Opinion: Grammy Awards shouldn’t have celebrated Chris Brown
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‘I’d let Chris Brown punch me in the face.’
‘Like I’ve said multiple times before, Chris Brown can beat me up all he wants. I’d do anything to have him oh my.’
‘Chris Brown can punch me whenever he wants #love.’
These are just a few of the many disturbing Tweets posted by young women in response to Chris Brown’s performance and win at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. But what are we to expect, ask opinionators, when only three years after Brown rendered then-girlfriend Rihanna bloodied and bruised, the music industry has not only welcomed the young star back into the fold but is actively celebrating Brown’s ‘comeback’ by giving him the spotlight on music’s biggest night of the year? Brown could have dedicated some of his time in the spotlight to a PSA so that young women, such as the ones listed above, would better understand that there’s nothing ‘hot’ about domestic violence. But he didn’t, leaving critics to rightly take him and the Grammys to task.
‘At a time when schools across the country are struggling to figure out how to stop kids from bullying each other, and educate teens about dating violence, it seems fair to ask why producers of the 2012 Grammy Awards thought it was an acceptable message to young people to allow Chris Brown to perform just three years after he famously beat up his then-girlfriend, Rihanna,’ writes the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss. ‘Sure, people should have second chances, and sure, people can like the music of artists who say and/or do nasty things. That doesn’t mean they deserve a chance to strut around the Grammy stage a few years after being convicted of felony assault for his attack on Rihanna at a pre-Grammy party.’
‘It is absolutely unacceptable that someone who is known to have perpetuated violence against a woman has been so uncritically welcomed and promoted by the music industry,’ Lori Adelman of Feministing argues. ‘The message we sent to young women was unmistakable: You are powerless. You are worthless. You will be a victim, and that will be okay with us.’
‘This is how men get away with domestic violence,’ writes Blisstree’s Hanna Brooks Olsen. '[A]buse is about mind control and power. And in this situation, Chris Brown has gained power over everyone -- the power to expunge his behavior, to tell the public ‘It was a mistake. It will never happen again.’ But all abusers say that … and it always, always happens again. Even if it’s not Chris Brown raising his fist, it will happen again. And it will happen again because there weren’t enough voices, or enough loud voices, to make Brown into an example. There weren’t enough people in Hollywood stating that domestic violence is unforgivable, and that, in a just world, a performing artist who beats his significant other doesn’t get to be on stage any more.’
--Alexandra Le Tellier