Chris Brown's recent performance at the Grammy's has created a lot of controversy in recent news, and has shed light on gender issues and abuse in today's society. Since being convicted of abuse three years ago, Brown has received negative attention for his assault of pop star Rihanna and was seen initially as a falling star. In police reports, Brown was said to have "shoved her head against the passenger window of the vehicle" and "punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand" indicating an extremely deliberate and conscious decision to assault his sexual partner. Despite his conviction and the severity of the report, Brown was asked to perform at the Grammy's, signifying his return to the top of popular culture.
Is this acceptable? Should Chris Brown been allowed to perform at the Grammy's even after his assault of Rihanna?
On one hand, fans believe that Brown's past is behind him, and that people always have the chance to change face. Although he may have been convicted of assault, it does not mean that he will do it again, and that he has learned his lesson from the event, and is working towards a new life.
Regardless of the ethical component, Grammy performers are picked based on popularity, fan support, and fan generation. If Chris Brown performed at the Grammy's, than it is safe to assume that he is considered a popular artist and fans want to see him perform.
But to what extent is that okay?
The fact that Brown has a supportive fan group suggests that his conviction has been overlooked to some extent and delegitimized. After his performance, many fans posted on Facebook and Twitter that Chris Brown could "beat me" if fans could have the opportunity to be with him sexually. As one woman tweeted, "I know Rihanna didn't like it much, but Chris brown you can punch me in the face all you want". Not only is this response frightening, but it suggests a lot about how we idolize celebrities and delegitimize abuse towards women. Men and women alike are perpetuating the notion that what Brown did was acceptable and that it should be overlooked, creating a society that accepts abuse towards women. It also creates an environment where men can be forgiven without changing their lifestyle or practices at all. In Brown's performance, he alluded to sexual scandals, and continued to practice mysogeny in his lyricism. One verse of his song went, "girl you're glistening, the way you look in the light. It’s obvious that I want something from you. You know what I wanna do … I can only imagine what it'd be like". The utter sexuality and to some extent, creepiness indicates that Brown has not had a change of heart- his perception of women remains sexist.
To make matters worse, Rihanna also performed at the Grammy's. The fact that the Recording Academy that hosts the Grammy's would choose to have the both of them perform suggests that they saw Brown and Rihanna's disaster as resolved, or unimportant to their event. Seeing Rihanna and Brown both on stage creates the dangerous assumption that what happened between them is in the past, and that life should carry on regularly.
Violence towards women is becoming normalized through instances such as this. Abuse cannot be forgiven. Period. Regardless of how famous you are. Regardless of how sexy you are. Regardless of age, gender, class, sexuality, race. If we continue to forgive and forget instances of rape, violence, offensive language, dehumanization, prostitution and objectification than we are creating a culture inherently at odds with womandom and a world where women have no voice.
While I may be extremely biased in my opinion of Brown's performance, some could still argue against me.
What do you think? Am I right in criticizing our acceptance of Chris Brown? Or am I oversensitive to the whole issue?
Evidence from my argument came from these sources: