EDIT: Oh good, it looks like she’ll be appearing on a remix of HIS new single too.
There have already been plenty of responses (like my friend Sam Lansky‘s excellent take on the situation for XOJane), but I thought it necessary to explain why this song won’t be appearing on MuuMuse.
Putting Chris Brown on a Rihanna song is an irresponsible, reckless stunt that teaches that after biting, choking and beating a woman to a pulp, begrudgingly appearing in court and going out partying the same night, calling Raz B a faggot, throwing a chair out the window in an anger-induced rage at Good Morning America, calling a LAPD policewoman and paparazzi members “gay” and “weak” after receiving a parking ticket, ranting on Twitter about ‘haters’ and inspiring women to tweet ‘jokes’ about being willing to get punched to date him (see all of this and more in picture form at Buzzfeed), Chris Brown should still be exalted as a “comeback hero” of sorts, win a Grammy and be featured on a song with the same woman he beat senseless less than three years ago.
For me, it’s not just that he hit Rihanna (which, don’t get me wrong, is more than enough already)–it’s that he’s only continued to prove that he’s nothing more than a douche. Where’s the humility? Trust me: I understand forgiveness. I don’t think someone should be marked by their past crimes forever. (It’s a crime, by the way–whenever people label the beating “a mistake,” I cringe.)
What I don’t understand is turning a blind eye to relentless acts of fuckery: Even if he’s genuinely sorry in private (which none of us can speak to), it’s Brown’s behavior in public that has shown him to be remorseless, homophobic, misogynistic and explosively out of control.
Perhaps I’m just not “forgiving” enough to understand why putting Chris Brown on a smutty club banga about fucking is an enlightened move. Or maybe it’s somehow anti-feminist of me to suggest that Rihanna shouldn’t be allowed to endorse someone that beat the living shit out of her. If that makes me short-sighted, so be it.
All I know is that if Rihanna were my own sister, I’d be running into the studio now to set fire to the recordings of his guest verse and take her far, far away from him. Honestly? I’m not even a little sorry about that.
Right now, Rihanna is loudly yelling her lyrics as thinly-veiled responses to the situation on Twitter: “They can say whatever, Ima do whatever… No pain is forever <-----YUP! YOU KNOW THIS" and "Go head talk shit...its all in da paper!!! Lemme grab my dick while ya sit on top!!!" It's not exactly helping to position her decision as...intelligent. Instead, it's making me feel really sad for her--there is no positive lesson to be learned from this collaboration. As for me, I won't be supporting this release. It's very upsetting to me, given that "Birthday Cake" was easily a favorite off of Talk That Talk. (Please note: I’m not telling anyone to support or boycott this song. Who am I to be telling anyone what to do? The decision is yours.)
I’m not giving up on her. I’ll always love her as an artist, but I simply cannot support something so explicitly ignorant.
Rihanna can forgive. It’s her life and her choice. I don’t have to forget. That’s mine.