I’m Not Okay with Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys and I’m Not Sure Why You Are

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The Fall-out, and the Lack Thereof

In August 2009, Brown was sentenced to five years probation and 180 hours of community service after pleading guilty to felony assault.

In December 2009, he released his third studio album. It sold over 100,000 copies in its first week and debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts.

On June 8, 2010, Brown was forced to cancel his tour dates in the UK when the British Home Office refused to grant him a work visa on the grounds of “being guilty of a serious criminal offence”. Less than three weeks later, he performed ‘Man in the Mirror’ at the BET Awards’ tribute to Michael Jackson.

His fourth studio album, released in March of last year, debuted at #1.

In December 2011, Billboard crowned him their artist of the year.

And, this week, Grammy producers confirmed that Chris Brown will be performing on Sunday’s show.

“We’re glad to have him back,” said executive producer Ken Ehrlich. “I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.”

Read that quote again. Think hard about what is being said. Here is what this quote says to any woman who’s ever been abused:

  • By blacklisting Chris Brown from the Grammys for a “few” years (actually, a grand total of TWO Grammy Awards), the Grammys have gone above and beyond expectations for the social exile of an adult man who hit his girlfriend so hard she went to the hospital, and honestly it was really, really hard for them to show even that much support for victims of domestic violence worldwide.
  • It was rather thoughtless of Rihanna to go and get herself hit in the face by her boyfriend, because it’s put such a burden on the Grammys. Maybe if she hadn’t made such a big fuss out of it, things could have been easier for everyone.
  • The Grammys think that they were the victim of Chris Brown hitting Rihanna in the face.
  • The Grammys. Think. That they. Were the victim. Of Chris Brown. Hitting. Rihanna. In the face.

Hitting People Is Wrong, Y’All

I agree that people deserve a second chance. It’s great that we live in a country with a justice system that allows offenders to reclaim themselves and their lives after their sentence. I’m happy about that, and I hope Brown is a changed man at the end of his sentence. (The US justice system has Chris Brown on probation through 2014. It was nice of the Grammys to let him off a couple years early for high record sales good behavior.)

And my suspicion is that Rihanna has no interest in being a poster child for victims of domestic violence. She probably wishes this would all disappear, and I don’t blame her for a minute. She didn’t ask for this – for any of it – and she’s under no obligation to speak out about it.

But someone has to. Because what is happening here is unmistakable. It is, in my eyes, so unmistakable that I wonder if I’m wrong, if I’m missing something huge, because I cannot believe more voices aren’t railing against this.

We – the grown-up influencers in this country, the people with platforms and with educations and with power — are allowing a clear message to be sent to women: We will easily forgive a person who victimizes you. We are able to look beyond the fact that you were treated as less than human, that a bigger, stronger person decided to resolve a conflict with you through violence. We know it happened, but it’s just not that big of a deal to us.

We were so mad when the Komen Foundation pulled its funding for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. “This is not fair,” we shouted. “This is not fair to women, and this is not fair to the women who don’t have a voice, and we will not allow it.” We shouted it so loudly that Komen reversed its decision in three days. We forced the resignation of one of their top executives.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553690152 Madison Zraick

    Agreed. It’s not right and it is a big deal. This needs to matter to people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=516195042 Jennifer McIntyre

    I totally agree. I have boycotted anything Chris Brown since this incident. I don’t understand the entertainment industry just brushing it off and allowing him to continue to have a career. I equate it to a child doing something they aren’t supposed to and the parent laughing as they say “Oh, don’t do that.” It’s not funny, it’s not right, and it shouldn’t be happening. Will I watch the Grammys? Yes. Will I change the channel when they announce Chris Brown’s performance? Absolutely.

    • http://www.facebook.com/donjetaa.C.B Donjetaa Rbd

      So Fuckk yalllllll

    • http://www.facebook.com/melodicchaotic Michelle Donovan

      I’ll never watch the Grammys again. I mean, I’m sorry, but to me personally I am not willing to give my viewership to an awards ceremony run by people who apparently think THEY were the victims of this asshole hitting his girlfriend in the face. I have a huge problem with that, and if anything has cemented my opinion that the Grammys are about nothing more than record sales (god knows they’re not about talent), then this is it. I won’t support the Grammys in any way, shape or form from now on.

  • http://www.stilljennifer.com Jennifer Still

    The whole thing is, it’s not as if he’s ever shown any remorse, save for the ‘apology’ he gave months after the event which he was pretty much force-fed by his publicist. In addition, he’s continued to have violent outbursts, both homophobic and anger-related. Lest we forget the time he threw a chair through the windows at Good Morning America, ripping his shirt off like the Incredible Hulk when walking out the door because they had the nerve to ask him about hitting Rihanna. He’s also engaged in gay-bashing debates with one of the members of B2K, making fun of his apparent rape by the group’s manager on Twitter, among other incidents. He’s a disgusting human being, frankly, and I can’t believe any woman wants to be with him.

    I also don’t get how any mothers allow their teenage daughters to purchase his music and go insane over him like he’s the second coming. Way to teach your kids that domestic violence is okay, as long as someone is rich and makes catchy songs! “Team Breezy”, my ass.

    • http://www.facebook.com/t.simone.denn Tiffany Dennis

      Are you expecting a personal apology or something…he didn’t do anything to you. You don’t know how he feels. Did you talk to him when it happened…no. You just sat on the couch eating your bag of chips watching E news and getting some partial Hollywood story. Boo!!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509041028 Dakota Katherine M. Lloyd

        Are you a Chris Brown fan or something? I know I for one wasn’t sitting watching E! news, I was contacting my local radio stations, asking for them to boycott his music until he apologized. He has continued to be verbal abusive to other women on twitter. He IS a bad role model for the kids/teens of today.

