When I woke up this morning, I was looking forward to blogging about any one of the many happy, light, optimistic topics that we chat about on this site. Maybe a new Bachelorette recap! Or how about some crazy new romance app? It’s about time that I make fun of Becky about something…
But instead, I woke up to countless emails and news reports about Chris Brown bawling at last night’s BET Awards. He danced, he cried, he made a pathetic (but seemingly effective) attempt to resurrect his career. And yet again, I feel compelled to take time out of my – and your – busy schedule to address the insane level of bullshit surrounding this story.
Trust me, I would love nothing more than to never devote another moment of my life to the discussion of men who publicly humiliate and, in this case, ASSAULT women and then are practically begged by the media to redeem themselves. But as a member of the strong, empowered generation of women that we love to reference here at WTF?!, I can’t NOT say something about the way this is being treated by the media and, in turn, accepted by the general public (as displayed by Brown’s win of last night’s “Fandemonium” award, which was voted on by fans…he still has fans?!).
I get it – the guy released some great songs, he sure can dance, and goodness knows that Jill and Kevin’s wedding dance touched my sentimental little heart. But then Chris Brown chose to beat up Rihanna – and thereby CHOSE to screw up his career. Done. Afterwards, he spent a year mechanically reading his publicist-drafted sorta-apologies on TV and whining on Twitter because stores weren’t featuring his latest album front and center. Too bad, buddy – better luck next lifetime. Some things are inexcusable and should take you out of the pop star running for good. Things that sound like this excerpt from the police report detailing his assault on Rihanna:
“…he punched her in the left eye with his right hand…Brown, 19, allegedly told her, ‘I’m going to beat the s— out of you when we get home. You wait and see!’…’Now I’m really going to kill you.’ Brown bit Rihanna and put her in a headlock…”
Oh, I know, I know – those headlines are SO 2009! So let’s take a look at the Chris Brown press popping up today:
“2010 BET Awards Belong To Chris Brown, Alicia Keys And Prince…Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Eminem shined the brightest among the star-filled Shrine Auditorium…Brown put out a sizzling tribute to Michael Jackson…The embattled R&B star’s take on “Man in the Mirror” was measured and emotional, tugging at the hearts of many as Brown broke down during the song’s refrain.” – MTV News
“Chris Brown picked up an award and performed an emotional Michael Jackson tribute at the Black Entertainment TV (BET) awards in Los Angeles.” – BBC News
“It was comeback night at the BET Awards…most unexpected was Chris Brown, who offered an emotional tribute to Michael Jackson…Brown embodied the King of Pop… It was a moving moment made even more so by the song’s lyrics and his own recent past.” – Washington Post
“Chris Brown Sobs Backstage After Brilliant Performance…Chris Brown is back!…Chris, consider “Man in the Mirror” your official “Redemption Song.” – HollywoodLife.com
“Diddy, Trey Songz Applaud Chris Brown’s Emotional BET Awards Performance…Folks had nothing but love for Chris Brown…”You know who stole my heart tonight?” [Taraji P.] Henson asked. “Chris Brown!” answered Diddy, host Queen Latifah, BET personality Tigger and a group of others in near-unison. “He was so vulnerable,” Henson continued. “I love you, Chris!”…Trey Songz, said, “Chris killed that. He left his heart on the stage. He gave genuine emotion. I was proud of him and I was happy for him for having that moment.” – MTV News (again!)
