Negatively marked by the Breakfast Club's previous interview with Russell Simmons, Sil Lai "Scrappy" Abrams decided to come forward and speak her mind with Angela Yee.
Sil Lai plays a major role in the Russell Simmons documentary Off The Record as she shared her alleged personal experience of rape at the hands of the mogul. While having to re-live the incidents was already scarring for the award-winning writer, it was watching our interview with Simmons that was more "re-traumatizing" for her than anything.
"Being silenced for so long and the first time that Russell pops up is on a show with such a reach as the Breakfast Club and he was unchallenged essentially throughout the entire interview. And not only was he unchallenged and allowed to perpetuate a lot of the very harmful myths around rape and around the women that have accused him, but...it was very traumatizing because we didn't have an opportunity to speak. There's been a huge vortex of silence around the film within the black community."
With his great influence and power in the industry, Sil Lai believes he is the "Harvey Weinstein of the hip-hop community" because he's managed to keep buzz around the claims very quiet. This is the dangerous "ride-or-die" mentality we've seen in the R. Kelly case.
Sil Lai also went on to comment on Oprah Winfrey backing out of Off The Record due to inconsistencies. Surprisingly, there wasn't much frustration from the alleged victim's end because she believes Oprah, "has the right to do whatever she wants with her money and with her platform." What did get under her skin was the manipulative way Russell seemed to praise Oprah for stepping down from a professional aspect.
"Whatever you're saying to try and imply that Oprah is co-signing you, that's not fair because you also know Ms. Oprah Winfrey is not going to come back out to re-litigate something that's in the past.
Regardless of the harm that has been done to Sil Lai as a person, she's seemed to find a bright side to her tumultuous past. She's openly recognized that allegedly being assaulted by a known figure is the only reason her story has been heard and feels sorry for women who've faced the same torture but have been ignored because their assailants were a lesser-known. There was also a conversation about the evolution of criminalizing rape throughout the decades and the unfortunate work that still needs to be done.
"So when I think about how far we have to go around sexual violence, I think about white people who say, 'Oh, get over it! Slavery ended x amount of years ago. The civil rights movement happened x years ago. Y'all got the same opportunities,' without acknowledging the systems of oppression that operate institutionally and interpersonally to prevent any type of parity or equity or safety for those who are the most marginalized. And let's just called it like it is, Zora Neal Hurston said it. 'Their eyes are watching God, the black woman is the mule of the world.' We carry that double bind of our race and our gender."
Learn how coming forward has effected Sil Lai as a mother, the police's sexual assault of black women, rape being a global women's health issue and much more.