Friday, July 2, 2010

To Have and To Hold Down Part 1A

I love SistaToldja's blog and I wasn't surprised to find a concise and organized post on Chris Brown and our sometimes enabling love of black men. I began to respond, but realized after the third paragraph that I had far too many thoughts. Here's what I wrote-and then some:

I was in LA when all the news broke of the fight between Rihanna and Chris Brown in the Hancock Park section of LA. Way before it hit the east coast, I had friends texting and calling, asking what I knew, what she (Rihanna) had done to warrant the assault, were they at the Grammy's, had I seen anything (um, LA is kinda big)? It was interesting how everyone immediately came to his rescue, asking what she did to evoke that kind of anger. I listened to young girls call into radio stations to tell all who would hear that Chris was just defending himself and that Rihanna was a known crazy. Nevermind how it all affected those young girls, but what about how it affected the young men who heard these girls brushing it off, defending their skinny jean, neck tatted, R&B singing, arrogant peer? Now it seems excusable to slap a chick. Hey Chris Breezy did.

I agree with all the current arguments to "let CB live" and to stop holding nailing him to a cross, BUT I think the reason people are so quick to keep him there is because he honestly hasn't shown any remorse. From day one, he posted Youtube videos that were anything but sincere. They were clearly attempts to eradicate a dire situation, not to mention hard to take seriously when in the days proceeding/following someone's camera phone would catch him saying crazy, arrogant, and unsympathetic comments in bowling alleys and what not. Then came the sappy love songs and the Twitter apologies. I understand there's a strong possibility that his sincerity was in fact genuine, but it gets completely watered down when just mere months before, you bashed your very famous girlfriend's face in with your very famous fists.

So now fast forward to the BET awards and after all that's happened-the assault, trial/conviction/sentence, an album that was designed to bring him back (despite him not going anywhere) but didn't do well, and his popularity being snatched and given to Trey Songz (J. Holliday are you out there?). He gets up and does what he does best: danced like Twinkle Toes. While audiences sat astonished, myself included, you couldn't tell if you were more excited for him to be "back" or just moved to have MJ back on stage (metaphorically). I cheered him on, told people to let him be, but when the tears started, I got a little guarded. I started to remember the insincere videos and the whiny Twitter pleas and, of course, the picture of Rihanna's battered face. But there was Chris onstage. And there was my Twitter feed, going crazy with people already claiming he was faking it, that he was the typical abusive man, that we shouldn't forgive him. But I also saw the "we love you" and the "Rihanna who?" comments and I realized everyone was just as confused. It is clear the boy is talented, but it's clear he made a serious misstep in his recent life as well. So why does it have to be either/or? Why can't we accept both ends of the issue, but also let it go? There is such thing as forgiving sans forgetting. We could all forgive CB and give him a conditional second chance-that he never repeats this behavior. He did swear he'd never let his fans down again. And while it's tucked away in our brain's rolodex, we can also give him a shot at greatness, cause who doesn't deserve just that?

It also got me thinking about our obsession with celebrity's personal lives. Yes, pop culture is a ruling force in our country (and others). People hop on reality shows for 15 minutes that they can hopefully stretch into an hour, USWeekly and InTouch fly off the shelves and paps chase the stars to the edge of reason on a regular basis. And we greedily eat it up, forming our opinions, casting judgement on people we don't even know. Sure, it's fun to watch an awards show and tweet away, making jokes that will get RTed, having a mild chuckle, but once it switches to burning people at the stake for their own personal indescretions, well I get a bone to pick. I watched people go in on Alicia Keys from the moment Swizz hit the red carpet (people even said stuff about his son, not cool). When she won her first award, I saw tweets about her award being Best Homewrecker and Slut of the Year. The number of women on my feed who said they wouldn't watch if Alicia kept gracing the stage was astonishing. I knew many of them personally and almost all had some cheating mistakes in their pasts. Those same women, sitting in their glass castles, were the same ones minutes later, claiming to love CB and let it all go. Hmmm.

I suppose that's the cost of fame: your personal life is essentially no longer that, you must tread carefully, understanding that every breath you take, every sex tape you make, will be put on a costly blast. But there's still something else important to remember: no matter the celebrity, they are still, at the end of it all, human beings and that means flaws and mistakes. Instead of judging, we should take it for what it is: missteps and pitfalls, forgiving yet not forgetting because I'm quite sure we'd all hope someone else would give us a second chance when it counts most.

That bitch stole my line,


Blackie Collins


  1. it's confusing on who the media and even people tend to forgive. I do agree with CB and his misstep. He needs to take sometime off but why not the same with Alicia. A friend was asking me about her situation and I couldn't really answer it but brush it under the rug. Then I was think why can't I do the same to Chris. We all make mistakes and do things that others wouldn't approve, but the only the thing that separates people is status. But like you said, that's the price of fame- scrutiny. At the end they owe nothing to you or I - just entertain me!

  2. The paragraph before last said it all. Thanks for sharing! This was a good read!

  3. I couldn't agree more with the section about Alicia and Swizz. Do we REALLY know what happened with them? No, is there tons of speculation? Yes, can we say it smells fishy? Of course, but can we past judgement, no. And we sure as hell can't let him off the hook and not her! Sexism at it's best.

    Great post.