Before this year’s Grammys aired, websites like Facebook and Twitter reported uneasiness with Chris Brown performing at the show.
Most of the reasons seem to revolve around the fact that he is abusive towards women, specifically in his infamous incident with Rihanna and the fact that he still has not issued any formal apology for that event.
The event, terrifying and disturbing, occurred nearly three years ago to the day on their way to pre-Grammy party. While Brown was driving, Rihanna inquired about a woman who had been texting Brown. Enraged, Brown attacked Rihanna, physically and verbally abusing her until Rihanna exited the car and a bystander called the police.
Such an incident gives credibility to why many would feel uneasy with his performance at the Grammys. An extremely violent assault that passed without an apology acceptably puts many on edge towards Brown.
Still, while I will never agree with violence towards women, some of the hypocrisy illustrated in these arguments needs to seriously be examined. The number of celebrities that still have maintained status after domestic abuse charges is extremely high. Actors including Nicolas Cage, Gary Oldman, Bill Murray, and Eminem have histories of domestic abuse. The criticism that so passionately follows Chris Brown hasn’t been shown towards these older white men.
Career wise, however, Brown has still been able to continue, releasing singles and even recently winning a Grammy. Though periodically experiencing public condemnation, he’s been able to move past that point of his life. Then, if not an issue of race, what is it an issue of?
Victim-blaming has been transformed in recent years, even normalized in our society. Those who are assaulted, raped or otherwise abused put themselves into harm’s way, and what happened to them is their own fault.
Had society felt differently, Chris Brown and other abusers would have dropped off the face of the Earth and disappeared out of public view. No one would have stood behind him and supported his music or him personally.
Three years later, we continue put him in the public eye, continue to purchase his music, and in doing so, continue to accept his abusive behavior. Though some sporadic public outcry, the majority seems to be indifferent, allowing this to happen.
We as a society can’t pick and chose when to feel uneasy with abusers. This backwards mentality doesn’t allow for a society of equals, as victims become second-class citizens.
We can’t continue to view ourselves as a progressive society should this inequality stand.