Monday, November 9, 2009

Good day everyone!

What a gorgeous autumn day! Get out and enjoy it if you can!

So, this is my last rant on the whole Rihanna/Chris Brown saga. I was prepared to never talk about it again, but the jockeys on the radio were discussing it this morning and it made me hot all over again.

One of the radio personalities, Cipha Sounds, said that he believes Rihanna only spoke out to sell albums and that she must have done something to deserve what happened to her.

Now, I watched the full 20/20 Rihanna interview on Friday night. If you missed it, here is some more of her talk with Diane Sawyer.

Now, none of us were in that car with them. All we can go on is Rihanna and Chris' account of what happened. But, far as I know, he hasn't disputed any of what she said in the interview. He plead guilty to the charges and his been given a sentence. He has apologized over and over again for beating her, and she claims she is no longer with him. That's what we know.

But what I DON'T know is why our first instinct is to blame the victim. I'm not saying we ALL do it, or did it. But this morning, nothing but women...and women of color it seemed...called in IN DEFENSE of Chris Brown. Some said that men don't just do that for no reason. Some said that the "caribbean culture" dictates that Rihanna must have done something to him, because caribbean women "talk back" and "start stuff." One Jamaican woman went on a rant and said that even though Chris Brown was wrong for hitting her, she had to have done something.

That simply baffles me.

Rihanna admitted to arguing with him. She said it was a verbal altercation and that she never hit him. Whether we choose to believe her or not is our choice. However, short of her pulling out a knife or a gun on him, what could possibly have gone on in that car that warrants him using her face as a punching bag?! It's not like he was defending himself or fighting for his life. He was beating her in a car, pushing her face up against a window and BITING her.

What could she have said that warrants that? I don't care if she called him a "little d*ck muphucka" and cursed his mama - does ANYONE deserve a beating like that? Yes, there are woman out there who are violent and who hit men. They provoke arguments and raise up and break fool on people from time to time. But statistically, the majority of women who suffer from domestic abuse are NOT violent and DO NOT provoke altercations. Quite the opposite.

The beatdown aside, I think what troubles me most about domestic abuse in general, and this case in particular, is our instinct to blame the victim. Are we so programmed in this society to value a woman's life or her well-being LESS that we automatically make it HER fault? Why do we, especially women of color, come to the defense of the abuser, and not the abused? We call these women names and make accusations based on our own issues - like she must be stupid, or she has an attitude, or she's trying to sell records, or she's trying to ruin his career.

When watching that interview, I got the sense that she didn't really want to be there. She seemed confused. I could tell that she still held feelings for him. She seemed painfully honest, but still a bit overwhelmed by it all...but like she was trying to maintain as much control as she could muster. I think she sounded like a brave woman who admitted to loving a man who beat her, who was embarrassed by it all, and whose heart hasn't quite caught up with her head yet.

Some said she sounded stupid.

But to me, she sounded like a woman who was asked to do an interview so she can get it over with. Like a woman who still loves the man who beat her, but who she knows is wrong for her. Like a woman who feels the need to speak to young girls, even though she's still a young girl herself trying to figure out what happened.

Perhaps she should have waited until she was stronger and more sure of her feelings before she gave the interview. If anything, criticize her for THAT. But with a cd coming out soon, she and her team may have felt that in order for her to get back to her life and the business of making music, doing the interview would get all the questions that the media undoubtably has out of the way so that she COULD promote her album.

If you ask me, I think Rihanna would've preferred to NEVER talk about put it behind her forever. But when you're a celebrity and in the public eye as much as the two of them are, it's impossible for the incident to just "go away." People would hound her until she had no choice but to talk about it, so she chose to do it her way. No YouTube, no Oprah (cuz that interview may have been VERY different had Oprah done it) and no crazy Larry King. Hopefully, now we can allow her to get back to her life and performing. Maybe now she can get back to being defined by her music, and not as a victim.

Sure, we don't know what happened...we weren't there. But what we DO know hasn't been disputed. What we DO know is that a woman was beaten. What we DO know is that this was the face she was left with at the hands of Chris Brown.

