Chris Brown

I wanted to post about slavery because since last Christmas we’re seeing it more and more.  So look forward to a conversation about Django Unchained, American Horror Story, and 12 Years a Slave.  But just like a mother cleaning her kitchen only to be interrupted by her baby propelling himself from the device he was strapped in I had to stop writing about slavery in TV and film to talk about Chris Brown.

I don’t really want to talk about Chris Brown.  There is nothing to talk about there.  He puts himself in situations and allows others to provoke him into these situations and draws the ire of white Americans (particularly men) and the sympathy and prayers of African Americans  (particularly women).  Its all tiresome but as Vice pointed out it deserved a case study.

I wan’t to speak specifically about the stories and the ire it draws.  But first let’s talk about Charlie Sheen.

If recognizing racial bias in this case is too much of a stretch because it hints at a guilt you’re unwilling to partake in, consider Charlie Sheen. In 2009, the same year Chris Brown attacked Rihanna, Sheen was arrested for violently assaulting his wife at the time, Brooke Mueller. According to Mueller, Sheen pinned her to the bed and held a knife to her throat after hearing she wanted a divorce. This incident was not alone: In 2006 Denise Richards filed a restraining order against Sheen for his “abusive and threatening manner”; in 1996 Sheen slammed then-girlfriend Brittany Ashland on the floor, and the resulting split lip required seven stitches; in 1990 Sheen shot Kelly Preston, whom he was dating at the time, with a revolver. For his 2009 assault, Sheen was sentenced to 30 days in a rehabilitation center, 30 days of probation and 36 hours of anger management. Attorney Gloria Allred said at the time, “It was a serious, real-life dangerous situation, and should carry serious real life consequences… rather than the extremely light sentence that he received.”

“Instead of being presented as threatening and angry, Sheen is presented as troubled and eccentric—he’s been roasted on Comedy Central, he went on a stand-up tour, a Fiat Abarth commercial fictionalized his house arrest complete with cheering models, and his post-Two And A Half Men sitcom got a 100-episode order from FX. Its title? Anger Management.”

-excerpt from Vice You, Me, and Chris Brown

So why the schizophrenic response?  Why is Charlie Sheen rewarded for far worse behavior?  The narrative that governs Chris Brown’s condemnation while rewarding Charlie Sheen is the same narrative that condemned Trayvon Martin while seeking to understand Adam Lanza.  It a narrative of inherent black deviance and individual white deviant acts.

Not only is this supported by various op-eds but also by comments on Facebook and comment sections on articles.  Here are some gems left on a recent Chris Brown article.  My favorite: the guy who justifies Sean Penn beating Madonna because he was high on cocaine and she was his wife.

 

What happens when you compare Chris Brown to comparable white men who were treated differently?

What happens when you compare Chris Brown to comparable white men who were treated differently?

The coverage isn't racist and neither is this.

What happens when you compare Chris Brown to comparable white men who were treated differently?

 

...and when your're intellectually outmatched.

…and when your’re intellectually outmatched.

Pour it Up


“In the past year, the only things that sparked my enthusiasm and gave me hope for an artistic revival were in pop music: Rihanna’s eerie “Pour It Up,” which uses a strip club as a hallucinatory metaphor for an identity crisis about sex and materialism,…”
-Camille Paglia

Last month Rihanna released the video to her single, “Pour it up”. The video is a hazy, fantastical night at the strip club sans testeosterone.

 

Naturally there was backlash, criticism, and ill-concieved and inaccurate comparisons to Miley Cyrus.  But what there hasn’t been is recollection.  A video of a manless haven of girl watching being dominated by empowered women has been made at least once before.

That’s right, Madonna did it.  Like Madonna, but unlike other pop starlets merely using sexuality as a prop (see Miley) RiRi makes a statement in this video.  I’ll let you search within yourself for that statement.  *Hint: Both ladies are seated authoritatively and enjoying themselves.

Also worth noting, Camille Paglia wrote about both women.  While I for the most part disagree with her comparison of Rihanna to Princess Diana I do agree with her assessment of Rihanna as an artist. This prompts me to say that Rihanna is the Madonna of the millennials.  The others are just…

Reductive

Reductive

// Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF