Let’s Talk About It: “Chris, Alicia and what their success says about you…”
I assure you that I am not just picking on Alicia or Chris, both of whom have God-given talent that I admire. They just so happen to be the latest example of two popular entertainers with a huge female base, but who also happen to be on the wrong side of two very important issues which affect women in a disproportionately negative way. Nonetheless, they suffer no backlash from those same women for their very public transgressions. This is all the more confusing when I consider the level of activism surrounding women’s issues popping up in the news and online daily. So, my question is why? Why do women continue supporting people who obviously don’t respect the collective values of the group?
A few week ago I watched this year’s MTV Video Music Awards in time to see Chris Brown collect two awards for his “Turn Up The Music” video, while Alicia Keys debuted “Girl On Fire” to an enthusiastic crowd. These two are obviously at the height of their careers with Chris Brown achieving his second number one album this past July on the Billboard 200 for the ‘FORTUNE’ album. Just last year he received his first number one album and a Grammy for the F.A.M.E album. Meanwhile Alicia is releasing the first single ‘Girl On Fire’ from her upcoming album of the same name. Her latest since 2009s double platinum the ‘Element of Freedom’ EP, which became her fourth multiplatinum release in a row. The album was supported by a world tour which carried her through 50 cities throughout North America, Europe and Africa. Both artists have never been more popular it seems, despite having what should have been public relation nightmares over the last few years.
Chris Brown’s alleged beating of Rihanna is well documented but occurred more than 3 years ago to be fair. But his reaction to that incident afterwards has been even more problematic. In 2011, two years after the incident and therapy to confront his anger issues, Chris appeared on Good Morning America to promote the F.A.M.E album release. He was asked about the recently lifted restraining order against him (agreed to by Rihanna), which he dismissed as a part of his past. He immediately began noting the release of his album that same day. After the interview he walked to his dressing room in the GMA studios and smashed through a window sending glass down along the street below in a fit of anger. He admitted to it and apologized for the trangression later that week during a BET interview. F.A.M.E went on to be the number one album in the country that week. Earlier this summer Chris tweeted out a thinly veiled insult of RIHANNA in the form of a freestyle over Kanye West’s ‘Way Too Cold’ track in which he states, “Don’t f**k wit my old b***h/Every N***a done had her/trick or treat like a pumpkin/ just to have her.” Rihanna un-followed him on Twitter the same day. Of course the latest and perhaps lamest by Chris is the recent tattoo on his neck of what appears to be a beaten women, explained away as a symbol of Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration.
Meanwhile Alicia Keys seems to have had a quieter existence over the past few years getting married and having her first child with Kasseem David Dean better known as star producer Swizz Beatz. The problem of course is that her marriage came on July 31, 2010; less than 3 months after her husband Swizz Beatz finalized his divorce from his first wife R&B songstress Mashonda, who accused Alicia of being a cause of the breakup. Alicia denied involvement however it should be noted that her son Egypt was born in October of 2010, placing the conception date as early as January of 2010. A full 5 months before Dean’s divorce from Mashonda, with whom Swizz has a 5 year old son Kasseem Jr.
The question of course is why is this important? In my opinion, at the very least we have the issues of domestic violence and a lack of repentance or sensitivity to it. Adultery and the lack of respect for a marriage, and the children involved is at play here. In one case, the perpetrator is a women and in both cases the victims are women (Rihanna and Mashonda). Public relation firms and publicist are employed by celebrities for the purpose of promoting their product and controlling what you see, hear and think about their clients. It’s obvious that your opinion counts and to them translates into sales of whatever they are selling. So, when your favorite artist does bad things and you support them still what are you saying?
Are you saying that you believe in forgiveness? Sounds wonderful, but I’m not sure either Alicia or Chris are looking for it since there has been no real apology or remorse. Are you saying that violence against women or interference in a marriage just isn’t that important to you in relation to who you actively support? If so, then are you consistent in that thought process when judging your friends, family, community leaders, national politicians or even your own boyfriend/husband? Perhaps you insist on separating the artistry from the person? Fair enough but does that disqualify you from ever being offended by anything presented to you under the guise of entertainment or art? What exactly are you saying with your consumer dollars and the attention you reward your favorite celebrities with? Remember that ladies when you’re condemning that no name rapper for his offensive lyrics while you hum that Alicia love song. If our mouths reveal what is in our hearts, then what are you saying is in yours when you’re humming the latest from Chris Breezy or Alicia?
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