My tacit method of avoiding most “major label” produced media is why I didn’t watch the Grammys last night. If I had watched, I would’ve found out sooner rather than this morning that convicted felon Chris Brown performed onstage, three years to the day from when he was arrested, and later pled guilty to, the felony assault of then girlfriend Robyn Rihanna Fenty. (Rihanna performed too, so we had both the victim and the assailant at the same show. Hmm…but let’s not get into that right now). The new and varying ways stewards of mass media will bend ethics for financial power never ceases to amaze me. And it’s as simple as that. There’s no room here to claim that he’s been rehabilitated or learned from the errors of his ways, especially when just last year he vandalized the set of Good Morning America after being asked about his assault charges. Brown got a standing ovation after his first performance, and referred to himself as a “role model” on Twitter before deleting it. Really?
Sasha Pasulka of Hello Giggles sarcastically remarked: “It was nice of the Grammys to let him off a couple years early for
high record sales good behavior.” Also disappointing was Grammy Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich’s response, where he claimed that he and Grammy Awards were victimized by Brown.
“We’re glad to have him back,” said Ehrlich. “I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.”
Uhh, what about Rihanna? Many of the articles about Brown’s performance didn’t even mention her, further silencing the victim and magnifying the criminal. Worst of all, were the comments circulating social media and the blogosphere regarding Chris Brown.
Last night, Buzz Feed compiled “25 Extremely Upsetting Reactions To Chris Brown At The Grammys,” and they were all variations on the same message; “I would let Chris Brown beat me.”
Judging from the Twitter photos provided, most of these commentators appeared to be young women (teen to 20s) from a diverse array of backgrounds. What does this say about my generation? It most certainly does not live up to the Time Magazine claim of a generation that used social media to start global revolutions and topple tyrannical political regimes. Instead, at best it demonstrates that a lot of young Americans are a) unaware that we live in a rape culture or b) don’t seem to care about doing anything about it.
Mary O’Donnell, a commenter on the Buzzfeed article, said:
At their worst, these comments demonstrate a sheer lack of decency, but I’d like to cut my peers just a little slack. Let’s educate each other. Instead of glorifying abusers, let’s empower abuse survivors. It’s as simple as putting yourself in Rihanna’s shoes . Would you want the person that attacked you to be celebrated by 100,000 fans and named artist of the year? C’mon people, let’s make this generation one we can be proud of by saying that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.
“We should be angry about this, and we should be angry publicly about this. This not okay with me. A man hitting a woman in anger is unacceptable and is not easily forgotten or forgiven. A man who hits a woman in anger deserves to be reported to the authorities and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of who might be inconvenienced in the process. A man who hits a woman in anger may eventually be permitted to go on with his own life, but he is not permitted back in my life, even if it’s been three whole years.” –Hello Giggles, reposted again by Oh No They Didn’t.