygnoir-ness of this whole situation, at the end of the day, according to Keke, dude is just not a man of his word. You told her one thing when you had every intention of doing the complete opposite.

And after he disrespected Keke as a woman, as a “friend,” and as a person, he wants her to be mature and handle the situation in private. You’ve got to be kidding me! They were in private when she told him she didn’t want to be in the video. They were in private when she called a Uber to get out of his house. They were in private when she hid in a closet to avoid what he ended up doing to her anyway. And now that she’s been publicly associated with a song that talks about grabbing her pussy, he wants her to call him out on your shenanigans behind closed doors. For what?! Apparently, Trey couldn’t hear Keke when she was speaking to him privately. If he had, she wouldn’t have been in the video. So it only makes sense that since the video was released publicly, she address him publicly and make him answer to the public for this violation. And aside from “she heard action,” he hasn’t been able to. The fact that the video has been removed from the internet speaks volumes. Warner Bros. probably didn’t do all of this talking, trying to get both sides of the story. They likely don’t give a damn about women’s rights. I would bet money that what they did do was ask Trey and his people for the release that contained Keke’s signature. And when they couldn’t produce it, they snatched that sh*t down. Because they don’t want these type of problems for a mediocre song, not a weekend after the women’s march. Not for a song that basically quotes our controversial new president. Hell nah.

Besides the misogyny, besides being an indecent person in this moment, Trey Songz just wasn’t smart about all of this. He’s been in the industry too long to think this was going to fly. Or perhaps he’s so accustomed to pulling stunts like this, to manipulating and tricking women into doing things they don’t want to, that he thought Keke would just take it. But he thought wrong. This is not the time, that was not the place and Keke is clearly not the one.

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.
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