Posts Tagged ‘rihanna’

Black Male Musicians: Cowards on the Chris Brown/Rihanna Drama

March 16, 2009

All over television and radio, I hear and see female celebrities from Oprah and Tyra Banks to Robin Givens and Free expressing either support for Rihanna or at least warning her of the potential danger of staying with Chris Brown. It has indeed been quite impressive to see people like Oprah and Tyra sharing the stage and talking to young people about domestic violence, particularly since the media often speaks of those two as being competitors. If this was indeed the case, they’ve come together for an important cause. While women, particularly Black female entertainers have stood up for Rihanna, the unequivocal support of Chris Brown from Black male musicians has been downright disgraceful and cowardly.

From P. Diddy and Akon to Usher and Suge Knight, Black male musicians have either showed 1000% (no typo) support for Brown, or have backtracked on any critiques they may have given to Brown’s post alleged assault activities. Said Suge Knight:

 

Chris Brown is a lil’ homie…I got more love for Chris Brown than anybody. One of the things Chris Brown did before at the time my daughter was turning 14 years old, it was her birthday, and they were having a concert. He put her on stage, sang happy birthday, he didn’t have to, showed a lot of respect and I respect him for that. So therefore, I’ma ride with him a thousand percent on whatever it is, period.

 

Hey Suge, he didn’t have to nearly kill Rihanna either! Maybe this isn’t a surprise for someone who just pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery against his girlfriend in February. As long as you sing to Suge Knight’s daughter, you can go ahead and allegedly nearly kill someone.

            Snoop Dogg offered to have Brown and Rihanna on his variety show “Dogg After Dark” to talk about their relationship. In a great gesture towards healing their situation, he jokingly offered to also have Dr. Phil or Dr. Dre on his show to talk about it. Singer Akon said he would “absolutely” work with Brown because he doesn’t mix business with personal lives. He could have at least said he would work with him if he got help but not even that. P. Diddy offered his home for them to come work it out, when the most important thing they need right now is distance. They both threw out the obligatory “no one should hit women” but after that, it’s just business as usual. It’s sad when people who haven’t demonstrated high regard for women themselves throughout their career now know what’s best for Rihanana.

            Singer Usher has also proven to be most disappointing on this case. Usher criticized Chris Brown for going out on a jet ski while at Diddy’s house with Rihanna. Miraculously, Usher later apologized for criticizing Brown! Usher stated that he apologized “if anyone was offended. The intentions were not to pass judgment and we meant no harm. I respect and wish the best for all parties involved.” So basically the black male community of musicians has taken a hands-off approach to Chris Brown.

            To be fair to these artists, most men in the public eye have taken a hands-off approach to Brown, with the exception of Roland Martin, who had a panel of Black males talking about this on CNN, though no musicians. Michael Baisden and Warren Ballentine has always spoken about domestic violence so this wasn’t new for him. Overall though, if there were no females in the media like Oprah, Ellen, and Campbell Brown, I fear that this story would no longer be in the news. My main issue is personal for me because I have spent time and money listening to many of these artists. While I was proud to see many of them get involved in politics for the first time with Hurricane Katrina and then the election, there was no real risk in supporting President Obama. Taking a hard stand against domestic violence can indeed be career-ending.

            Black male musicians for the most part have yet to demonstrate the ability to take a prolonged stand on serious political and community issues. The Rihanna-Brown situation is a classic opportunity for these artists to step up to the plate and they are not evening picking up the bat. As we continue to follow this story, all of us who have been fans of many of these artists (including myself), should really become more mindful of who we listen to, particularly if we work with or have kids. With serious issues like domestic violence occurring and no one taking a stand, we can no longer have the philosophy that we can listen to whomever because “it’s just entertainment.” For me, it’s a matter of life and death.

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Chris Brown Beats Up Rihanna? So What?

February 20, 2009

The media is still buzzing over the assault of R&B singer Chris Brown on Rihanna. I do not have to say “alleged” assault because he already apologized for what transpired. My thoughts and prayers immediately went out to Rihanna and all of her family who have to experience this directly. My prayers also go out to Chris Brown because anyone who could engage in an attack such as he did truly needs help. After my prayers are done, however, my thoughts immediately turned to accountability and how Chris Brown will most likely have little to no accountability for his actions. I speak using recent history as my judge. If the examples of Lil’ Kim, Michael Vick, and Martha Stewart are my guides, Chris Brown will be back on top of the world in little time.

I’m no psychic, but this is what I envision will happen. Chris Brown will find Jesus. He will lose a few more endorsements. There will be a trial and he will get off. Actually, if he really wants street cred, he will go to jail. He’ll do the talk show circuit, a reality show, write a book, and move on and this will soon be a memory. That’s just how it is in America today when you have talent and you live in a society that still fundamentally hates women. I believe in forgiveness but I also believe in true come-up-ins and real accountability. Let’s look at history.

Lil’ Kim was convicted of a crime and before she went to jail, there was a reality show about her final days which received very high ratings. She’s back out and it’s as if she is more popular for being incarcerated. She did not lose a record deal or have her music banned. Martha Stewart also spent time in the big house for perjury and her product sales soared. Michael Vick was convicted of running a dog fighting circuit but luckily for him, he is still young. There is no doubt in my mind that he will play again in the NFL because he has talent. If you can entertain, you will be OK in this society because there are no real penalties for breaking the law. If you don’t believe the examples I just sighted, how many rappers openly rhyme about selling drugs in their music? How many have been incarcerated because of it? Like Jay-Z said:

I do this in my sleep

I sold kilos of coke

I’m guessing I can sell CDs

Why is it that celebrities are not dropped from record labels or TV deals and contracts for committing the most heinous crimes? Reverend Al Sharpton once tried to have a 3-month radio ban from artists who are convicted of a crime and folks pretty much ran him out of town. Currently, if you get convicted, you seem to get more play as if you died and were being given a tribute. The radio hosts will introduce each song with a “hold ya head up” and it’s all good. Ask yourself this question: why is it that celebrities can generally lose contracts with their companies or get fined for not showing up to a game, poor sales or poor conditioning, but not be dropped for physical and sexual assault, robbery, drug possession, or kidnapping? The answer to this question gets to the root of our money, talent, and influence but no morality rules in this society. Is this what we want our kids to see?

Back to the misogyny. If you go online now, you will find that many people are actually blaming Rihanna for the attack saying that she gave Brown an STD or some other reason. This is an argument that people are actually entertaining. Should we be surprised? We name shirts after abusive husbands—wifebeaters. I’ve actually heard department store employees (male & female) refer to A-shirts with that term. We treat women in the media as sex objects, many of our TV shows are actually soft porn, and most female rappers today have to sell sex to get signed. The days of Queen Latifah and Lauryn Hill are long gone.

Now I know women have made a great deal of progress over the last century, but I believe that it in spite of the values we place on this society, not because of them. The venom spewed at Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin proved that hands down. It is my hope that this recent incantation of misogyny can lead us towards a productive dialogue on domestic violence. I hope Chris Brown gets the help he needs and the punishment he deserves. I hope Rihanna will not be silent on this issue because many of her fans experiencing the same thing will continue to stay silent and blame themselves until they are killed. Most importantly for me, however, is the hope that we will really take a look at how we value each other in this society. Our kids are watching us just like Chris Brown watched his abusive father beat his mother as a child. We cannot let another generation become maligned with the massive media messages of misogyny. Let’s heal ourselves.