The internet has been blowing up after hearing about the death of David Bowie.

Bowie, 69, died on Sunday, only two days after his birthday from cancer. Given his icon status, thousands of fans are taking to the internet to share their condolences and share the influences and inspiration he’s’ given to them.

While many are sharing his superstar moments, some are sharing some things from his past that highlight a different side of Bowie. It turns out that  Bowie engaged in sex with underage girls (as young as 13) who were part of the Baby Groupie scene back in the 70’s. Baby Groupies included girls like Lori Mattix, Sable Starr, Lynn Koenigsaecker, among others, of underage girls who were in varying degrees of sexual relationships with several different rock stars of the time.

It’s not even just Bowie. The likes of Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, and many more have engaged in this same behavior. Ted Nugent even became the legal guardian of his 17-year-old girlfriend to avoid getting flack for their relationship. It’s not like it’s very secretive, simply Googling will suffice.

Though he’s helped many folks realize their gender and sexual identity, while he impacted the gender binary, it’s imperative to credit most of that – along with the acceptance he was shown by pop culture – to the fact that he was white, male, and wealthy. What would his career have looked like had he been Black or Brown? Notice how we’ve been so quick to denounce R. Kelly and Bill Cosby for their pedophilia and sexual assaults, which is warranted, while Bowie gets glorified? (This is anti-Blackness at play.) We’re so quick to forgive, dismiss and overlook sexual abuse  from white men and continue to coddle and protect them via institutional structures. It’s time we start prioritizing the voices, and experiences of victims and survivors of sexual assault.

This has been an ongoing issue in pop culture for far too long. Artists seem to, often times, have an affinity for young girls.

Despite him having cancer, despite his celebrity, it’s completely understandable that people would be talking about him raping young women, even in death. The fact is, Bowie had many sexual interactions with teenage girls, and occasionally bragged about it. Even the girls who acknowledge that their interactions with him were consensual, that still makes him a statutory rapist and pedophile. While his music and art has impacted the lives of countless fans, it’s time to start dialogue about why we find it so easy to overlook him taking advantage of girls who were impressionable, vulnerable, and unable to consent. There isn’t a single thing wrong with folks bringing it up.  After all — Hollywood can hide some pretty dark secrets.


Featured Image: Flickr user evikk via Creative Commons