In August, Chris Brown performed at the VMAs and I asked, "What do we do with Breezy?" The bulk of my concerns were this:
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?Here we are in February 2012 and the answer from the Grammys is clear: we give him awards and allow him to perform twice. And to quote that NYDailyNews.com piece, his "comeback is complete."
All of this is just three years (almost to the day) after the famous the incident with Rihanna. You know, the one where he beat her face in. But as Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the Grammys, said earlier today: "I was kind of rooting for him." Sadly, Ehrlich wasn't alone. Buzzfeed pulled together a disturbing list of young women all saying essentially the same thing: Chris Brown could beat the shit out of them, any day.
My blood is boiling. This is extremely problematic and all the more drives home why we can't just "get over" Brown's past. Clearly, the message these young women are receiving is that putting up with extreme violence is an acceptable price to pay to be with someone as attractive/talented/rich/whatever-they-are-thinking as Brown. The message to abusers is that if you're hot enough, have a lot of money, or can sing and dance, there will be a line of partners at your doorstep for you to beat your way through.
It could be easy to brush off these tweets as "jokes" or to say that these women and girls weren't "serious" about it. But nothing in the past three years has indicated that there was a wide societal rejection of domestic violence. Even at the moment it happened, so many people were coming to Brown's defense. The message quite literally seems to be a shift in perspective putting him in the underdog position. We're actually supposed to feel sorry for the guy. He served a few brief moments out of the limelight so now we're supposed to root for his glorious return to the stage...
Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me?
I'm not much of a Hello Giggles reader, but a recent piece by Sasha Pasulka entitled "I'm Not Okay with Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys and I'm Not Sure Why You Are" really struck a chord with me. She said:
I agree that people deserve a second chance. It’s great that we live in a country with a justice system that allows offenders to reclaim themselves and their lives after their sentence. I’m happy about that, and I hope Brown is a changed man at the end of his sentence. (The US justice system has Chris Brown on probation through 2014. It was nice of the Grammys to let him off a couple years early for
high record salesgood behavior.)
...We’re accepting the message that women just aren’t that important, that their health and their safety and their self-respect is only important until it stops being convenient for everyone. We should be angry about this, and we should be angry publicly about this.
So I want to say this to anyone who is listening: This is not okay with me. A man hitting a woman in anger is unacceptable and is not easily forgotten or forgiven. A man who hits a woman in anger deserves to be reported to the authorities and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of who might be inconvenienced in the process. A man who hits a woman in anger may eventually be permitted to go on with his own life, but he is not permitted back in my life, even if it’s been three whole years.
So true. And in that vein, I will continue my personal boycott of all things Chris Brown. I don't listen to his music (such a sacrifice, I know) and I turn the damn channel whenever an awards show has the poor judgement to invite him to perform. I will continue to speak out when people mindlessly consume his products or come to his defense. This man is deserving of absolutely nothing, in my opinion.
And for the record, don't be that asshole that says something stupid like, "Well we don't really know what happened that night." That statement is straight up victim blaming because it implies that something we are unaware of which would justify a brutal beating. Pro tip: nothing justifies violence.