Why We Should Ignore Chris Brown and Rihanna

Ebony magazine blogger Akiba Solomon writes a scathing rebuke of Chris Brown and Rihanna for making a mockery of domestic violence with the release of their musical collaborations. She says that fans should ignore the attention seekers.

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Rihanna and Chris Brown (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

In a blog entry at Ebony, Akiba Solomon excoriates Chris Brown and Rihanna for making a mockery of domestic violence with the release of their musical collaborations. While they both display common traits of abuse victims and abusers, she says that fans should ignore their moneymaking and attention-seeking antics.

... And besides, their fame dragged us into this mess, right? With two or three clicks, we can replay their sad relationship via a detailed police account of the 2009 pre-Grammy beating he gave her, images of her pummeled face, and reports of their stutter-step attempts at healing. For every act of contrition and legal compliance, we have evidence of Brown acting a fool backstage at Good Morning America and on Twitter. (See his tangles with Frank Ocean and, most recently, WWE wrestler CM Punk.)

Now, a little more than a week after Brown’s return to the Grammys, we have Rihanna lending lovey dovey language to the remix of his “Turn Up the Music,” and his slackness-lite contribution to her celebration of sexual dominance, “Birthday Cake.”For me, these remixes have made them ineligible for Cautionary Tale status. Well-meaning adults and critics can no longer use them as an entry point to discuss the everyday realities of domestic violence with “the youth” because Brown, Rihanna and the people who profit from their lives have complicated the script. I believe they’ve done this on purpose but even if they weren’t that calculated it’s past time for us to figure out engaging ways to talk to our children and young adults about the unglamorous, un-Grammied consequences of intimate partner abuse that don’t include these two.

It’s true that Chris Brown and Rihanna display common traits of abuse victims and abusers and their relationship recidivism is textbook behavior. But they’re also a wily pair who can deploy their talent, popularity, consumer products, fans and critics to recreate their personal roles and escape from the realities that most folks can’t. In other words, they’re using us. Now, perhaps the healthiest thing we can do is to deprive them of the attention they so desperately need and move on.

Read Akiba Solomon's entire blog entry at Ebony.

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