by Nsenga Burton
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Well, well, well. America's sugary pop star couple — a match made in publicity heaven — Chris Brown and Rihanna (the one-named wonder) are exposed. The young stars on the cusp of music royalty, both teenage heartthrobs in their own right, are now embroiled in one of the most publicized cases of domestic violence ever seen.
Although I have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to domestic violence, I tried to refrain from commenting about the case because a.) everyone and his momma is covering it, b.) the story changes every millisecond, and c.) just when you think it can't get any worse, it somehow manages to do just that. One thing is for sure: The plot continues to thicken as Rihanna's folks have started leaking info (this is not the first time that he has hit her) and Chris Brown used Facebook to, ironically, save face (which was later proven to be a false post).
I find it interesting listening to people justify when it's alright to beat someone. It has been reported that Brown beat her because Rihanna gave him herpes ... allegedly. Even if she did, does that give him the right to beat her down? After all, it was he who chose to lie down with her, so why be mad when he came up with fleas or disease or anything else for that matter?
Some have speculated that the awesome twosome actually broke up weeks ago, but were trying to maintain a "public" relationship because of their scheduled Grammy performance. Depending on which "publication" you read, she got mad and popped him because some girl was text messaging him or he got mad because she was flirting with some guy at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party. Whatever happened, violence was the end result with Rihanna being beaten, bruised and bitten.
Before I move on to my next point, biting someone is punk sh#t. Yes I said it, and I mean it.
Hitting a woman, even when the woman is stupid enough to hit you is dumb. Why? Because as 19-year-old Chris Brown is learning, you will go to jail. If you can't wrap your tiny mind around non-violence as a philosophy or the fact that you should only touch people in what is clearly defined as "lovingly" or "playfully," then be prepared to concentrate on not dropping the soap.
Chris Brown is just the type to go into the joint and come out with his shirt in a knot. Why? He's young, good-looking, wealthy and obviously thinks he's a tough guy. Let's see how tough he is surviving in the joint. But even though this case is tragic because domestic violence is tragic, what I find most interesting is the amount of attention this case is receiving.
Chris Brown has gone from facing a possible domestic violence charge to making criminal threats, which carries more time than attempted murder. I'm all for throwing the book at batterers, but there is something not quite right about the zeal with which they are going after this brother. It seems as if you have to be a superstar celebrity like Rihanna in order for them to prosecute the case to the fullest. The police don't seem to go after regular folks with the same zeal, and this is problematic.
The degree to which prosecutors decide to prosecute should not be determined by celebrity status. If Rihanna were a D-list celebrity, would Mr. Brown be facing possible attempted murder charges? Would we know about it? Would it be talked about all over the world? Probably not.
Just look at how many celebrities have gotten away with battering their spouses.
Vanilla Ice, Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots frontman), Scott Stapp, David Hasselhoff, Sean Penn, Jamal Woolard (star of Notorious), Don Cornelius, James Brown, Mike Tyson, Dennis Rodman, Warren Moon, Tommy Lee, Josh Brolin and the list goes on and on. Hell, Tyrese Gibson was accused of beating his pregnant girlfriend and no charges were filed. What's sad about it is that some of these people are celebrated with awards, honors and more success after they get arrested.
I find it interesting that the world is so pissed off with Chris Brown, but does not show the same amount of ire when other celebrities beat on women. I also find it interesting that a 19-year-old, who comes from a background of domestic abuse, is being held to a higher standard than men who are twice his age. Why is he being made the poster boy for domestic abuse? Why does this case require a level of prosecution that is unheard of when domestic disputes involve "Chris Nobody" and Rihanna without the record deal and cosmetics endorsement?
Something is terribly wrong here and on many levels. If indeed it is true that this is not the first time that Brown has hit Rihanna or that violence has been an integral part of their relationship, including on her part, why didn't anyone intervene before this? They are young, after all, and need guidance. The adults thought it better to "maintain" the façade of a "relationship" for publicity and are now surprised when it has blown up in their faces?
Why does it take two A-list celebrities to get authorities involved in prosecuting domestic violence cases to the fullest extent of the law? Everyone should be equally protected under the law regardless of the number of Grammy nominations that they receive. That is the true tragedy of this senseless crime.
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