“…a lot of folks were getting misty-eyed, understanding that he was overwhelmed with emotion…Me, personally, I think ‘Man in the Mirror’ was great for him to do because I’m sure he still feels bad about Rihanna and wants to be forgiven. He has to make that change himself for himself and he knows that.” – statement from BET publicist Zabrina Horton
Even traditionally snarky TMZ, who covered every second of the Rihanna case and was responsible for leaking the horrifying photo of her bruised and battered face, seems afraid to actually take a stand and call a spade a spade this time around, focusing instead on Brown’s always-impressive-but-ultimately-beside-the-point dance moves:
“After about four minutes of some of the best Michael Jackson inspired dancing you will see, Chris Brown broke down crying on stage during the BET Awards tonight. The waterworks start around 4:30 mark if that’s what you’re into — but seriously, his dance routine before that was amazing. He started crying right as he got to the “Man in the Mirror” portion of the medley. Coincidence?” – TMZ
So what’s next? A Comedy Central Roast for Ike Turner? A parenting reality show directed by Woody Allen? Why are we acting like all of this is okay?! Why is the media so quick to offer redemption to these men who don’t deserve it? And why is the only sane voice of reason coming from The Superficial, a site whose popularity is based primarily on boobs and bikinis and photos of underage girls? (Full Disclosure: In all seriousness, I’m pretty sure that the Superficial writer and I are soulmates.)
“Oh, Now Chris Brown Cries”
“Because every pedophile should be honored by a moonwalking woman-beater, Chris Brown performed a tribute to Michael Jackson at the BET Awards Sunday night where he broke down crying at the beginning of “Man in the Mirror.” Which would almost be touching until you remember Chris Brown was a goddamn robot during his public apology for bashing Rihanna’s face into a car door and trying to bite her ear off.”
And this morning:
“Chris Brown’s Forgiven, Everybody”
“Apparently we live in a world populated entirely by amnesiacs with Down Syndrome, because people cannot shut up this morning about how Chris Brown is “back” after his teary-eyed Michael Jackson tribute at the BET Awards… Thanks to these marvels of the human condition, I now know it’s perfectly acceptable to beat the shit out of a woman provided you bust out a sweet dance number after the fact. It’s almost genius when you think about it, except don’t or your brain will literally light itself on fire.”
So what can we do about all of this? Maybe not a lot. But Becky and I have a blog, and goddamit, we’re going to use it. We may be only two small voices shouting against the Chris Brown resurrection parade, but those are two less voices playing into the media’s dangerous willingness to look the other way when it comes to certain powerful men and their repulsive treatment of the women in their lives.
Chris Brown, welcome to the WTF?! Wall of Shame. Meet your fellow Wallmates, and know that despite your media-touted comebacks, most women (and many men) our age think you suck. May we call you out here and then never have to acknowledge your existence again:
Eliot Spitzer – Illegally banged a prostitute the age of his daughters, publicly humiliating them and his wife. Soon to be an anchor on a primetime CNN show!
Al Gore – Potentially cheated on his wife of 40 years with the producer of his global warming documentary. Now, an Oregon massage therapist is claiming he sexually assaulted her in 2006. Here’s hoping this is all bullshit, but in the quick-to-judge court of public opinion, Tipper’s another wife and mother being publicly humiliated by sordid scandals, while Al polishes that Nobel Peace Prize on his wall.
Jesse James – The mistresses were bad enough, but all that Nazi paraphernalia? You’re an asshole AND you’re creepy as f**k.
Lawrence Taylor – I wonder if he showed the 16-year-old prostitute his Hall of Fame plaque and Super Bowl rings before he statutory raped her in a Holiday Inn?
John Edwards – Lied to his wife, lied to his mistress, lied to his supporters, lied to the media, lied to his country. And somehow thought he could outsmart a paternity test. But oh, that hair! Can’t wait to see him back on the ballot someday.
Ben Roethlisberger – After a few suspensions, a public apology “for being immature, for being dumb, for being young,” and a surprise visit to a kids camp, this guy has left the sexual assault charges behind and is back on track for another national football title. Here We Go…
Tiger Woods – The booty calls. The prostitutes. The text messages. Public humiliation of the wife. He’s done it all – but is still going for that sporting comeback with relative impunity.
Thanks for this legacy, guys. The media may be on your side, but Becky and I are done with you.
Jess is the co-creator of Dating & Hookup, alongside her childhood best friend Becky Lynch, and is the author of the book - yep! - Dating & Hookup. She never tires of hearing your post-dating stories. She wants you to enjoy your love life, and is full of advice on how to do so.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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