The 2019 ESSENCE Festival is in full swing as the three-day event kicked off on Friday in New Orleans. The annual, weekend-long celebration is widely known for its celebrity parties and star-studded concerts, but ESSENCE Fest has thought-provoking panel discussions, as well. According to Deadline, on Friday, the “Breaking of Silence to Heal Our Communities” session featured actor Terry Crews and his wife Rebecca King-Crews along with author Asante McGee who contributed to the controversial, award-winning Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly.
“I did come forward right away,” Crews said. “I went right to the agency where this man worked and told everybody. I didn’t go public right away. I gave them time to rectify the situation. I wanted them to get rid of this man.” While there is more acceptance now, Crews doesn’t believe that anyone would have taken him seriously when the incident occurred. “This was pre-Me Too, if I would have gone to the police, I would have been laughed out of the precinct. This was also a time when people believed that you as a man couldn’t be sexually assaulted. It was impossible to get anyone to believe.”
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor also refuted arguments that people who step forward to report sexual assaults are just looking for money or attention. “One thing that people don’t understand about the Me Too movement is that people think that people come forward to get money, people come forward to get fame. The deal is you only get paid for silence,” Crews stated. “It’s so important to understand that when people are telling the truth, it’s a way of setting free a whole nation of people who have been suffering.”