Serena Elavia ’14
Recently, Rihanna unveiled a new single, “Birthday Cake,” that is catchy, fun and quite raunchy. When I first listened to the song, I heard what sounded like Chris Brown in certain parts. But given Rihanna’s tumultuous past with her ex-boyfriend, I simply ignored my thoughts, as I would have never expected Rihanna to collaborate with Brown.
Sadly, I was proved wrong just a few days later when Rihanna later admitted in an interview that she had been in contact with Brown and that the two had indeed worked on the song together. Like everyone else, I was shocked, confused and wondered what Rihanna was thinking. It was only in 2009 that Brown brutally assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna, leaving her with black eyes, bruises and a lifetime of emotional recovery.
Because of his celebrity status, Brown received a lighter punishment which entailed five years of probation and was ordered to stay 50 yards away from Rihanna at public events. For the last few years, the Rihanna/Chris Brown scandal was kept quiet, until last March on “Good Morning America.” When the topic of the assault surfaced during the interview, Brown stormed off the set, lost his temper in his dressing room and proceeded to throw a chair out the window. If this wasn’t enough to scare Rihanna, it sure scared me and anyone else standing outside of that window.
The real question now is why has Rihanna decided to lift her restraining order against Brown and work with him again? Rumors swirled earlier this week that the two may be romantically involved again, but is this the right path for Rihanna? It seems almost impossible that anyone could love someone in the same way after their partner assaulted them. While Brown may have undergone some type of therapy or treatment program, his psychotic Good Morning America appearance should have been a warning to Rihanna that her ex-boyfriend is still violent.
So if Rihanna didn’t take him back as a romantic partner, was this song the only reason for their interaction? There is certainly no shortage of artists, and it puzzles me that Rihanna could not find another person, among the hundreds, suitable for the role of back-up singer. Given that Rihanna is a highly successful artist, it would not be surprising if her reunion with Brown is a publicity stunt for both parties. If so, it is shameful that the two have capitalized on and profited from violence against women; I hope that this is not the reason.
Whatever Rihanna’s reason is, her choice to welcome Brown with open arms back into her life will have drastic consequences on her music, fan base and career. What Brown did was horrific, and women across the country saw Rihanna as a role model for her bravery to leave an abusive relationship and move on with her life. But what are young women supposed to think after Rihanna has indeed accepted Brown back into her life and practically excused his past crimes?
By collaborating on a song, Rihanna is rewarding a man, who previously beat her, with profits and additional fame. There is proof that Brown could lash out again, causing women to wonder why Rihanna would willingly put herself in harm’s way and back into the arms of an extremely violent man. There is a reason why domestic violence is a crime, and Chris Brown should be doing the time for it.