Rihanna was fortunate enough to have the support of major artists such as Jay Z rallying around her after the whole Chris Brown situation. She took the avenue not to be a spokesperson for battered women, but to focus solely on her music. A lot of artists take this stance (i.e. Lil Wayne w/ Katie Couric), that they’re not in this business to be role models…only artists with the sole purpose of entertaining. But many believe that since these entertainers are in the public eye, and have an opportunity to influence millions people at a time, that they should embrace that opportunity to inform and enlighten, as well as entertain.

At some point, I, too, believe artists should care to a certain extent, about the people who support their music careers. Rihanna had the opportunity to steer other young women away from abusive relationships, simply by speaking about how she felt when she found herself in that situation. But at the same time, had she spoken out, she may have permanently been labeled a ‘battered victim’, which could have harmed a music career that is attached to an 'image' of her being a powerful and strong woman.

Did Jay Z do Rihanna's image a favor by shielding her from the public and guiding her not to make a stand for this issue affecting millions of young women and girls? I was reading, on the release of the battered Rihanna police photo, and they stressed on the rare instances in which the media gives light to violence against women of color. They talked about how from the jump, this story hinged from an angle of victim-blaming, from blaming Rihanna for "giving Brown herpes" to "cheating on him with Jay-Z." The narrative was clear; that sometimes it is OK to beat a woman.

This is where Rihanna could have stepped stressing to young women that it is never ok to be struck or victimized. She could have rebuked all of those who felt she 'deserved' it. And maybe even endorsed a charity dedicated to battered women's shelters. With her popularity, she could have raised millions of dollars to help women. But she still remains silent on this issue.

Maybe she didn't speak up on it because maybe she don't believe that she's not deserving of an ass whippin'. I mean look at her actions, she went back to a man who threatened and nearly killed her. It took a court order to keep her away from him. I can only speculate but it goes to show if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

But deep down inside, even though Rihanna hadn’t spoken on this matter, I don't believe she wanted to send the message that it’s okay to get your ass kicked. Maybe she believes that her case is isolated and doesn't contribute to the epidemic of the growing number of domestic abuse cases in this country and in the world of Hip Hop (see Elizabeth's Berry interview below). For Rihanna, not speaking on her situation may have sent a message that even though bad things happen to you, you should find the strength to carry on with business as usual, rather than to have your moment of ‘victimization’, define you and the future path that your life takes. But what have we gathered so far through Rihanna's actions? That she's not strong enough to make a stand.

Maybe when she gains some stamina and more stability within her career, which is obviously more important to her than standing for a cause, she will finally drill into young women that it’s never ok to get your ass beat by anybody, for any reason, at any time. Love doesn’t hurt. Let’s hope she expresses that either through her speech or her music.



Beyond Chris Brown and Rihanna: An interview with Elizabeth Mendez Berry

Jay Smooth of Ill Doctrine has a great interview up with Elizabeth Mendez Berry, who wrote a 2005 Vibe magazine article Love Hurts- "Rap's Black Eye", about domestic violence and the hip hop community. Check out the video regarding that article. I'm a little perturbed that the HIP HOP community isn't taking a bigger stance on this issue!!!

Posted on 8:34 PM by Lisa Ford and filed under , , , | 3 Comments »


Keli said... @ August 25, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Take a stance against violence?

He was far from right, but we don't know the whole truth? Maybe she does not feel that is her duty because she knows the whole truth...

just a thought.

ZODCORE said... @ August 25, 2009 at 3:31 PM

I would like to start by saying that the good LORD can come down right now and take everything that I hold dearist 2 me...........except the women. Lord please dont take the WOMEN. Nothing gets ur point across then some good old-fasion BEATING. Dont get me wrong I don't advacte on beating, hurting, killing (or what ever ya wanna call it) of anyone (men,women,children)............but there's no telling what lies beneath the surface of a human being. But for this guy here(speaking 4 myself)dont put my back up against the wall, cause I-will-eat-YOUR-FUCKING!-FACE!-...RIGHT THE FUCK OFF! :-)

PS:Who the hell is Cris Brown......?

Tonya said... @ August 25, 2009 at 6:35 PM

I don't care rather or not Rihanna takes a stand. Chris Brown's dumb ass should take a stand and raise some money for the battered women...the nerve of him thinking he can put his hands on a woman. All cowardly men who puts their hands on women should be ordered to get their asses whipped by some Mike Tyson type of man...He only got probation...he should have gotten a hefty fine too...CLOWN!!