Rihanna loves to play the bad girl. From openly smoking weed in public to calling a deranged Beyonce stan a cunt on Twitter, Rihanna is pop’s perennial wild child. She’s too cool for school and too crazy to care, and that’s exactly what we love about her. Hell, she even called her latest fragrance Rebelle, which is more like a moniker for herself rather than a bottle of perfume.
At this point, Rihanna could virtually do anything and get away with it. But reuniting with Chris Brown to collaborate on “Birthday Cake”, and now possibly a “Turn Up The Music” remix? That’s not cool.
Before rumors of “Birthday Cake” began to surface online, Chris Brown was already making headlines for his performance at the Grammy Awards. There was a huge uproar over whether he should be allowed to perform at the show only three years after pulling an Ike Turner and beating the shit out of our beloved RiRi. Country superstar Miranda Lambert was one of the high-profile celebs to lash out at Breezy after his performance, tweeting “He beat on a girl … Not cool that we act like that didn’t happen.”.
Naturally, Chris responded with one of his usual ghetto Twitter rants, cursing up a storm about his haters and boasting about his Grammy win, which only went to further fuel what has now become a growing feud. Lambert has since retaliated by dedicating her hit single “Gunpowder and Lead” –which is about a woman who shoots her abusive boyfriend with a shotgun– to Brown during a recent concert, while waving around a sign that says “Take Notes Chris Brown“.
Personally, I was more upset about the fact that dance diva Breezy won a Grammy for Best R&B Album and performed his horrible new single “Turn Up The Music” than I was about his history with Rihanna. I’m a believer in change and forgiveness, and as somebody who suffered some serious anger problems myself when I was growing up, I know what it’s like to have an uncontrollable rage inside you, and I also know what it’s like to grow-up and become someone different. Brown was only 19 when he assaulted Rihanna, and somebody shouldn’t have to pay for a terrible mistake they made as a teenager for the rest of their life.
The problem with Chris, though, is that he doesn’t seem to have changed at all. If anything, he just gets worse as time goes by. From the GMA temper tantrum to his childish Twitter outbursts and constant homophobic behavior, Chris appears to be nothing more than a belligerent, rude, and very angry young man with a serious chip on his shoulder.
But that doesn’t seem to bother Rihanna.
Rather than directly address the controversial rumors of the “Birthday Cake” collabo, Rihanna’s spent the past day sending out a series of cryptic and ill-mannered tweets that only go to further strengthen the whispers, rather than dispel them. “They can say whatever, Ima do whatever… No pain is forever <—–YUP! YOU KNOW THIS,” she tweeted ten hours ago, followed by “I feel bad for that poor bandwagon… Trying its hardest to fit everyone.”
Rihanna’s reckless attitude is a far cry from the Rihanna of three years ago, who choked back tears as she sat in front of Diane Sawyer and recalled her initial return to Brown after the brutal assault, promising to never do it again for fear of sending out the wrong message to young woman.
“When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part,” she expressed.
“I couldn’t be held responsible for telling them ‘”Go back”,” she continued. “Even if Chris never hit me again, who’s to say that their boyfriend won’t? Who’s to say that they won’t kill these girls? These are young girls. I just didn’t realize what an impact I had on these young girls’ lives until that happened.”
This is exactly why Rihanna can never collaborate with Chris Brown again, at least not right now. Not merely three years later when the man who assaulted her is still acting like a loose cannon in the public eye.
It’s not just young girls who are in danger. Domestic violence can happen to anybody, male or female, gay or straight, of any age. How can Rihanna, a woman who has not only experienced domestic violence first hand, but also came from a broken home and witnessed her own father break her mother’s nose, publicly send out the message that it’s okay for a victim to return to their abuser?
Whether she likes it or not, Rihanna is a role model. She’s the queen of cool, Esquire’s Sexiest Woman in the World, the undisputed ruler of the Hot 100. We look to Rihanna for the next fashion trends, for music, for entertainment. She is undeniably one of the most influential forces in pop culture of the past decade. To record new music with Chris Brown is like shouting out to the world that domestic violence is okay. It doesn’t matter how much he may or may not have changed behind closed doors, because this is so much bigger than that. The simple act of Rihanna recording another song with Chris Brown is enough to make one girl out there think that maybe she should risk her life and her safety by giving her abuser another chance, and that is something that Rihanna should be trying to prevent, rather than promote.
I understand that for Rihanna, this is the ultimate act of taboo — the most shocking and rebellious thing she could possibly do, and for a badass such as herself, the entire act must be strangely thrilling for the girl who has it all, but the line needs to be drawn somewhere, and this is it.
And that’s why we need to boycott Rihanna.
If this “Birthday Cake” song is released with Rihanna’s support, then it’s time to say goodbye to our favorite flame-haired vixen. The iTunes downloads need to stop, the Last.fm scrobbling needs to cease, and you better hit ‘unfollow’ and ‘unlike’ on RiRi’s social networking pages.
A celebrity is only as powerful as we, the public, make them. If we remain Rihanna supporters after she collaborates with Chris Brown again, then we’re endorsing domestic violence, and that is not okay.
And Rihanna needs to know it.