What else do we need to know?



Anonymous said...

first bitches!! Yea Boi

Anonymous said...

Please don't taser me Annamarie

Annamaria said...

Stephanie is getting tased twice...Once for being first and the second time for calling me Annamarie...LMAO

I'm sick of RhiRhi and the whole situation... SO I ain't even going to comment..LOL although there is something in my gut that bothers me about this interview...she seemed uncomfortable but it wasn't that.... I'm not going to say she wasn't genuine BUT there was something going on in there

Anonymous said...

You know Brooke i think you are right. There is no reason to beat a women especially if you have been caught in a lie. Be a man and own up to your mistake. I don't think she sounded stupid at all. I thought they both agreed to not talk about this after they went to court. What I find messed up is don't they both have albums or singles dropping at or around the same time? Since they both have albums dropping I guess they BOTH need to drum up extra publicity.Hopefully they will BOTH learn from this mistake and move on to have productive lives and careers. By the way I've just read your Good enough Blog. I've been sick and fell off a little. It was great. Kudos to all the men who responded with an HONESTY that is lacking for both men and women today. Good work and response by ALL. Sorry Annamaria

Stef said...

I watched the interview too and I don't think she sounded stupid. She did seem uncomfortable, but I'd be uncomfortable too if my face was beaten and then plastered all over the news. I'd feel some kinda way if the man I fell in love with beat me too. And at 20 yers old, I can't say I'd handle it any differently or would know better.

I think too many women pass judgement and say she's stupid because she handled things differently than WE would. But alot of times women make excuse for men who DON'T beat their ass and who are just no good summabitches. There isn't a woman on here who hasn't fallen in love with the wrong guy at some point in our lives or who have gone back or stayed longer than we should have. I commend Rihanna on telling her story and being brave enough to face the ignorant questions about what "she" probably did to deserve this.

Her interview felt like real talk to me, even thouhg you could tell it hurt her to tell it. And I agree Brooke, too many women are quick to pass judgement and criticize rather than help uplift each other. And its sickening.

Midnight said...

I loved the interview and once again there is nothing that warrants what happened to her. I don't care if it was to sell albums or bean pies, she was beaten PERIOD! Im sorry but so many of us colored folks want to make excuses about a serious problem in our community and this is the biggest example to date since Ike and Tina. We can all have our opinion about it but he has admmited it happened so its not like she is making this up. I salute her for the fact that she said she couldn't go back to him because of the message it sends to other young women out here. I for one am not tired of hearing about it, this issue is not disscussed enough. No, people rather continuously go on and on about rap beef and housewives or some other bullshit. I think people need to stop getting their panties in a bunch and see this issue for what it is. Its bigger than the both of the people involved.....much bigger.

Brooke said...

Stephanie, glad you're back and feeling better! And thanks for your comments about Friday's blog - that was a great discussion! The men were bringing it!

As for them talking about it, this happened in February I believe, right after the Grammys. Rihanna has stayed quiet about it and I don't really think she wanted to talk about it now. If she could successfully promote her album without having to face the questions about what happened that night, then I think she would gladly have kept her story to herself. But we all know that's impossible. She had to talk about it eventually because as long as she's quiet, the questions will never stop. Now that she got it all out, now she can go about promoting her album.

And not for nothing, she probably was still dealing with him this whole time, or trying to figure it out. We could question the timing of the interview, but that's not really my issue.

My issue is with people saying it was HER fault for getting beaten. Even after hearing her say she didn't hit him, people are calling her a liar - the SAME people who say "we weren't there." Well if we weren't there, why couldn't she be telling the TRUTH? That logic works both ways you know. It's just that we CHOOSE to believe it was HER fault for some reason, and that's the issue I have.

And yes, while we may be tired of talking about Rihanna and Chris Brown, this issue isn't just about them - they just happen to be the face of domestic abuse right now. But this happens everyday to young men and women all over the world - not just to them. This isn't about them as celebrities - this is about them as YOUNG PEOPLE who have seen this type of abuse growing up and are suffering its consequences now. I'm not talking about them because they're celebrities, I'm talking about them because they're PEOPLE who HAPPEN TO BE celebrities and who didn't escape this because they're famous. Victims get blamed alot more than we think - not just Rihanna, and I'm just curious as to why we automatically assume that victims deserve what they got.

