Thursday, February 23, 2012


Hello World, 

I know that we're on hiatus, but as you know, at TBR, we always bend the rules, even if its just a teeny tiny bit. 

"Love Birds" RhiRhi and C-Breezy. 
Twitter was once again ablaze in the past few days, since the re mix of Rihanna's song "Birthday Cake" came out, and it was featuring none other than the notorious Chris Brown. 

Naturally, there is a shitstorm of controversy and reactions. Based on *ahem* extensive research of the internets (i.e twitter, blog comments, and other discussion forums), I believe responses can be more or less sorted into the following categories:

1. "OMG I love Chris Brown and everything he does and he's sexy so I love this song! I don't care if he hit her, he could hit me too! #teambreezy!!!!!"
2. "OMG, I can't believe that Rihanna let him on the remix, I love her but Chris Brown is a scumbag, and if she gets back together with him, I'm gonna never listen to her again and delete all my mp3s!"
3. "What the fuck is with all the fuss, this happened forever ago, GET OVER IT!"
4. "You call this shit music?"

As for the song, it's edgy, sex driven, and raunchy as hell, much like the original. 
But the amount of attention that it's getting is because of what this collaboration means to people.

For some, I think that they see Chris as somebody generally good, talented, but flawed and in need of a second chance. They can see their mistakes and errors, and categorize what he did in the same way. Maybe they're douchebags who think its her fault, or that intimate partner violence (IPV) isn't that big a deal.  Others, who I suspect may have had the experience of IPV hit much closer to home, are the ones saying fuck Chris Brown, what the hell is she doing, because they know the devastating effect IPV has not only on the victim, but also those around them.

Birthday Cake Remix Rihanna ft. Chris Brown
When I think about the Rihanna/CB situation, more than anything, I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed because it was such a public event, but they've dealt with it in a very private way (for the most part, probation hearings don't count). Being as famous as they are, they are both in a unique position to share their experiences in a way that would be beneficial to many people in society that are both perpetrators and victims. Other than themselves and those around them, nobody has really publicly discussed what it's like to be in that situation, and be on the journey to heal from that situation, especially when you don't have Oprah on speed dial. And since the last post that I wrote on here was all about walking the walk and not just talking the talk, I'm going to do some walking.
With my fingers.
Like in the yellow pages.
Except on a keyboard.

So here is my story. I'm not telling it for sympathy, or pity, or judgment, or looking for advice, but because it happened, and it was a learning experience for me, and if we can talk about things like this, we can all become better human beings.

On the same weekend that the Rihanna/CB incident happened in 2009, I also experienced violence from an intimate partner. I left the place that I was in, and ended up in the Nouseforaname house, angry, distraught, bruised, and slightly worse for wear. To this day, words can't express how grateful I am to all those that helped me get out of that situation. Unfortunately, getting out isn't where things end. Incidences like this affect who you are, on some of the deepest levels. They affect your ability to make decisions, to trust, to love, to open up to those around you.

Going through that experience made me lose a little bit of my humanity, because burying it seemed like the only way to garner enough strength to get through the next day. Burying my humanity seemed like the only way to be strong enough to fight that feeling of being overpowered. Except that to be able to love, and to be loved, you have to be human, I have to be fully human. And it wasn't only me. I know that he lost a piece of his humanity that day too.

What saddens me the most is the rippling effect that this has had, not only affecting me, but hurting those around me as well. The last time I talked to him, I suggested that he look into a counseling program that is aimed at people that are abusive towards others. Following up to that conversation, he decided not to go that route.

Toni Morrison wrote in her book "The Bluest Eye" that "love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly." I have no doubts that he loved me, and that Chris and Rihanna loved each other. The problem is that their flaws got in the way of their being able to love flawlessly or perfectly, and the flaws of some are much bigger than the flaws of others. What makes a difference at the end of the day is what each person is willing to do about it. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength and of character and courage. It's much easier to hide. Lauryn Hill once sang, every day is another chance to get it right this time.  Every day, we're becoming what we will be in the future. Its all about the choices that we make.

Maybe this song represents their growth while they've been apart, and their ability to forgive and move forward through the difficult events of the past. Maybe it's an example of an insecure woman going back to her abuser, because God knows that happens too. Hell, maybe it's a plot to inspire controversy and make money off of it, or just a pathetic attempt to stay relevant in the press. Here's what I do know. If you're in a relationship where somebody is hurting you, you need to GET the fuck OUT. If you're in a relationship and you're hurting the person you're with, you need to stop hurting them. Leave. NOW. In both cases, get help, both professional and from the people around you that love and care about you. If you're lucky enough not to be in a situation like this, please, be supportive to those around you who are. And lastly, I know that we need to talk and have a conversation about violence in relationships, about self-respect, and about love. And maybe about raunchy sex too ;)

Marie the HAWC
Follow Marie the HAWC on TWITTER: @mariethehawc

1 comment:

  1. This is a very powerful post and it took a lot of courage to write it. I respect that. So i'mma try to do my best to do justice to it with this comment. As for your summary of the different positions surrounding the issue, you're spot on. Personally, I think I lean more towards the "Chris Brown is a douchebag" side of the equation (because violence against any human being is wrong, straight up) but that's not the point! The face that they're dealing with it in such a private way means that we will never known if/when growth will take place in and between them. We can only hope for the best, right?

    As for the part about IPV, it took balls to write about your own experience, and what's even more important is the fact that you did it for the purpose of helping *others* achieve better insight into the matter, which is a commendable and noble thing to do. Partner abuse is no joke and I think that we, as a society, don't appreciate just how serious of an issue it really is (more than just the physical violent aspect of it, the emotional and spiritual damage that occurs as a result is appalling). That's why posts like these and others that raise awareness on the issue are so vitally needed these days. I have many female relatives (5 sisters, loads of nieces, cousins, aunts, etc. Big family) and it never ceases to infuriate me to hear about issues concerning this such as 'almost got violent' types of situations where dude's were about to do something...but didn't. I'm saying this because these issues don't become pertinent until they hit close to home, so it's good to keep that in mind, too.

    Oh, and I also thought the beat was lacking, though the lyrics were good. :P Just thought I'd throw that in there.

    All in all, a great post. Come back from hiatus soon, TBR! :D