I wasn’t going to write about this but as the days have passed since the Grammy’s it has stewed in my mind (and admittedly my twitter feed) like an approaching elephant I can’t shoo away-and when I think about it I am ashamed to say I tried. What I’m talking about is the disappointing way in which the 54th Annual Grammy Awards organizers decided to handle the ever volatile and capricious Chris Brown. If you’re unfamiliar with the story- Chris Brown is a widely known singer and performer that shot to superstardom prior to 2009. The night before that year’s Grammy Awards he beat his then girlfriend Rihanna after engaging in an argument with her over a text message he received from an old flame. He then fled the car and left her alone on the side of the road with her injuries. Police were called and Rihanna was taken to hospital and a warrant was issued for Chris Brown’s arrest. He turned himself in that same evening but posted bail and was released. Ah lifestyles of the rich and famous. He eventually received probation, community service and a restraining order which has since been lifted. Not long after the incident he was photographed jet skiing in Miami like he had not a care in the world.
The truly remarkable part of this whole story is the response society and media outlets garnered towards it. Many celebrities were too afraid to comment and gave vague non-committed answers when questioned directly. Usher spoke up when he saw the pictures of Chris Brown in Miami and later had to issue an apology because the back-lash was so great. Chris Brown was not invited to the Grammy’s in 2010 and 2011 but this year he made up for lost time. He performed two very lengthy sets during which he lipsynced badly and quite frankly tainted the integrity and reputation of an award show that had previously operated on a higher caliber.
Prior to the show, Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich confirmed Brown’s performance by saying:
“We’re glad to have him back. I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammy’s for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened”.
Did you get that? Did you spew some kind of liquid like I did as I mistakenly sipped coffee while I read his words? Did your eyes widen in horror? They should have because what Mr Ehrlich has so eloquently stated is that Chris Brown beating Rihanna resulted in the victimization of the Grammy Awards. I feel sick. At what point did domestic violence become a debatable topic?
Further, on my drive into work this morning I was listening to my favourite radio station as I always do. They brought up the controversy as Chris Brown’s high exposure at the Grammy’s has sparked a wealth of discussion which includes a diverse crowd of lovers and haters. The female radio host reminded this morning’s listeners that Chris Brown was reportedly abusive throughout his relationship with Rihanna. To this, the male host responded “Listeners what do you think? Should we be outraged or should we all butt out and let the music speak for itself?”, as the intro to a Chris Brown song began playing. I thought it was for effect but the station actually played the song in its entirety- or so I assume-I switched the channel about thirty seconds in. Disgusting.
A woman was beaten and the man who did so is now being glorified and given more air time than any other performer at a popular and highly respected awards show. Other celebrities are being attacked for speaking out against this terrible display of violence and injustice(ie Usher and most recently Miranda Lambert). All the while, Chris Brown is sitting at home with his shiny new Grammy (oh yeah did I mention they also gave him an award that night??!) and his millions laughing about the whole thing, continuing to live the high life, without ever truly having expressed one ounce of remorse for his wrongdoings that weren’t courtesy of his high-paid publicist. Who knew it was possible to time travel without a DeLorean (someone alert Michael J Fox) ? We’ve slid so far back in time that we’ve rendered women powerless all over again. Have we then lost our fight and accepted defeat or are we going to do something about it? Susan B. Anthony once said “I do not consider divorce an evil by any means. It is just as much a refuge for women married to brutal men as Canada was to the slaves of brutal masters.” How right she was, except in this case, we must “divorce” ourselves from any influence in society which renders domestic abuse an acceptable element of life and love. It is not. We are all better than that, worth more than that, and above all else smart enough to know it’s not okay to live in a society governed by these ideas. Let’s be intolerant of the horrifyingly lackadaisical attitude the media has adopted towards domestic violence. Let’s inspire some change shall we?
Please consider reading this blog post also which is where I found some of the information I used above. Worthwhile read: http://hellogiggles.com/im-not-okay-with-chris-brown-performing-at-the-grammys-and-im-not-sure-why-you-are