Brooke said...

Midnight, you and I agree - if we took the name Rihanna and Breezy off this topic - would it be less relevant?

Stef said...

Well said Midnight, totally agree.

Rameer said...

Brooke-Ra - you already know how I feel about this subject, and I echo your words completely.

Here's MY thing - people are SO willing to throw the "we weren't in the car" defense out there, but no one wants to look at the fact that Brown CORROBORATED Rihanna's version of events. That gets ignored, because people would rather think there's something to say about HER - she's not real; she's Caribbean and you "know how they are" (really? that justifies a beatdown??); she just needs to promote an album.

In dealing with entertainment and news as long as I have, I think your assessment of her HAVING to do it to move on with her career is astute and correct. What disturbs me is the mindset of people who will go to whatever lengths to defend anyone who provides them good entertainment in the face of WHATEVER the evidence is. Don't get it twisted. I WORK in the media. I am very careful to find out evidence before damning someone. But once the evidence is OUT, a spade is a spade most times. It IS what it IS.

The boy ADMITTED it. It's public record. He plea bargained off of her words and his own damning admission. Why do we always want to ignore things for what they are? Robert Kelly is a pedophile who has been caught multiple times and has video of him peeing on little girls. Yet people blame the main girl in the video!

A young Black girl was raped after a party recently at her school...yet some people ask "well, what was she doing hanging with those boys?" WHAT? hanging with male peers dictates you should be RAPED???

Rihanna caught her boyfriend in a lie after seeing suggestive text messages from a chick (I even know who the chick was, which WASN'T reported) and verbally confronted her boyfriend about it. She CAUSED her ass-whooping?? Really?

How come everyone ignores the fact that Brown had no injuries or marks on his person? Hmm?

I'm sick of the story too. But I'm mostly sick of this story being a microcosm for how little value the well-being of Black females has. Tina Turner had tons of people in her inner circle who knew about her ass-whoopings at the hand of Ike. Even her own mother.

No one ever did ANYTHING. She had to walk away herself. Think about that...even THE LABEL knew about it.

Rihanna can't win with some of the world. If she stays in the house, she's weak. IF she goes on with life and is seen partying, it wasn't that bad. If she speaks up, it's all planned publicity. If she doesn't, she's not setting a good example.

How about we stop aiming our sights on the victim, and give the ASSAILANT the due focus he deserves. That of a bigger (I've met dude - he's like 6"2' or close to it), STRONGER dude with admitted anger issues who, from all indications, had hit her BEFORE.

Maybe I'm sensitive to this cuz I have a baby sister. Or maybe it's cuz I KNOW women who have been killed at the hands of men, and were blamed when they were hit. And people didn't look at things correctly until they were DEAD.

This situation makes me sick to my stomach at the nature of people.

Annamaria said...

Actually I think if we took Chris & Rhi Rhi's name out of it more people would talk about it..AND the fucked up part about it would be that more people would probably sympathize with the victim...It's a totally different ballgame when its regular

I forgive you Stephanie...LOL

Jaz said...

That makes perfect sense to me that she would NEED to do this interview. I can't imagine her going on GMA or Today or 106th & Park without SOMEONE asking her about the incident. She'd have to talk about it eventually, so it might as well be on her own terms. I don't work in media, but Brooke and Rameer's assessment makes sense and I guess I never thought of it that way.

As for getting tired of it, I don't get tired of hearing about it. Anything that can lend a voice to domestic abuse, I'm all for it. I've been hit by a boyfriend before, and I didn't hit him first or "raise up" on him. He just lost it one day. And sadly enough, I didn't leave right away because I thought it was an isolated incident and that he was sorry and would never do it again. It wasn't until he hit me the second time months later that I realized he had a problem...and his problem wasn't me. But I can see why she'd want to keep it a secret, because you don't want anyone to think you made an error in judgement on someone's character.

