Three years after Chris Brown beat his then girlfriend Rihanna to a pulp and left her on the side of a road, Rihanna is planning on releasing a new single–“Birthday Cake,” from her most recent album Talk That Talk–that will be featuring her former attacker. What the heck gives?!
I understand that Rihanna doesn’t forever want to be known as a victim of an abusive relationship. I understand her desire to put the tumultuous night that occurred three years ago behind her. I understand that Rihanna wants to stress the importance of forgiveness, that none of us is perfect. I understand, really, I do.
But, for the life of me, I can’t understand why Rihanna seems so intent on insisting that the rest of us–the record buying, and in the case of Chris Brown, non-record buying, public–should just get over what he did to her, especially since he seems to be unrepentant for his actions and is still known for flying into obscenity laden rages on twitter. Positively promoting an unrepentant Chris Brown, whether it is done the media at large or Rihanna herself, is sending a message that abusive relationships don’t deserve to be taken seriously.
On Rihanna’s twitter page, she responded to the hullaboo from the media and her fans regarding to the decision to make a record with Chris by retweeting that its “kinda strange when people still don’t get the point ur trying to make”. Unfortunately for Rihanna, the point she’s trying to make is apparently not the point that is getting through to the rest of us. The point I’m getting is that Rihanna likes controversy and trying to boost her own record sales more than she likes being a young woman who other young women can look up to. The point I’m getting is that Rihanna doesn’t take her abuse at the hands of Chris Brown seriously. The point I’m getting is that Rihanna and Chris are tone-deaf when it comes to what many of us idea consider to be ‘inappropriate’ behavior that is actually common to victims of abuse (i.e., the urge that many victims have to defend the person who abused them).
Rihanna and Chris’ behavior is so bizarre that Billboard magazine has penned open letters to both stars urging them to rethink their decision to release “Birthday Cake”.
Rihanna is definitely sending a message by collaborating with Chris Brown, but I don’t think its the message she was intending to send.