For those of you hoping for my normal critique of what is wrong with today’s music industry will be disappointed today. Yes, I will be talking about the song but that’s not today’s focus. You see, this week’s Worst of Music song is a remix of Birthday Cake by Rihanna featuring Chris Brown. The history between those two is well documented but the problems with this song go well beyond the infamous incident of 2009.
If you listen to the lyrics of the song (which is not recommended due to the fact that they’re repetitive to the point where I’m not sure there are more than 10 unique lines in the whole song), you begin to wonder if we’re all being trolled. This goes beyond your typically sexually charged Rihanna lyrics.
If one reads into the various lyrics, it’s easy to make the connection between what’s being said in this song to that night before the Grammys in 2009 when Chris Brown assaulted Rihanna. Lyrics like “I’mma make you my bitch” sound like a direct reference to that night in 2009 in the context of a collaboration. “Give it to her in the worst way” is also something one could accuse Chris Brown of doing in the past as well.
The biggest problem is that everyone, or the majority on Twitter, seems to think that Rihanna and Chris Brown collaborating and allegedly hooking up on the side is a sign that we should move on and forget that Brown beat Rihanna mercilessly. I searched Twitter for all of five minutes and these were the ten worst things I saw.
These comments can be broken down into three categories. The first falls along the lines of that the 2009 beating was a work (wrestling parlance for fake or a storyline) that was part of a long-term plan to grow their popularity over time until we got to the point where they got back together again. These people are absolutely ridiculous. Have they seen the photos? Do they not have any common sense? A women gets beaten savagely and her attacker has criminal charges filed against him to sell some more CDs? That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard in my life.
The dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life is that this is somehow Rihanna’s fault or that this whole thing was a mistake. That’s our second category of pro-Brown / anti-Rihanna tweet. Do we have to go back to the pictures? Maybe you should read the police report detailing the assualt. Does that sound like a mistake? Does it sound like Rihanna started this? Pushing a woman off in self-defence is justified to an extent. Hitting her in the face repeatedly and viciously is stops being self-defence about the instant that Chris Brown’s fist starts toward Rihanna’s face. One look at those pictures and you can’t tell me that there was anything but malice, violence and otherwise ill intent in Brown’s mind while beating Rihanna.
And a mistake? One hit might be a mistake if it was an accidental hit. What happened to Rihanna was not the result of one hit but several blows targeted at her head. The mistake is that someone hasn’t decided to repay Chris Brown in kind. The mistake that no A-List celebrity has come out to say that what Chris Brown did is wrong and that he’s the absolute worst scum on Earth for beating women. There’s a reason why prison inmates reserve special treatment for pedophiles and women abusers. They really are the worst blights upon humanity.
The third type of comment isn’t dumb but rather ignorant. It’s a sad commentary on how out of touch with the real world that today’s youths are. (At least, I hope these are youths who are making these comments rather than adults who should know better.) These comments are along the lines of what happened in the past is the past. That one could be true if it wasn’t for the fact that all statistical and anecdotal evidence completely contradicts that.
The reason why women continue in abusive relationships is because they rationalize or focus on positive qualities in their partners. They see them as dependable or affectionate and that’s why they stay in those relationships. That’s the reason why many people intervene when friends are in abusive relationships. A recent survey said that more than half of women in abusive relationships saw their partner as dependable and more than one in five still saw their partners as possessing “significant positive traits.” If women can’t see abusive men as the violent people they are, you can see why people feel compelled to intervene on their behalf.
The greatest offender in allowing these thoughts to embed themselves in society might be celebrities themselves. Very few celebrities have come out to say something against Chris Brown. Those who have are mocked and attacked. Look at the likes of CM Punk, Chrissy Teigen, Anderson Cooper and Miranda Lambert who have all spoken out against Brown because he beat Rihanna. They’re attacked as if they said something wrong. When so many celebrities are so scared of losing money that they won’t stand up for what’s right, there is a problem with society. Forgive and forget is one thing. Ignoring a serious issue because you’re afraid of any potential backlash is something that shouldn’t be accepted. Someone has to speak out condemning this because violence against women is something we should all be trying to stop.
The Grammys aren’t much better. They took Chris Brown off the 2009 Grammys broadcast in light of Brown being arrested for beating Rihanna. Three years later, Brown’s nominated for every award under the sun and invited to perform as if nothing ever happened. Grammys producer Ken Elrich even had the nerve to say that “[the Grammys] were the victim of what happened.” Rihanna was sent to the hospital by her boyfriend but the Grammys were the real victim? No wonder why people are on Team Breezy. There’s no negative repercussions for supporting a man who is prone to violent and homophobic outbursts. Similarly, there are no repercussions to the man himself it would seem.
And Team Breezy has never really been about the music. They’re blindly supporting the man and won’t stand to hear anything anti-Brown. I don’t like Chris Brown because his music sucks doesn’t get nearly as violent a reaction as I don’t like Chris Brown because he beats women. As noted with those tweets above, those mindless simpletons are not able to comprehend the seriousness of what happened. If you say “I would let Chris Brown beat me” or “Rihanna deserved it” or some variations on those, you shouldn’t be allowed to procreate. Women should be respected but saying and believing things like that worry me that there are members of society who support and encourage the sort of violence and misogyny that started this three years ago.
I won’t conclude with my usual sarcastic congratulatory line about winning the Worst of Music award. Instead, I ask that if you agreed with this post, please donate to a women’s shelter or abused women’s help line.