Many people are focused on the collaboration between Chris Brown and Rihanna—but for a moment I would like to step back in time and redirect our attention to the underlying message which was sent when the decision was made to spotlight Chris Brown at The Grammy’s.
Ken Ehrlich—the Executive producer of The Grammy’s said the following when he was interviewed by ABC about the decision to bring Chris Brown to the stage:
“I think people deserve a second chance, you know,” Ehrlich said. “If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammy’s for the past
few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.” He went on to say that “what (Brown has) done to reclaim his career and seemingly the kind of person that he has become makes him — I don’t even want to use the word eligible — but you know, it’s time.”
…and here all along I thought Rihanna was the victim of what Brown had done…
The aforementioned decision placed Chris Brown on a platform that would reach 39 million viewers.
—39 MILLION VIEWERS—
In his own words Ken Ehrlich feels Chris Brown deserves a second chance. That decision was in part made (according to the article) because Rihanna said this:
“It’s incredible to see how he pulled out of it the way he did … I really like the music he’s putting out … I’ve always been a fan … I’m really excited to see the breakthrough he’s had in his career. I would never wish anything horrible for him … I never have.”—Rihanna
Here’s one of the problems…by choosing to place Chris Brown on a stage viewed by 39 million people the message The Grammy’s sent in part was this: “It’s time to move on—forget the past.” And to Chris Brown: “We value your career and the fact that you have reclaimed it more than we value how you treat a woman you love.” And finally to Rihanna: “You were partly to blame for not showing up to the Grammy’s in 2009 but…thanks for “still being a fan” now we can go back to business as usual—making money.”
Maybe there are a lot of people who don’t want to talk about the raw and utter truth of what happened in the car that night—and perhaps there are people who want to focus on the fact that Chris Brown complied with the mandates imposed on him by the justice system therefore we all need to “get over it.” And maybe there are people who sincerely believe he deserves a second chance just as Ken Ehrlich spoke of.
But what did that decision say to our children? What are the conversations we need to be having now?
While discussing this subject with my own kids my 15 year old son asked this question:
“What has Chris Brown done to demonstrate he actually has remorse or has learned from what he did….and outside of what
was required of him mom–like take Michael Vick, he went to jail, he paid his fine, AND he started a non-profit for abused animals…”
It is an important question. There was an apology—but has he really done anything to make a difference—not that I am aware of. Does he have to? No. Would it be great if he truly could at some point turn his lessons learned into real tangible action, yes, but recent events don’t leave me all that hopeful…
Here are some stark facts: Chris Brown was charged with California Penal Code 422, which in laymen’s terms is, the code that states the defendant threatened to kill the victim, he is right now on probation and will be for two more years. In March of 2011, while in the studio of Good Morning America, Chris Brown had a violent outburst after being questioned about his past; the result of that outburst was Chris Brown broke a window with a chair.
After the Grammys Chris Tweeted the following message to his haters:
“HATE ALL YOU WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate FUCK OFF!”
And as we learned the following morning many young women tweeted messages that stated they would welcome a beating if it meant being with Chris. And his response (to the best of my knowledge) was to meet them with silence.
Underneath all of this confusion there are countless calls for dialogue with each other, young people and ourselves:
- How do we affect change when it comes to media messages?
- How can we “vote” with our dollars and or, our actions?
- What role does forgiveness have in our lives?
- What does a healthy relationship look like?
- What is victim blaming?
- What can a person who has perpetrated violence do to earn forgiveness and second chances?
- Should we expect celebrities to be role models?
- Do the words in music matter?
Rihanna and Chris Brown are a trending topic… I agree so wholeheartedly with Jane Randal, director of The Love Is Not Abuse Coalition, in her interview with MTV ACT when she says the following in response to the argument “that Rihanna and Chris have grown since 2009, and if they have gotten over it, we all should, too.”
“To see people be so dismissive of what happened is distressing,” she said. “It makes me think that nothing has really been ‘learned’ from the situation.”–Jane Randal
Truly we are all still learning… I just truly hope it won’t, in the end, be at the expense of another life—whether it be Rihanna’s or one of the
countless young people who look up to her…when people hurt from domestic violence…we all suffer, when people die from domestic violence; there are no second chances.
I would love to hear from you…what other topics will help people, young and old alike, navigate through the countless messages landing on them?
Please visit my resource tab and learn more about organizations working to end teen dating and domestic violence.
Last, my sincere thanks to Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals who helped uncork this conversation on her Facebook Page great insight and thought has been shared by many of those gathered there, this is the sort of dialogue that I feel truly makes a difference.