Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On Rihanna and Chris Brown

A reporter from ABC-News in New York spoke to me today about the Chris Brown and Rihanna situation. She asked me my thoughts and feelings about everything.

In a nutshell, there is never, repeat, N -E - V - E - R anything a woman can do that would warrant the assault that Rihanna suffered at the hands of Chris Brown.

Yes, he is a clean cut young man, yes, he is the youth hearthrob with his 19 year-old innocent face, and yes, he committed a crime of domestic violence. He did the right thing by turning himself in.

I told the reporter that I hope the media moves beyond sensationalizing the situation because there are other Chris Brown's and Rihanna's out there dealing with the silent horror that accompanies abuse - physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, and spiritual - that is prevalent regardless of age, race, income, or spirituality. I told the reporter that it may get worse before it gets better because the media glamorizes gangsta rap music and over sexualities anything dealing with women, essentially reducing the female gender to the parts. This type of environment in country, rap, rock, and even R&B all leads to a callous thought pattern regarding male and female relationships. With a sinking economy, some men use their voices, sexual organs, and fists as ways to vent and none of this is acceptable.

There were only two people in that car - Chris Brown and Rihanna. At that moment, they were not young celebrities but two young people in a long-term, public relationship having a disagreement that resulted in him savagely beating her.

Now, I know the rumors that are rampant on the Internet and it is the first thing my son told me when the news broke. However, even that if it were true, does not warrant that type of retaliation. Why? Because unless both of them were pristine virgins when they became sexually intimate, both of them could very well have been carriers of any number of sexually transmitted diseases that surface when the body's immune system is down. Was either of them ill at any time? No one knows. Were they using condoms? No one knows, if this allegation of the reason for the beating is true, then no, they did not use a condom. Teaching moment, there is no safe sex and as the rising HIV and AIDS rate among heterosexual black women shows, even in committed relationships, there is a chance that something can happen.

What do we do now? The thing I told the reporter is that we need to stop elevating celebrities to an unrealistic pedestal. They are human beings and human beings have failings, weaknesses, and faults, they are no different. Their choice of profession does not automatically make them role models, but given that they have been put in this situation, I hope that after healing and counseling, they will use it as a teaching opportunity to their many younger fans.

There will never be an excuse for abuse, never, ever, regardless. I pray that Rihanna recovers and is given the opportunity to have counseling and healing in private. I pray that Chris Brown learns from this ugly situation. I pray the rest of us give grace and speak up if we suspect abuse. I hope men that are abusing their spouses, girlfriends, or children will seek help. Verbal leads to physical and physical can lead to death. The grave cries out with the souls of many women who have died from this national sickness.

Lets take away the cloak of shame that accompanies being abused and give these women, including Rihanna, the protection, support, and fresh start they need.

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