Black Male Musicians: Cowards on the Chris Brown/Rihanna Drama

All over television and radio, I hear and see female celebrities from Oprah and Tyra Banks to Robin Givens and Free expressing either support for Rihanna or at least warning her of the potential danger of staying with Chris Brown. It has indeed been quite impressive to see people like Oprah and Tyra sharing the stage and talking to young people about domestic violence, particularly since the media often speaks of those two as being competitors. If this was indeed the case, they’ve come together for an important cause. While women, particularly Black female entertainers have stood up for Rihanna, the unequivocal support of Chris Brown from Black male musicians has been downright disgraceful and cowardly.

From P. Diddy and Akon to Usher and Suge Knight, Black male musicians have either showed 1000% (no typo) support for Brown, or have backtracked on any critiques they may have given to Brown’s post alleged assault activities. Said Suge Knight:

Chris Brown is a lil’ homie–I got more love for Chris Brown than anybody. One of the things Chris Brown did before at the time my daughter was turning 14 years old, it was her birthday, and they were having a concert. He put her on stage, sang happy birthday, he didn’t have to, showed a lot of respect and I respect him for that. So therefore,
I’ma ride with him a thousand percent on whatever it is, period.

Hey Suge, he didn’t have to nearly kill Rihanna either! Maybe this isn’t a surprise for someone who just pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery against his girlfriend in February. As long as you sing to Suge Knight’s daughter, you can go ahead and allegedly nearly kill someone.

Snoop Dogg offered to have Brown and Rihanna on his variety show
“Dogg After Dark” to talk about their relationship. In a great gesture towards healing their situation, he jokingly offered to also have Dr. Phil


Dr. Dre on his show to talk about it. Singer
Akon said he would “absolutely” work with Brown
because he doesn’t mix business with personal lives. He could have at least said he would work with him


he got help but not even that. P
. Diddy offered his home for them to come work it out
, when the most important thing they need right now is distance. They both threw out the obligatory “no one should hit women” but after that, it’s just business as usual. It’s sad when people who haven’t demonstrated high regard for women themselves throughout their career now know what’s best for Rihanana.

Singer Usher has also proven to be most disappointing on this case. Usher criticized Chris Brown for going out on a jet ski while at Diddy’s house with Rihanna. Miraculously, Usher later apologized for criticizing Brown!
Usher stated that he apologized
“if anyone was offended. The intentions were not to pass judgment and we meant no harm. I respect and wish the best for all parties involved.” So basically the black male community of musicians has taken a hands-off approach to Chris Brown.

To be fair to these artists, most men in the public eye have taken a hands-off approach to Brown, with the exception of Roland Martin, who had a panel of Black males talking about this on CNN, though no musicians.
Michael Baisden
Warren Ballentine
has always spoken about domestic violence so this wasn’t new for him. Overall though, if there were no females in the media like Oprah, Ellen, and Campbell Brown, I fear that this story would no longer be in the news. My main issue is personal for me because I have spent time and money listening to many of these artists. While I was proud to see many of them get involved in politics for the first time with Hurricane Katrina and then the election, there was no real risk in supporting President Obama. Taking a hard stand against domestic violence can indeed be career-ending.

Black male musicians for the most part have yet to demonstrate the ability to take a prolonged stand on serious political and community issues. The Rihanna-Brown situation is a classic opportunity for these artists to step up to the plate and they are not evening picking up the bat. As we continue to follow this story, all of us who have been fans of many of these artists (including myself), should really become more mindful of who we listen to, particularly if we work with or have kids. With serious issues like domestic violence occurring and no one taking a stand, we can no longer have the philosophy that we can listen to whomever because “it’s just entertainment.” For me, it’s a matter of life and death.

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