By Johnny Firecloud at 10:11 AM Wednesday, March 11th 2009
I’ve tried not to address this sad, infuriating situation between Chris Brown and Rihanna, but after news broke that the two are not only back together but are actually recording a fucking duet, I just couldn’t leave the dynamite alone.
In case you’ve been in anger management for the past few weeks, Brown was arrested on February 8th stemming from what police describe as a brutal fight in which he “allegedly” punched, bit and choked Rihanna until she nearly lost consciousness. Yeah, it looked as bad as it sounds.
After a rapid reconciliation and “cooling off” in Miami at one of Diddy’s beachfront mansinos, the couple returned to LA to face the music- together. The 19-year-old R&B star was charged with two felonies in the ordeal, and could face a maximum of four years and eight months in prison if convicted, but he’ll plea down to misdemeanors- which means he won’t have to serve jail time as long as Rihanna doesn’t testify against him, which she won’t, thus nullifying the fact that she told police he’s done it before.
The same day as his court appearance, Brown took to his MySpace page asking fans to vote for him at- get this- Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice awards on March 28th. In a post entitled, “Vote for Chris Brown for Kids Choice Awards”, Brown blogged, “Hey fans… Thank you for your support.” Included in the message was a link to Nickelodeon’s site where people can vote. Brown’s nominated for Favorite Male Singer and Favorite Song for Kiss Kiss. Rihanna’s also nominated, for Best Female Singer and Favorite Song for Don’t Stop The Music.
And now the two are reportedly recording a new duet in a Santa Monica recording studio. E! News says that the couple’s new duet will appear on Brown’s new album, due later this year. Producer Adonis Shropshire confirmed that Rihanna was indeed back in the studio.
“You have to remember, she’s a kid still,” Shropshire told E! “So with anybody who goes through something in the world, you have to bring yourself out of it. I guess her refuge is her music.”
Right, her refuge. Because there was nowhere else for this “kid” to find it. She certainly couldn’t find refuge in her family (who haven’t been able to reach their daughter since the shit went down), her friends, her soaring career. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to piece together that there are some big plays being made behind the scenes. This is the only way the public will forgive Chris Brown so he can save his career, and Rihanna’s been brought on board the comeback train.
So have several others- and those who have spoken out against Brown have been faster with the backpedaling retractions than Michael Steele at a talk radio convention. Why? Where’s the money behind this? The industry leverage?
Look, I can understand the stacking of the deck to put Britney back on her little cracked out pedestal. The money behind her is just too big to walk away from, despite a head-shaving, child endangering, paparazzi-fucking tweak spree the likes of which her millions of teenage disciples have never seen. But the world’s already dealt with one Ike Turner. Chris Brown is a talented kid, and he doesn’t nearly look the part that Ike did, but what does that mean? In the end, it doesn’t mean shit. He should be wiped from the face of pop culture like the infected popped zit that he is.
Contrary to what Kanye says, Brown deserves neither a break or a second chance. Whatever happens in the judicial system will amount to absolutely nothing, but his real repercussions should be played out in his record & ticket sales, endorsement deals and publicity. By choosing to stand by her piece of shit man, Rihanna has moved herself out of victim territory and into that of a willing participant who thinks so little of herself and is so eager to clear the name of the man she loves that she’s willing to re-live the misery she just endured- even though statistically, she’s got a good chance of dying next time.
Oprah’s weighing in, so’s Kanye, Katie Couric, Usher, Tyra Banks and so on, but of all people who have made public statements on the issue, I agree with Donald Trump the most. The Donald recently told Inside Edition he would have “fired” the singer for going back to Brown.
“She better get the hell out,” he said. “If she goes back, she’s a loser and she doesn’t deserve to have any future success.”
Trump has caught a lot of heat for “blaming the victim” in this situation, but that’s not what he did at all. He expressed a concern for her well-being, but also made clear that anyone who walks into a burning building after managing to escape shouldn’t be considered intelligent or even a victim, really. They’re looking to get burned again, and it’s not up to anyone else to pull them out.
Chris Brown & Rihanna have reconciled and are working together on a new duet- the producers said so far it’s got a great beat- I think it’s gonna be a hit.
- Jimmy Fallon during his Late Night monologue last night. I’m sure you’ve heard comparable jokes on the issue.
By keeping herself in his league, she’s doing far more than jeopardizing her life again- she’s sabotaging her own career and making a running joke out of herself in the process. She can’t be a superstar while supporting a punk piece of shit like Brown. Not when you consider that her chief demographic still lives at home with parents that aren’t going to see contributing to the careers of violence-condoning fuckups as just another phase. Despite whatever ulterior motives may apply (and what’s love got to do with it?), her continued association will be taken as consent. And rightfully so. Rather than seize this moment and rise up to Beyonce-level status as a role model for women who have been beaten, held down, taken advantage of or otherwise oppressed, she’s choosing to tell every kid who looks up to her that it’s okay to see yourself as the piece of meat that your man does. It’s okay to believe that your role in life is to support the image of a man who controls you.
This should be Rihanna’s moment of rebirth. She’s missing the opportunity to be a powerful role model to young women who are beaten by husbands and boyfriends. She can pick up where Tina Turner left off and turn this nightmare into a launching pad for success she’s never dreamed of. Tina’s husband frequently beat her with shoe stretchers, phone cords and coat hangers, resulting in facial bruises and broken bones that she had to cover up with heavy makeup before heading out onstage each night. Then one day in 1976, Tina Turner had enough, and with only 36 cents and a gas station credit card in her pocket she got the fuck out, beginning a new life and solo career that took her to heights she’d never imagined, leaving Ike’s abusive ass in the dust. Within a few years, Tina pulled off what Variety hailed as “one of the most dramatic comebacks in music history.” Private Dancer spent 71 weeks on the charts, producing her three most popular songs: Better Be Good To Me, What’s Love Got To Do With It and Private Dancer.
Tina’s was a story of empowerment, of rising above tragedy, standing up for yourself and showing the world that no man has any right to ever lay his hands on a woman. But that’s not Rihanna’s story. At least not yet. While she should be signing deals with switchblade companies, making statements of strength and empowerment to her fans, thus grooming herself to take Beyonce’s throne, she’s fully embracing the battered woman syndrome, and she’s being cheered on while doing so. The people she’s allowing to drive her next moves are industry power players with damage control on the agenda, not people that care about her. If she stays with Brown, she’ll enable the unthinkable- his career will be back on track by the end of the year. Hers, meanwhile… well, the only thing less appealing than an abusive asshole is someone who tries to defend him.