B2K, the popular early-aughts boy band, has been back onstage and back in the news lately as their reunion tour continues to unravel.
The “Millennium” tour, which launched earlier this month, features original boy banders Lil’ Fizz, Omarion, Raz B and J-Boog. As recently as this weekend, tensions within the quartet have been dutifully chronicled on social media. A recent video, which was reshared on The Shade Room Instagram account, showed Raz B “storm” off the concert stage.
In the clip, a visibly frustrated Raz B, aka De’Mario Monte Thornton, appears to throw his mic down and exit mid-concert. But according to a comment on The Shade Room’s post, Raz B was dealing with a technical issue; the fan wrote, “I was there. The man was having problems with his headsets and mics. He walked around to stage right where the sound booth was to get another mic then went right back to finish the show.” The singer himself corroborated, commenting back, “facts.”
But there are clearly problems here that go deeper than a mic malfunction. In a subsequent Instagram story, Raz shared his own stream of consciousness, writing, “It really sucks, this being my dream tour.” He continued, “I’m clearly alone in this! Nashville, tn it’s being real @omarion thanks for being there for me when nobody else would! I suggest nobody talk to me! Cause none of y’all understand what I am walking through!”
Raz has been very transparent about the personal cost of this highly anticipated reunion. Earlier this month, the R&B artist posted a video in which he explained why he would be quitting the tour only four days in. Raz, who has long accused former manager, B2K mastermind, film director, and older cousin Chris Stokes of sexually abusing him, shared, “I don’t feel safe because I feel like Chris Stokes is around. So guess what? I’m off the tour. Good luck to everybody. No disrespect to Omari because he’s my brother. Omari if you want to come talk to me and you want me to do the tour, I’ll do the tour, but I’m officially off the tour, k?”
“Oh, guess what?” Raz continued, “I guess we’re about to shoot the new ‘Surviving Chris Stokes’ movie, right? So call Lifetime ‘cause I’m ready to talk.” (Raz B and Stokes did not respond to requests for comment.)
But to the relief of B2K fans everywhere, Raz quickly reneged on his remarks, rededicating himself to the tour and adding that, “I am a work in progress.” In a joint video statement, the band members reassured viewers that the upcoming shows would in fact take place. J-Boog thanked everyone for checking in on Raz, saying, “When things happen like this, in difficult times it does affect us all. We got together and we handled everything privately. We’re good.” Omarion chimed in: “The Millennium Tour is not going anywhere.”
On social media, the reactions to Raz’s visibly apparent inner turmoil have been mixed. Some fans have echoed the singer’s own call for a Surviving Chris Stokes-style documentary—an extensive reckoning with the serious allegations that Raz has been making for over a decade. Others have criticized him sharply for his unprofessionalism and accused him of ruining their concert experience, with little mention of or regard for the potential toll of revisiting a traumatic period in his life. Millennium tour Twitter has devolved into a back-and-forth between fans demanding refunds and those demanding accountability, who are calling out Raz’s bandmates, his so-called fans, and the pop culture-literate world at large for essentially ignoring the singer’s allegations.
Raz first came forward at a time when sexual-misconduct allegations were rarely treated with the nuance and empathy that they deserve—or as a 2017 Lipstick Alley forum post put it, “Remember when Raz-B came out with his sexual assault story and everybody laughed in his face?” The allegations initially surfaced in a series of YouTube videos that were posted in 2007. An MTV News article at the time reported that, “Among the allegations made by Raz B (born DeMario Thornton) and his older brother, Ricardo ‘Ricky [Romance]’ Thornton, in the widely circulated clip are that Stokes touched Raz B when he was a child and forced him to shower with the other members of the group. The pair claim in the video that Marques Houston was also molested by Stokes.”
Stokes immediately denied the accusations, saying, “I’m not gay. And I’m married. And I have four kids. I been with my wife for 16 years. And I’m not a child molester. So those are all false allegations. I’m gonna sue them. And I owe that to my wife and kids, period. It’s ridiculous.” (Stokes never filed suit against them.)
Omarion quickly spoke out in support of Stokes, who was still his manager at that point. “I want to be on the record as saying that ‘Raz-B’ Thornton and Ricardo Thornton are lying regarding Chris Stokes,” Omarion insisted. “Chris is a father figure to myself and many others in the industry. He’s guided us, helped raised us and is nothing more than an inspiration and someone I respect and look up to. I have spent countless hours, days, weeks and months with the man—since the age of 5—and have never once seen him behave inappropriately.”
In 2008, Raz B’s former labelmate Quindon Tarver shared his own extremely disturbing testimony with Vibe magazine. Tarver described Stokes, his ex-manager, as a “very dirty, rotten guy.”
“For a certain amount of years, I was molested. I wouldn’t say exactly by Chris, but he would organize it,” Tarver reportedly told the magazine. “He would make another member of [the boy band Immature] like come and do things… Oh my God. Four years. It was rough.” He further alleged that Stokes forced him to take showers with the other boys and to kiss Immature singer Marques Houston, the older cousin of B2K member J-Boog.
Tarver’s allegations resurfaced in 2010, when Raz B released a video of he and Tarver discussing their parallel experiences. A 2010 Essence report summarizes, “The two former teen heartthrobs shared graphic war stories of allegedly being molested by both Houston and Stokes (Raz B’s cousin) during their young musical careers. This week, Houston was granted a restraining order against Thornton whom he claims ‘falsely accused me of molesting him.’ Houston claims he has suffered ‘emotional distress’ from Thornton’s allegations. Meanwhile Tarver, 27, best known for his Prince cover of ‘When Doves Cry,’ featured on the 1996 ‘Romeo and Juliet’ soundtrack, told Raz-B that he had been ‘penetrated’ by Houston ‘and it hurt…’”
In a follow-up statement, Tarver implied that the sensitive conversation had been made public without his consent. “I had no clue our conversation was being recorded, nor did I know it would wound up on the Internet. I was under the impression that Raz-B and myself were having a private conversation, nothing more or less.”
As has been brought up many times in attempts to discredit his allegations, Raz B is not the perfect victim. He appeared to quickly take back his initial allegations and apologize, although Raz’s brother insisted that that apology was coerced. And while Raz B went on to double down on his allegations in later years, he also made a number of controversial claims regarding other members of the hip-hop community. In 2012, it was rumored that Raz B planned to “out” several hip-hop heavyweights in an upcoming memoir.
But while Raz B has certainly suffered the consequences of being disliked and distrusted by industry insiders, Chris Stokes continues to work and maintain his innocence. These days, Stokes seems to be prioritizing his film and television work. His most recent writing and directing credits are We Belong Together, Running out of Time, and the upcoming Fall Girls. As B2K’s reunion tour resurfaced the sexual-misconduct allegations against him, Stokes reiterated his denials, tweeting, “Negativity I will never play into. I never hurt any of B2K & Always had their best interest at heart including financially. I forgive any negative energy or tweets! God forgives and so do I. They back! Now stay positive in 2019 & Go get your tix!”
Given Stokes’s frequent denials and apparent interest in the tour, it’s no wonder that Raz B is struggling with the perceived presence of a man he’s spent years speaking out against.