So, I finally got a chance to see Rihanna’s new music video. I guess the song came out earlier this year, but the video was just released:
There’s been a lot of controversy about the video. Honestly, there’s been such an agenda in the entertainment industry to push pornographic images of women into mainstream media, I barely blinked an eye. Didn’t we just go through this with Miley Cyrus? Also, I have mixed emotions about representations of women who work as strippers. I do think there is opportunity to see the art/physical strength of strippers/sex workers. In the end, it’s a job. However, I feel uneasy constantly seeing black women being portrayed as azz shakers and literally only being shown as body parts. Rihanna to me is the new Britney Spears. I know Rihanna isn’t the greatest talent or singer. She needs to rely on her body/sexuality to get her over. But, even she’s admitted to having to pretend with this whole “good girl gone bad” imagery. In her interview with Oprah—Oprah asked her, “How did you become so comfortable in your own sexual skin?” She said, “I had to fake to till I make it. I had to pretend until I was comfortable.” I think if Rihanna could go back to living a quiet life in Barbados, she would. But the money’s too good. So compromises have to be made. Hell, she probably can’t get out even, if she wanted to. The industry will work her as long as they feel they can squeeze a dime out of her. Just like poor Britney Spears (even despite a very public breakdown), she’s stuck. At this point, Rihanna probably believes “if you can’t beat them, join them.” She co-directed the video. I have a feeling when she looks back on these days, she will cringe. It’s obvious she has succumbed to the entertainment industry’s manipulation of today’s young women pop singers. I hope she makes it out okay.
A few days ago, Chris Brown shared something about himself that explains his current behavior. The funny thing about it, Brown has been doing everything and anything to get people off his back about the Rihanna incident. Yet, something I believe he felt was giving him bragging rights, actually is the thing that is making folks view him differently. In an interview with UK Guardian, Brown shared about losing his virginity at age 8-years old. He stated, “It’s different in the country,” adding that he and his friends watched a lot of porn. “By that point, we were already kind of like hot to trot, you know what I’m saying? Like, girls, we weren’t afraid to talk to them; I wasn’t afraid. So, at eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it. You can be the best at it.”
The person he lost his virginity to was a teen girl around 14/15 years old. Of course, for myself/other folks this immediately set off alarm bells. When an 8-year old has sex with an older person, that is rape, not consent. Brown, like other folks, think it’s different when it’s a boy. But it isn’t. An 8-year old is a child. I can’t even imagine folks laughing about an 8-year old talking about being sexually active, and not wanting to call the police.
The combination of a too early sexual experience and watching his mother physically abused as a child, explains Brown’s attitude toward women, especially when he was dating Rihanna. Rihanna has also shared about domestic violence in her home as a child. It’s not surprising these two found each other, especially in an industry that exploits insecure/lost people. We see Rihanna acting out in videos and we see Brown tearing up stuff/fighting folks. This is not to make excuses for him, but rather, to put his behavior in context. It’s not mentally healthy for a child to be introduced to sex at an early age.
As blogger Olivia A. Cole noted:
“We know some of the behavioral signals that occur when girls have been raped. Depression, promiscuity, unexplained anger, anxiety. These are words we use when we describe the ways victims behave. It’s interesting that I have seen these same symptoms in young boys—alongside me in class when I was a child, in boyfriends as I got older, in men beside me on the bus in Chicago—yet no one looks at male anger and male promiscuity as symptoms of anything. These are just classic male behaviors. “Boys will be boys,” and boys sleep around. Boys have bad tempers. Right? Wrong.”–from http://oliviaacole.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/chris-brown-and-a-nation-of-raped-boys/
I really hope Brown gets counseling for his sexual abuse/the abuse he witnessed and suffered as a child. Or else he will continue to self-destruct. I pray that there are decent men in his life that will help him find his way. Other men need to let young boys know this is not healthy or cool.