i’m going to try to really hard to ease up on the sarcasm, swearing and general mischievousness with which i handle some (all) of my other posts, as this is a pretty serious topic. last week, the grammys caused a pretty huge scandal when r&b singer/”rapper” (haha) (serious tone) chris brown performed on stage. unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the scandal here is due to the fact that just 2 short years ago, chris brown was involved in an incident involving then-girlfriend, r&b/pop singer rihanna. and by that i mean, on their way to the grammys, an altercation arose which ended with brown beating and attempting to strangle rihanna. this story made headlines, and rightly so. police reports and photos appeared online shortly after (no doubt you’ve seen the evidence photo of rihanna’s bruised, cut open and bloodied face) – disturbing to say the least. so, my question is, should chris brown have been allowed to perform at the grammys this year? more after the jump.
image from billboard.com
when i started doing a bit of prelim research for this post, i was sure that there was really only one side to this story, and that the answer would be a resounding “no!”. as it turns out, it’s not. there is still a vast portion of people out there who think we should cut chris brown some slack. starting with chris brown himself. jezebel released an article yesterday entitled “everything you need to know about chris brown” – a timeline of his trials and tribulations over the course of his life. the article has a frighteningly detailed account of the actual incident from police reports, and includes a lot of examples of chris brown douchebaggery that i wasn’t aware of. brown calls those who reprimand him “haters”, loses it on stores that wouldn’t stock his album, defends himself with tweets like “i’m human. how many of u r perfect????” and finally, just one year after the incident, says that he is done apologizing for the assault. how remorseful of him.
that’s pretty much expected from brown though – he’s only 21, he’s definitely not mature enough to see beyond his own arrogance and understand the heart of the matter here. that’s not to say that he’s right in his defense, just that it’s obvious he’s going to defend himself.
violence against women is a serious issue and shouldn’t be taken lightly. was his performance at the grammys offensive? definitely. it’s just another way that society is becoming tolerant of crimes like his. will matessich wrote an article for the iowan timesthat puts it best: “domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes in the country, with fewer than one in five physical domestic assaults being reported. the real danger isn’t just what happens to public figures such as rihanna and brown. it’s what happens to young women (and men)…who don’t have the benefit of being music stars whose every move is photographed, when they see that this type of behavior isn’t harshly condemned by society“. the article goes on to ask “why would anyone report an abuser if they see that violence is accepted” – and it’s true. furthermore, doesn’t this only give power to the abuser? aren’t we suggesting that abuse can be forgiven?
what’s more disturbing is the amount of support that brown has received. during his performance, twitter blew up with tweets from female fans suggesting that “chris brown can beat me any day“. likewise, comments on youtube suggest that the incident is in the past, we should all just move on. what would happen if we applied that logic to more extreme situations; the holocaust, 9/11? this, surely, is unfathomable, but why should we be any more lenient for less extreme cases, like domestic violence or abuse?
it’s clear though, that hollywood is somewhat to blame here. often, cases of violence or abuse are swept under the rug and we happily forget all about them years later. tolerance at its most terrifying. i recently found out (via a really wonderful movie called “what’s love got to do with it“) that ike turner abused wife tina turner for years during their shared fame. the world seems to have forgotten that charlie sheen once shot one of his ex-wives in the arm. apparently, bing crosby (a man whose films i adore) was a known child abuser. people showed up in mass to support joe paterno. even michael jackson was still incredibly popular, even though he was an alleged pedophile. is stardom or fame really capable of erasing one’s crimes? apparently. it’s not just the actions of these people, brown included, that are disturbing: it’s ours! tolerance by any means simply serves to belittle the victims. imagine how you would feel, were you the victim of a crime, whose perpetrator went on living his or her life without in the spotlight. scary stuff, right?
the worst part of this post is that rihanna is set to release a track featuring none other than chris brown. she seems to have moved on. what kind of message does this send?! is hollywood becoming too tolerant? or should we also just take a cue from rihanna and move on?