R&B singer Chris Brown performed at the Grammys last Sunday and was lucky enough to win an award. Not so unusual, you might think, except that this is the same Chris Brown who is serving 5 years probation for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna the night before the Grammys in 2009.
His appearance at this year’s event has caused some raised eyebrows for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, the performance and award seems to indicate that the musical establishment appears to have forgiven Brown for what he did. Everyone will have different views about this. On the one hand, people can change and it’s not really fair to hold it against him forever. On the other, he hasn’t even finished serving his sentence yet and he’s being invited to sing on music’s most prestigious awards show. That seems wrong. A message needs to be sent out that violence is never ok and especially not when it’s a man assaulting a woman. (This is Rihanna’s face after the assault). In my view, they should at least have waited for the end of his sentence before even considering inviting him back.
Secondly, a number of young women seem to have very disturbing reactions to Chris Brown. Buzzfeed.com has an article quoting 25 women’s Twitter posts, all to the effect that they would let Chris Brown beat them up any time. I realise that these may be at least partly tounge-in-cheek but it’s a very strange thing to say and an awful thing to think. These women need to realise that what happened is not ok.
Finally, the producer of the Grammys, Ken Ehrlich, commented to ABC News Radio about their decision to have Brown back. This is what he said:
“I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys 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.”
Now, I don’t know Ken Ehrlich at all and I daresay he regrets the way he put this, but what this actually says is that the real victim of Rihanna being assaulted so seriously that she needed hospital treatment was not, in fact, Rihanna herself. No, it was the Grammy Awards, who were left having to fill airtime at short notice when both singers pulled out of the show. Oh dear. My heart bleeds for them.
I would agree that Brown should get a second chance at some point. People can change and he is serving his sentence, apparently without complaint. I’m not aware of any other criminal offences on his record or that he’s been accused of any since. Even Rihanna herself has been quoted as giving him some degree of support:
“It’s incredible to see how he pulled out of it the way he did … I really like the music he’s putting out … I’ve always been a fan … I’m really excited to see the breakthrough he’s had in his career. I would never wish anything horrible for him … I never have.”
It may be that Brown is a changed man, but it seems to me that to invite him to perform on such a prestigious event with such a connection to the assault before his sentence is completed sends out the wrong message. It seems to say “We know you beat your girlfriend up. But it’s been 3 years, so we’re ok with it” and that is not the message that should be being sent to women. Once his sentence is complete, if he’s been behaving himself, and only then, should it be considered – although to be quite honest, I don’t really understand how he still has a career after this.
Interesting article on this subject: http://hellogiggles.com/im-not-okay-with-chris-brown-performing-at-the-grammys-and-im-not-sure-why-you-are