I’ve never liked Chris Brown. Unlike my friends who listen to pop radio and know the differences between Yung Joc, Yung Berg and Young Jeezy, I’m not the hippest chick. I’m no snob – in fact, I jammed out to this in front of an entire used-car dealership yesterday – but I’m chronically behind the times when it comes to traditional pop music (I unironically scan the radio daily dying to hear “Party in the U.S.A.”). But I never fell into the Chris Brown trap.
Of course, once news broke that Brown abused then-girlfriend Rihanna early last year, I was glad Brown hadn’t popped and locked his way into my heart, even though my Arts Journalism Sensei always said to trust the art, not the artist.
This all seems like old news, yes? Well, it was. I loved that period in mid-2009 when Brown was keeping his silence and plotting his return, disgraced by his Ike Turner streak. But Brown is back.
I don’t read USA Today, so when I need to take the nation’s temperature I skip straight to Twitter. I logged on today to discover that #FOLLOWCHRISBROWN had snaked its way into the top Trending Topics. I clicked onto Brown’s profile to discover that not only is he encouraging his fans to keep his name relevant in the Twitterverse, he’s seeking redemption and forgiveness from hip-hop godfather Russell Simmons.
I’m not even going to vent my frustration with Brown. I don’t know him, or Rihanna, and I certainly wasn’t there for whatever violence he inflicted on her. Brown seems to have taken responsibility for his actions and really, what more can he do? I’m not big on second chances, though I’ve given plenty for crimes far lesser than domestic violence, but his only real option is reform. He certainly can’t undo the awful thing he did.
However, I can and do take issue with the people, particularly the women, who have forgiven him. Plenty of people of both sexes were devoted enough to restoring Brown’s good name that they banded together via Twitter to encourage their fellow tweeps to follow him.
Why are people forgiving Brown? Why are SIX TIMES more women than men, according to a Vanity Fair/”60 Minutes” poll, willing to forgive Brown? Not only are the details of what he did to Rihanna available for the world to read, an image of the aftermath is available as well (I’m too disgusted by the photo to link to it).
First of all, to take a quote from the love of my life, “I don’t like people to share anything with me that isn’t that isn’t explicitly necessary for the situation.” This fact, while certainly confusing or hypocritical for someone who has a blog and is on Twitter, makes me angry with Brown fans (or Brownies, as I’ll now refer to them, with my apologies to the Girl Scouts of USA and its cookie slingers). Brownies bother me because I didn’t choose to see the Trending Topics; they were a byproduct of logging onto my personal Twitter page. That’s a side effect of having a Twitter profile. What bothers me is that these people are trying to tell me that my feelings on Brown are wrong and that I should set them aside and forgive a man for savagely beating his girlfriend a mere 13 months ago.
As a token, I’m surrounded by people who don’t look like me but want to tell me how I should feel or react to things. If these people weren’t lobbing racial slurs in front of me, they were telling me to brush it off or forgive their friends for making bigoted comments. I’m not comparing racism to domestic abuse because that’s stupid and pointless, but I will say the point is shared: I don’t think I should be allowed to tell Rihanna or any other domestic violence victim whether he or she should forgive their abuser. Likewise, I don’t think the Brownies should be telling me or anyone else to forgive someone for such an awful act, especially when the actual victim isn’t exactly feeling hunky dory about the whole situation.
I’m tired of people who have never experienced and will never be victimized by something getting to decide how others should feel about it. Just as how NO ONE in Congress – no Democrat, Republican, Socialist or Independent – will ever personally face the effects of health care legislation, and no straight person can tell a gay person whether to be offended by a word I won’t type, I don’t think the Brownies should tell me to forgive their feckless leader.
Also, I find it quite disturbing that many of the Brownies are so young. I know I can’t draw any huge conclusions about my generation’s attitudes toward domestic violence from this one incident, but I’m not exactly bragging about our actions. Using results from a recent Pew Research Center study, I’m going to infer that most Brownie tweeps are about 31 years old. An article in the Chicago Tribune states that a lot of teens also absolve Brown and actually blame Rihanna.
These findings taken together cause me substantial concern and make me wonder if Millenial women are experiencing domestic violence Stockholm Syndrome. I don’t have a concrete answer, and even if I did, I’d doubt it was appropriate to share. I’m too closed off to be in any relationship, let alone one volatile enough to be abusive (and trust me, I’m not bragging or suggesting that women should be more emotionally frigid to prevent against domestic violence). I’m just suggesting that maybe the Brownies shouldn’t be so intent on converting those of us who are left conflicted or unconvinced by the “new” Chris Brown.
And as for that Trending Topic: You know what, Brownies? I’ll follow Brown on Twitter once Rihanna does.