  • Molly Franken

    I went into this piece thinking, ‘Enough already’. I don’t want to read another bit on Chris Brown or his constantly swirling controversies. But, I read it. And I’m glad I did. What a smart, fierce and necessary message. Sasha, thank you for articulating what women around the globe are truly worth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=798440053 Ashley Wilson

    Thank you so much for making the point that so many people have glossed over. Whether or not a celebrity relationship is our business (it’s technically not, in my opinion), if the media chooses to acknowledge the abuse, to then excuse his vile behavior is unthinkable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=759104898 Emily Losey

    Thank you for this! I literally gasped when I read the quote from Ken Ehrlich and I’m appalled that people aren’t enraged by his statement that HE was the victim in this situation. To me, it seems like such an obviously ignorant statement and I hope that others will begin to recognize that. I too hope that Chris Brown is a changed man, but unfortunately his past is not erased. Furthermore, on the larger scale, domestic violence in America goes unnoticed and is not discussed often enough which just gives victims the feeling of being completely alone in the matter.

    Again, thank you for this post! I’d love to see more like it on HelloGiggles, which is my site :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=759104898 Emily Losey

      My favorite site *

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2028364 Cecilia Amador

    Loved your post. I was just thinking the same thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9101386 M.C. Silver

    Thank you so much for writing this post. Usher was right in pointing out that Chris Brown has not showed any remorse, so why are we somehow “supporting’ his “comeback”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcelle.karp Marcelle Ruby Karp

    Gawkers headline a few days ago: Chris brown to celebrate abuse anniversary by performing at the Grammys

    Thank you for this post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=65800494 Meredith Bagdazian


  • http://www.facebook.com/amor.crespo Amorette Crespo

    thank you so much for being the voice of reason and using your platform to say what the rest of us are thinking!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielascrima Daniela Scrima

    It really sends a message, not just the message “it’s okay to hit women” but you can still totally be the man, Chris Brown, and have a great anniversary where everyone claps their hands for your performance. He should have to perform with that photo as his back drop instead of dancers. I wouldn’t expect him to turn a performance down, but you’d expect more from the people putting this together.

  • http://www.facebook.com/INTJadis Simon Delott

    Every time that something positive or supportive of Chris Brown shows up in the Trending Topics, I feel outrage. I do not understand why anyone at all would like him, but I CERTAINLY do not understand why people putting together an event would even CONSIDER inviting him. Domestic violence is evil, and our world is full of it. We should show that someone who has committed such a heinous act can never, ever be tolerated or accepted, ever again. Otherwise, the message conveyed is a disturbing one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1304280451 Holly Harris Scheer

    I totally agree with your post. It is outrageous!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TRUCHAaaaa Stormaggedon Ozymandias

    I agree , this makes me so angry , we should not let this issue go , it was and it is a big deal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202111753 Stef Williams

    Chris Brown is going to perform on the Grammys because people will be angry about it and will talk about it prior to and afterwards for weeks. Also, there are a whole lot of people in the world who simply do not care about the situation and never did. Rhianna secretly dated him after “the beating her ’round the world” and has been linked to him in recent months. If we all stop talking about him and all of the other crappy celebrities out there who don’t deserve to be famous for being crappy people, they might slowly begin to disappear.

    Also, Lindsay Lohan’s opinion on any matter besides cocain, booze, jail and horrible career choices, doesn’t matter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1474200029 Sara Troupe

    this article made my day. thank you for writing this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=265501282 Natalie Borriello

    I could write for years about how absolutely fantastic this post is but you have already put it so well…I applaud your voice! I wrote a similar post at http://bellaluna.blogspot.com but seriously on behalf of women everywhere…thank you

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=265501282 Natalie Borriello

    I could write for years about how absolutely fantastic this post is but you have already put it so well…I applaud your voice! I wrote a similar post at http://miabellaluna.blogspot.com but seriously on behalf of women everywhere…thank you

  • http://www.facebook.com/msfefebaby FeFe Monroe

    Hollywood is obsessed with what other people SHOULD do. Everyone knows that what he did was wrong. But you can’t hold this dark cloud over his head for the rest of his life. All Chris Brown can do is move on with the rest of his life and you guys are acting like he should just quit his career and disappear. So far, he hasn’t gotten into any more arrests, he doesn’t do drugs, and he is still making great music. What else do you want him to do, die? Even Rihanna forgave him. Just move on, this whole HATE CHRIS BROWN shit is beyond tired

    • molls

      Yes, I can hold a dark cloud above his head his whole life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dasha.briqueleur Dasha Briqueleur

      Wanna bet? I’ll hold a dark cloud over him as long as I please. He’s never been sorry for what he did, he’s never sought help for what he did and he’s not making great music and never did. And even if he was, it’s not a get out of jail free card. People were more mad at Michael Vick, and Vick showed contrition and apologized for what he did. I don’t know why you think that people who beat their girlfriends should be forgiven because you’re sick of people hating on them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jellenporter Jenn Porter

      If he had been a normal, average, every day guy… he would have to give up his career and hang his head in shame for life. That’s what abusive people get to do. She forgave him because of her preconceived notions of him before the event. That she had loved him. He should have to give up his life, like every other man that abuses a woman or child should as well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=599044281 Heidi Mijatov

      You know, this whole HATE WOMEN shit is tired. Let’s get *that* fixed, and then I’ll think about possibly caring about an abusive, unrepentant man-boy who throws violent, hateful, dangerous tantrums when he doesn’t get his way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stepharchie Stephanie Archibald

      I’m sorry, he doesn’t do drugs? You’re putting the crime of drug taking on the same level as domestic violence? I would have a lot more respect for him if it was just drugs.

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