It's easy to say that something would never happen to you, but you never know. How you deal with it is what matters, and what you learn from it. I learned that no one has the right to put their hands on me unless its in self defense. If I respect you, then you respect me. Period.

Thanks Brooke for the blog, and if anyone is tired of hearing about it, they can ignore today's blog and tune in tomorrow.

Stef said...

I have to disagree about the part where you say if we took their names out of it, we'd talk about it more. I don't recall having continuous conversations about domestic abuse in a long time. Unfortunately, it's not until it happens to a celebrity that it brings the issue back to the forefront. It shouldn't be that way, but it just goes to show that this can happen to ANYONE - young, old, rich OR poor. It happened to Tina Turner, it happened to Halle Berry and it happened to Rihanna. They won't be the first, and won't be the last, but if they can use their celebrity to bring awareness, then I don't have a problem with it.

Brooke said...

Jaz, I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you. I think it happens WAY more than we realize.

I think people have their own ideas about the types of people who are affected by this. We think of poor women, or women of color, or uneducated women, or women with kids who have to stay for the sake of their children. We think weak. But Rihanna isn't any of those things. She's young, beautiful, talented, rich, famous with no kids. There's no reason why she should stay - but she did. This just goes to show that not all cases are the same, and not all women (and men) are in the same circumstances when it comes to domestic violence. Both of them seemed to have the world at their feet, yet this happened to them. Being rich or famous doesn't exclude you. If anything, I think it's a wake-up call to see that if it can happen to her, it really can happen to anyone.

Jay said...

Brooke, I heard that nonsense on the radio this morning too, and I totally feel you on why do we blame the victim? That Jamaican woman that called up sounded straight stupid. "Bein an island gal, I KNOW she had sum TING to do wit it." It was pure ignorance.

Like Rameer said, the evidence is right there. He admitted it and didn't dispute her account of what happened. And even if he DID, look at the photo - that's all you need to see. He beat her like she was a man, and any man that can raise up on a woman like that needs to have his ass beat - BY ANOTHER MAN - and see what it feels like. It's the epitome of bitchassness, and no one deserves what she got.

Good blog Brooke.

Rameer said...

Jaz - thank you for sharing your experience...I'm sorry that you and so many have had to go through that. It's reprehensible and disgusting to me whenever I hear that a man has placed hands upon a woman simply due to anger. Self-defense is the only acceptable reason to touch a woman - and let's be real, that RARELY occurs in most cases.

Stef - there was a famous case that had the nation talking for a while where a guy beat his wife and his kids videotape it. I think it all depends on what the media tends to focus on - which is unfortunate, cuz the media tends to focus on celebrities and sensationalism. But there have been some cases, like the aforementioned one, where it did grab the eye of the nation.

If this situation can bring light to domestic abuse and help even one young woman out there, then I'm all for the national dialogue on it continuing.

Brooke said...

I remember that case Rameer - it was on Oprah, and I think it was a 2-day deal on Oprah. That was crazy! It's something that happens everyday, but we don't discuss it as often as we could.

I think I wrote in a previous blog, the one about the woman and the homeless shelter, that there are more ANIMAL shelters than shelters for women and children who suffer from domestic violence. That fact alone shows that we're not talking about it enough.

Rameer said...

Yeah, I think "20/20" broke the story, then Oprah grabbed it, then it was all over everywhere for about a month or so. "20/20" even revisited it months later, which I give them credit for doing.

Abuse just doesn't get taken seriously. I remember growing up, in my neighborhood, no one in the neighborhood would've been able to find out a woman or child was being abused - our whole hood would intervene. Now, you can WATCH someone in broad daylight get abused, and people are like "I don't know them - it ain't MY business."

It just isn't taken seriously enough. Look at the case in Cleveland - the guy was abusing, kidnapping, raping and KILLING women for four years. Numerous warnings and complaints to the police, and they did NOTHING.

This subject matter honestly upsets me to no end.

Yolanda said...

I just wish we could all move on from this whole thing. Sadly, those two will ALWAYS have that incident attached to their names.

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