Over the past two weeks, since the Grammy Awards, a lot of talk has happened as a result of what fans called Chris Brown’s “triumphant” return to the forefront of the music scene.
The debate over Chris Brown has been endless since the infamous incident involving his fist and his then girlfriend, Rihanna’s face. As I’m sure most of your know, three years ago, on the eve of the Grammy’s, the pair were arguing and Brown physically assaulted Rihanna, which resulted with him being charged with suspicion of criminal threats and sentenced to 5 years of probation and 180 hours of community service.
This year, after only three years had elapsed (and while Brown was still on probation for the incident), the Grammy Association not only allowed Chris Brown to return to the stage, but had him perform twice and awarded him with Best R&B Album of the Year. A wonderful piece was featured on hellogiggles.com, explaining that by allowing Chris Brown to participate in this celebration, we as a society are basically saying that we don’t care about domestic abuse or the victimization of women enough to blacklist one musical performer – at LEAST for the duration of his sentence.
During the awards ceremony, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook exploded with anti- and pro-Chris Brown commentary. Not shockingly, many people choose to stay neutral on the subject of domestic abuse, and merely support the music, by leaving the artist’s personal life out of it. I get it; the guy’s music is catchy and fun to dance to. I’m not saying that he isn’t talented. But I am saying that I don’t think it’s right to exonerate someone because of their celebrity and their talent.
Shockingly, women from around the world rallied behind Chris Brown and expressed that they would allow Brown to beat them if they could be with them. This is where the danger lies in supporting him. By brushing the issue of domestic violence under the rug and “focusing on the music” we compromise the seriousness of the issue and we reinforce the belief that it isn’t a big deal.
This week, it was announced that Rihanna and Chris Brown have collaborated on two remixes together. This news came as quite a shock, considering past events. There’s a lot to say about forgiveness and acceptance and about the possibility for people to learn from their mistakes and grow. But for me, this is too much. By working together, the two aren’t overcoming a tragic accident that they were involved in. They’re perpetuating the message that domestic violence is okay. If Rihanna can forgive Chris Brown, why can’t an abusive husband win back his battered wife? It’s a slippery slope, and it’s a decision that really disappoints me. I guess it’s true that shock value and its monetary gain are more important than taking a stand.
I understand that some readers may not like the position that I’m putting out there. Maybe you feel that because the guy has followed his court sentence and is trying to move forward with his life in a positive manner that I should leave him alone. But I can’t. For every woman that has fallen victim to the violence of an intimate partner, I won’t. By allowing his celebrity to eclipse his actions, we are effectively telling millions of battered women that they are less important than a successful musical album. No matter which way you slice it, I just can’t accept that…in a nutshell.