|How Do You Solve a Problem Like Chris Brown?|
"DEAR MEDIA.. Ur plan is not working.. I'm not going anywhere so get used to me," Chris Brown warned in a twitter rampage that was later deleted. In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet. Honestly, which media is he addressing? The one who let him perform multiple times at the Grammys only three years after he assaulted his girlfriend so severely she was hospitalized? The media that sent him home with an award? The media that allowed his newest record to hit #1 on the Billboard chart, touting him as some great comeback story? The media that had him dressed in all white, soaring through the air as a Christ-figure during the 2011 VMAs?
On Monday morning Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, which gives out the Grammys, defended the decision to allow Brown to perform because he made a popular album. “Clearly, our voting membership rated highly Chris’s musical work this past year,” Mr. Portnow told The Associated Press. "If we're going to get in trying to personally evaluate artists in terms of their personal lives, that's a slippery slope that we wouldn't want to get into." But when the popular artist in question has a felony assault conviction, I can't help but feel like the Recording Academy values record sales and revenue over the message they're sending.
I don't know what's more depressing: the latest rumors that Rihanna and Chris Brown have reconciled or the public's reaction to these rumors. Right now it's unconfirmed gossip, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to have elements of truth. And if you know anything about the tragic cycle of abuse, you shouldn't be either. Rihanna is a talented young woman and the victim of a really awful crime, but we have to remember she never asked to be the poster girl for domestic violence. She is not the first person to ever go back to an abusive partner. Does that make it okay? Of course not. Does it devalue her in any way? No.
But in a society that seems to want to forgive and forget what happened three years ago, is this recent development that shocking? Chris Brown raises some interesting questions regarding the infallibility of celebrity in our nation. Personally, I could never support him as an artist after what he's done (not that I was even remotely a fan to begin with), but it seems like that's not how the majority feels. Should the Recording Academy, Billboard, MTV and other tastemakers blacklist him (or any celebrity who is found guilty of an especially heinous crime)? Is it really that slippery of a slope?
Image source Press Association Images
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