The media is still buzzing over the assault of R & B singer Chris Brown on Rihanna. I do not have to say “alleged” assault because he already apologized for what transpired. My thoughts and prayers immediately went out to Rihanna and all of her family who have to experience this directly. My prayers also go out to Chris Brown because anyone who could engage in an attack such as he did truly needs help. After my prayers are done, however, my thoughts immediately turned to accountability and how Chris Brown will most likely have little to no accountability for his actions. I speak using recent history as my judge.
If the examples of Lil’ Kim, Michael Vick, and Martha Stewart are my guides, Chris Brown will be back on top of the world in little time.I’m no psychic, but this is what I envision will happen. Chris Brown will find Jesus. He will lose a few more endorsements. There will be a trial and he will get off. Actually, if he really wants street cred, he will
to jail. He’ll do the talk show circuit, a reality show, write a book, and move on and this will soon be a memory. That’s just how it is in America today when you have talent and you live in a society that still fundamentally hates women. I believe in forgiveness but I also believe in true come-up-ins and real accountability. Let’s look at history.
Lil’ Kim was convicted of a crime and before she went to jail, there was a reality show about her final days which received very high ratings. She’s back out and it’s as if she is more popular for being incarcerated. She did not lose a record deal or have her music banned. Martha Stewart also spent time in the big house for perjury and her product sales soared. Michael Vick was convicted of running a dog fighting circuit but luckily for him, he is still young. There is no doubt in my mind that he will play again in the NFL because he has talent. If you can entertain, you will be OK in this society because there are no real penalties for breaking the law. If you don’t believe the examples I just sighted, how many rappers openly rhyme about selling drugs in their music? How many have been incarcerated because of it? Like Jay-Z said:
I do this in my sleep
I sold kilos of coke
I’m guessing I can sell CDs
Why is it that celebrities are not dropped from record labels or TV deals and contracts for committing the most heinous crimes? Reverend Al Sharpton once tried to have a 3-month radio ban from artists who are convicted of a crime and folks pretty much ran him out of town. Currently, if you get convicted, you seem to get
play as if you died and were being given a tribute. The radio hosts will introduce each song with a “hold ya head up” and it’s all good. Ask yourself this question: why is it that celebrities can generally lose contracts with their companies or get fined for not showing up to a game, poor sales or poor conditioning, but not be dropped for physical and sexual assault, robbery, drug possession, or kidnapping? The answer to this question gets to the root of our money, talent, and influence but no morality rules in this society. Is this what we want our kids to see?
Back to the misogyny. If you go online now, you will find that many people are actually blaming Rihanna for the attack saying that she gave Brown an STD or some other reason. This is an argument that people are actually entertaining. Should we be surprised? We name shirts after abusive husbands — wifebeaters. I’ve actually heard department store employees (male and female) refer to A-shirts with that term. We treat women in the media as sex objects, many of our TV shows are actually soft porn, and most female rappers today have to sell sex to get signed. The days of Queen Latifah and Lauryn Hill are long gone.
Now I know women have made a great deal of progress over the last century, but I believe that it in spite of the values we place on this society, not because of them. The venom spewed at Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin proved that hands down. It is my hope that this recent incantation of misogyny can lead us towards a productive dialogue on domestic violence. I hope Chris Brown gets the help he needs and the punishment he deserves. I hope Rihanna will not be silent on this issue because many of her fans experiencing the same thing will continue to stay silent and blame themselves until they are killed. Most importantly for me, however, is the hope that we will really take a look at how we value each other in this society. Our kids are watching us just like Chris Brown watched his abusive father beat his mother as a child. We cannot let another generation become maligned with the massive media messages of misogyny. Let’s heal ourselves.