Monday, August 29, 2011

What Do We Do With Breezy?

OoooooOOooo...Look at him. He's so magical and levitate-y.


Last night, I tuned into the VMAs late. I tuned in just in time to miss Adele, but in the middle of Chris Brown's performance. Which means that I promptly turned the channel and waited it out. I might be one of the few left, but I haven't forgotten what Chris Brown did.

A colleague of mine, Carlos, tweeted me, "Please, please, please tell me you're going to do a piece on the VMAs." and later, "I just think that thousands of teenage girls cheering a domestic abuser is a little creepy."

It's funny, because at the time, I wasn't planning on writing about the VMAs, but Carlos is absolutely right, and it got me to thinking... What place does Chris Brown have in our culture? What place SHOULD he have? At what point do or should we move on from his past transgressions?

I will say that I should clarify. Most people have probably not forgotten what Chris Brown did. I think he's still very much the guy who punched Rihanna, but many young girls (and music fans in general) are overlooking what he did...overlooking it and supporting him--both speaking with their money and tweets in his defense.

It is very, very disturbing to me for someone with a proven track record of anger management issues, violence, and abuse to be so heavily marketing to teen girls. I truly want to believe that people can change, but many abusers are repeat offenders. If the message we are sending teens is that you can brutally beat your girlfriend, lay low for a year or two, and then re-emerge and continue your ridiculously successful music career, how can we expect young people to condemn violence in their own lives? And what does it say about our society when we continue to implicitly reward this type of behavior?

I don't have the answer...but I do have the question that we must examine...What do we do with Chris Brown? Ben Roethlisberger? Mike Tyson? Dov Charney? Terry Richardson? Julian Assange?

In other words, what do we do with misogynists in high places?


  1. Thank you! Seriously...I'm so tired of people NOT talking about this anymore.

    I do believe people can change, even domestic violence offenders. They can enter "recovery" from their negative life choices just as a person living with addiction can. That being said...Chris Brown has not given us one clue that he's done that. He can still sing. He can still dance. He can still dress nice and fly over stages. But he (or his people) has given us any indication that he has made any continuous effort towards self-change. I haven't even witnessed any real introspection from him about the issue. If I missed it, please let me know. But I just haven't. I've seen him be incredibly evasive about the subject time and time again, and that's it. He and his publicists have tried to make sure the public forgets...and I think they're succeeding.

    Second of irks me that our society has shown its true colors of being misogynistic victim blamers themselves. The incident with Chris Brown and Rihanna gave us a perfect opportunity to educate our kids about healthy relationships, domestic violence, and abuse. But what did we do instead? Argued about who was to blame. Sickening.

  2. So true on both of your points--if I do recall his violent meltdown on Good Morning America was a perfect example of his inability to discuss the situation as a man who understands the repercussions of his actions...and further contributed to my argument that he continues to be a PROBLEM.

  3. I could make a case of separating art from artist....I won't cause his douchey-ness has really reared itself in his songs. Have you really listened to his verses in "Look at me Now"? "She Ain't You"? Or "Deuces"? In fact, here's a link I've been meaning to share with you for a while about a guy reviewing "Deuces":

  4. Pat, I can't watch videos from here, so I'll get back to you about that review...but I'm curious, how far should one separate art from artist (in cases of people who are actually artists unlike Breezy)?

    I've always struggled with this because my gut says to discredit everything that horrible people do, but I know that's not always fair. It's come up multiple times on this blog w/ "amazing" athletes like Roethlisberger or directors like Roman Polanski.

    At what point do we draw a line in the sand? Do we still laud an antisemite like Wagner? Do we still cheer for a football player who serves his time but then returns to the field?

  5. That's a good question, I can separate art and artist totally but I think I may be in the extreme minority that can do it. Like Roman Polanski, what he did was stupid and him running away made him a bitch but Chinatown is still a great movie. What Chris Benoit did to his wife and kid were horrific acts, but his wrestling matches are still classics.

    I mean to me, a artist who does bad things doesn't invalidate his or her art, bad art invalidates his or her art. I don't expect anyone to agree with me on this but that's just my opinion.

    Also, as for cheering for someone("not necessarily a football player) who serves his time and gets out. Yes it is ok AS LONG as he keeps his nose clean and attempts to atone.


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