I was watching the debut of Jimmy Fallon’s stint on late night, where he has taken over for Conan O’Brien, who is taking over for Jay Leno and all of the words in this sentence are superfluous because this post has nothing to do w/ any of the people I’ve mentioned so far. In the commercial break, a makeup commercial featuring the singer Rihanna aired and a weird philosophical question passed through my mind, but first some backstory to bring everyone up to speed. Rihanna is a young, beautiful, massively successful and talented singer, probably best known for the song “umbrella”-ella-ella ay-ay-ay, under my umbrella-ella-ella (sorry, got caught up), she’s also known for songs like “Pon de Replay” and “Disturbia”. I don’t have any of her stuff and don’t know the words, but I do realize she’s a good, strong pop singer, with 5 Billboard #1 singles on their Hot 100 charts and another that peaked at #2. Her early career is reminiscent of the success of a young Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston (which, now that I think about it, is eerie because both them chicks are batshit, tin foil cap type crazy). Rihanna, age 21, was/is dating Chris Brown, age 20, equally talented, not quite as successful, but in the ballpark. The two had been dating about a year and were kinda like the new era music dynasty
couple and both were scheduled to perform at this year’s Grammy Awards, but right before the show they both pulled out abruptly. Turns out that Chris Brown allegedly whooped the shit out Rihanna, I mean just took her to town. This poor girl looks like someone beat her for hours, it’s disturbing. So Rihanna checks into a hospital and Chris Brown turns himself into the police on Grammy night. Today, it’s 2 – 3 weeks later and the word is that the two are back together or at the very least trying to work things out in cohabitation @ Diddy’s house in Miami. Now, the question that I had was “Should the TV ads that she did be pulled from the air?” First, let me say this with all the clarity I can muster; Rihanna is a victim and she has done nothing wrong, nothing, and doesn’t deserve any negative retribution for her actions. I do not think that Rihanna should be forbidden to reconcile w/ Brown. She is a grown woman, probably a woman in love and it is not up to me to tell her how to live her life. She has every right to try to work things out with whomever she likes, even the guy who beat her ass. But, Chris Brown faces heavy assault charges, he’s out on bail and there is no word of counseling yet at all and they’re together right now, so soon after the event. So I wonder if they should stop showing her ads so they don’t perpetuate possible tragedies towards other people. Like I said, Rihanna can make her own choices and I don’t think she should be punished for being a victim, but if the companies are promoting her, they’re also kinda saying that it’s cool to stay w/ your abusive mate. I know the logic is kinda cloudy, but it is true. I read an article on ESPN the other day talking about role models and the lesson to be learned within broke down as; While a lot of famous people say, “I’m not a role model”, the truth is, you don’t get to choose. You don’t get to truly make or take away the views of the people who hold you to such a standard and therein lies the problem. While Rihanna has done nothing wrong, the situation and ramifications are bigger than her or anything she gets to decide now. The concept of martyrdom is sometimes necessary, sometimes the virgin needs to be sacrificed to please the gods, sparing the remaining townspeople. It wouldn’t be a long shot to imagine that a battering man (or woman) could point to Rihanna’s case as proof positive that the wife and/or kids they’re abusing shouldn’t go anywhere to get away from the situation they’re in, they should stay right there in that household and “work it out”, which really translates to: be subordinate and just take your beatings in stride. So it doesn’t help the case for motivating the battered to get out of the household, get to protected safety, because any day longer could end in an act of extreme horror. I’m sure that Rihanna isn’t intending to send that signal, but it is being broadcast by the two being together again, especially so soon. Truth is, I don’t even know if they should or shouldn’t pull her ad campaign, I’m just asking if it’s the right thing to do, maybe I’m asking, is my question even valid? What is the right thing to do? It’s even possible that the two things don’t correlate at all, but in my mind they do and that’s why I decided to ask. It would kill me if, say, my nieces were hurt because nobody thought about the ramifications of an unjust, yet correctable unintended consequence in a case like this.