I don't know why I bother. I guess despite how flaky Raz and Ricky are, I believe the Chris stokes is a pedo and I fill sick thinking that he probably won't be brought to justice.
But for those of you that have been so loyal to THEW NEW URBAN, making our earlier interview with Ricky Romance one of the most linked stories of last week, I thought we all deserved some closure.
Yesterday was pretty busy for Ricky and Raz. After Ricky's return from a New Years bash in Vegas -- an effort to just get away - the family meetings on which we exclusively reported continued, and more secrets were revealed. I called Ricky, and after playing a bit of phone tag, we talked. Like many of you, I felt slightly betrayed. What happened to taking a stand? What about righting wrongs? But after talking to Ricky, I looked back at the TMZ Video... And, I'll say this. Sometimes, especially against the glare of limelight, things aren't exactly as they seem...
At the core of this scandal, far deeper than the money and the flashing lights, we see a family struggling under the weight of fame and clan loyalty.
** THE NEW URBAN'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW **
TNU: So, diving right in. We all saw the TMZ Video. From the looks of it, things seem to be resolved. Are you content with what was discussed?
RICKY ROMANCE: Content, like, satisfied? Nah, I'm not content. We did what we had to do to quiet things down.
TNU: Can you talk about what was discussed?
RICKY ROMANCE: All I can say is, we're trying to work it out.
TNU: Was this simply a photo-op situation? To throw the media off?
RICKY ROMANCE: You know how these things work. Things have been crazy, so like I said we did what we had to do. We're family.
TNU: Do you take back any of the things you've told to the media about the molestation, particularly what happened to your brother DeMario?
RICKY ROMANCE: We ain't takin back shit we said... What I said happened, happened. You'll never hear me take it back. And all the things that were done in the dark, are already coming to light. It's out of my hands now. Chris did what he did, and there's nothin I can do about it. I'm not the law. I'm not the white man, who's not tryin to do anything but tear us further apart. At the end of the day we're like I said we're family, and if there are things that can bring us closer together why not do that? We decided to leave this shit in God's hands. But it don't change nothin that happened.
TNU: Did you feel backed into a corner at all? To quiet things down?
RICKY ROMANCE: Yes, definitely.
TNU: Legally or physically?
RICKY ROMANCE: All of that.
TNU: Was Stokes ever planning to sue you or Raz directly for what you said?
RICKY ROMANCE: For what we said, no. How you gonna sue someone for the truth? We're family, period. And we're trying to work it out as a family.
TNU: The allegations that you and Raz made are for things that happened years ago, I know, but when you say things are "out of your hands," what do you mean?
RICKY ROMANCE: There are things that are happening... that at this point have nothing to do with me.
TNU: Are other people making allegations?
RICKY ROMANCE: Like I said, it's out of my hands. But everything I said is the real deal. The people who need to know, know that.
TNU: In the black community, sometimes we feel like it's bad to air dirty laundry. But at The New Urban your last interview got us floods of letters from people who wanted to share their own abuse stories, who supported you and Raz for speaking out. It seemed to liberate people.
RICKY ROMANCE: It was hard to do that. When you air dirty laundry it's either gonna bring our families and communities together or tear us further apart... It's all about teaching the kids who were misled in this world and teaching them the right things. At least that what I want. You know? That's what it's all about.
TNU: I know Raz just opened up to you recently about what he alleges Chris did to him. Do you forgive Chris for what he did to you and Raz?
RICKY ROMANCE: I mean, it's all about forgiveness, right? It's a struggle. And that's what Raz is about, genuinely. That's what we're trying to do. There's a lot going on right now.
TNU: What can you share on the record?
RICKY ROMANCE: As soon as I can tell you more I will.
After our on-the-record interview there was more discussed. Things that simply aren't in anyone's best interest to expose. It took me a while to decide what was best to leave alone.
One thing I really wanted to know is "Was there a money deal?" I never got a straight answer on that. But what I can say is that this situation has taken an enormously difficult toll on Raz, Ricky and Chris's entire family. There've been shouts and screams, tears, and shots at resolution.
So now, let's look back at that TMZ tape together... What I see first is a man, Chris Stokes, noticeably rundown, smiling in a manner that seems more desperate than genuine. I see him standing there, flanked by the two young men who, once upon a time, not only looked up to him, but looked to him for everything. Food, shelter, careers. And it wasn't just them. Stokes was the carrier of an entire family's livelihood and, in some cases, their hopes and dreams...
Now, perhaps for the first time, Chris Stokes sees everything that he built for that same family raring to crumble. All because of a secret, one that I imagine he deeply regrets...
When Ricky says he and Raz are doing what they had to do "for his family." I think he meant it. Family secrets are, perhaps, the most common kind. And sometimes it's difficult to speak out when that group--the group that defines your identity--is in danger. When the man who stepped in as a father when no one else would is thrust before the firing squad. Suddenly, it's not just about "you" anymore, your pain, your rage... even at the exact moment it should be.
This is a complex situation. An industry friend and fan of THE NEW URBAN who watched Stokes and his clan rise in the entertainment industry, says, "They're tight knit. A lot of people don't like Chris, but he was always family oriented in his own way. He was the Great White Hope for the people close to him."
But sometimes, kids, the same person who claims to love you and who you love in return, is positioned to harm you more than anyone else. Sure, it's easy for us to say walk away, sell him down the river, because we're looking for a hero in this situation. A hero to right the wrongs that we view from the distant blogosphere...
But instead of heros we see a grainy internet video showing three broken men, caught up in a soul-less and spirit-crushing industry. Three men who've made public mistakes, and are struggling to forgive and do what's right, for the family.
One thing Ricky did say that stuck with me... "It's not over. Nah, not as far as I'm concerned."
**UPDATE**: Ricky and Raz have decided that Chris Stokes can either "publicly admit and apologize" or they'll "take their petition to the courts for justice." Read more here.
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