If you’ve followed entertainment news for the past year or so, you’re familiar with controversy that has befallen the young singer, following is brutal post-2009 Grammys beating of then girlfriend and pop-star Rihanna. And, if you’re like me, you’ve grown sick of seeing his name, especially when it has been attached to half-baked apologies and poorly executed media appearances and interviews. But the young performer has seemingly put most of that behind him.
After releasing his third album, Graffiti, in December of last year and starring in this past weekend’s number one box-office hit, Takers, Brown is more focused on presenting his audience with artistic output than updates on his personal life. On Monday, Brown took to Twitter and said:
”#1 single in the country and the #1 movie in the country. life has turned around for me.i couldnt be more happier. thanks to the fans”
Aside from the false claim of having a number one single when his latest song “Deuces” featuring Tyga and Kevin McCall is actually #2 on the Billboard Hip-Hop and R&B charts, his statement greatly concerns me. He’s asserting that because of his professional success his life has somehow “turned round.” In an ironic twist of fate, the song that holds the #1 spot on Billboard this week is Eminem’s domestic violence “anthem” of sorts, “Love the Way you Lie” which features none other than Rihanna belting out the chorus.
Nearly a year and a half after he sent Rihanna to the hospital with bruises covering her face, he has yet to express any genuine remorse or desire to heal the wounds that were born of and caused this situation. There was never any talk of therapy or anger management classes, things that would help Brown cope with the history of abuse visited upon his mother at the hands of his stepfather. Rather, Brown spent time making “apology” videos, appearing at parties, speaking with Larry King, and presumably working on his album. Instead of taking time to work on himself he worked on his career.
That’s likely a product of the people with which he has surrounded himself. Fame brings hangers-on that are more interested in an artist’s ability to generate cash than their emotional well-being. There doesn’t seem to be anyone in Brown’s circle encouraging him to take considerable time away from working to address his personal issues. As such, he seems to have confused his success in the film and music industry for growth and reconciliation. In an interview on BET’s 106 & Park he boasted that his performance at the 2010 BET awards in which he performed a tribute to his greatest musical influence, the late Michael Jackson, and broke into tears mid-set was his “ultimate apology.”
I believe Brown deserves the opportunity to redeem himself. I believe he deserves all the success his talents afford him. But above all, I believe he needs to recognize the severity of his actions, the history and feelings that produced them, and seek the appropriate means with which to effectively treat them. He owes that much to himself. And with the large teenage girl fanbase he ha hanging on his every movie, he owes it to them as well.
Because ultimately, this issue is much larger than what happened between Brown and Rihanna. Domestic violence happens everyday, and women are the victim in a majority of these cases; this situation, because of the popularity of the people involved, just happened to play out on a national scale. Like it or not, in our celebrity obsessed culture, the way its treated sends a message to those young girls with pictures of Brown serving as their laptop background and his songs in rotation on their iPods, and the wrong message can set us back in the fight to end domestic violence.
It was disheartening to hear how many young girls went to extreme lengths to defend Brown after his assault on Rihanna. The excuses ranged from “she probably hit him first” to “it was just an accident.” It was horrifying to watch them so passionately defend the teen heartthrob even in the aftermath of his violent attack. To think they could justify his actions, what would that mean if, God forbid, someone were to give them cause to ride in the back of an ambulance. They may believe they somehow “deserved” it, and that scares me more than anything.
I would love to be able to not discuss Chris Brown at this point. I’ve never been a fan of his music and never willingly followed any of the gossip that followed him. But the impact his actions could have on the psyches deserves our attention. He needs to recognize exactly why what he did was a wrong and work on healing himself, not only for himself, but also for his family, friends, and fans.