Rihanna and Chris Brown’s Toxic Attraction

Why RiRi and Chris Breezy’s shocking reunion is, sadly, not that shocking.

GOOD GIRL GONE BAD BOY: Rihanna and Chris Brown perform during a 2008 concert. In 2009 Brown brutally assaulted Rihanna, his then girlfriend, on the eve of the Grammy Awards. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Newscom).

As a woman who is closer to 40 than to 30, I’m a bit annoyed at myself that I’m writing about R&B and pop sensations Chris Breezy, aka Chris Brown, and his kinda former girlfriend RiRi, aka Rihanna, who just celebrated her 24th birthday.

But as a woman who has loved wrong more than once and has lived to tell about it, I feel I ought to offer my thoughts in the frenzied Internet discourse that has erupted following the recent musical collaborations of the abuser and the victim of his abuse. In case you are not an Internet fiend as I am or don’t have the music of Chris Brown and Rihanna on your iPod playlist, let me update you.

On Monday, Rihanna’s birthday, she, without the official backing of her music label, released via Twitter a remix to her sadomasochistic song “Birthday Cake” which features Chris Brown on the vocals. On the very same day, Chris Brown tweeted his remix to his song “Turn Up the Music,” featuring Rihanna without the official backing of his label. This would be oh-so twenty-something cute if Chris Brown would have not have assaulted Rihanna right around this time of the year three years ago on the eve of the Grammy Awards. And if their music reunion is not enough, it has been reported that the two are seeing secretly seeing each other again and have been for some time.

But for Chris Brown and Rihanna fans, their reunion, whether in public or private or both, is probably not a complete surprise. Although a restraining order was filed against Brown following the assault, last year the restraining order was reduced per her request, and the two began following each other on Twitter as well. And in her 2010 collaboration with rapper Eminem in “Love the Way You Lie” Rihanna co-signs on the dichotomy of pleasure and pain in an abusive relationship.

So what does a woman hopefully old enough to know better make of all us? The sometimes repentant celebrity gossipmonger in me is like, “That’s so juicy!” And to get people talking (and buying) may be their ultimate goal in these collaborations. But I don’t think that is all there is to it.

The woman who knows what is it like to choose someone who is not good for you is dismayed to see a young girl go through this life lesson so very publicly. To be clear, lest my parents read this somehow, no man has never, evah, evah laid his hands on me. But I have dated men that I knew were not the best choices — in spite of what others may have thought.

I’m not a star and so I’m not obligated to spill all of the details of my missteps, but I will reveal this: until the pain is greater than the pleasure of dating the bad boy, there is very little that can be done. I just hope that those who love Rihanna will pray that she be released from the seemingly magnetic force that is attracting her to Chris Brown before he shows his bad side again.

And it is not the first time that Rihanna reunited with Chris Brown. In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Rihanna revealed why she went back to him AFTER the incident in February 2009. “It’s completely normal to go back. It’s not right. I learned the hard way, but again, this is what I want people to know,” she said. “When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part. I couldn’t be held responsible for going back.”

And it’s not that I think Chris Brown is the devil or anything, but he was wrong and more plainly horrifically abusive. And while three years have gone by since the altercation, I’m not sufficiently convinced that Brown is truly repentant for his actions or even fully aware of the gravity of those actions. In spite of the incident, I wanted to root for Chris Brown because he’s cute, can sing, and can dance like Michael Jackson. But his meltdown on Good Morning America, where he reportedly broke a window at the television studio, ripped off his shirt and walked the streets of New York like some escaped animal after being asked a question about the Rihanna incident did not convey maturity or anger management. (He was ordered to take anger management classes following the incident.)

The truth of the matter is sometimes it takes a few bumps on the head — literally and figuratively — and counseling before you finally and truly understand that love does not inflict harm. A thorough examination of 1 Corinthians 13 wouldn’t hurt either. Hopefully, Rihanna and other women — both young and old — will learn this lesson soon enough to celebrate more birthdays.

About the author, Jacqueline J. Holness

Jacqueline J. Holness is a preacher’s kid, a preacher’s grandkid, and a preacher’s niece who blogs at afterthealtarcall.com. She is also the author of After the Altar Call: The Sisters’ Guide to Developing a Personal Relationship With God.
  1. It seems if one is to believe most media outlets, Rihanna by normalizing relations with Chris Brown has ostensibly sent a message that domestic violence is okay, but that may be further from the truth when in reality these two entertainers live distinct lives and have not sought to be romantically involved with each other again. It just may well be that Rihanna has gotten over the incident of 3 years ago and is simply forging a high profile collaboration that both her and Chris Brown are aware will keep them in the public eye which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you’re in the business of selling your public image.

    What though is interesting is the high benchmark we have placed on Rihanna to play moral ideals when perhaps it might be more useful to look within ourselves instead.

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2012/02/chris-brown-and-rihanna-skillful-manipulators-or-just-plain-stupid/

  2. Its not so much Chris’ domestic violence against Rihanna as it is the spiritual violence that the music industry has unleashed on her. Rihanna has been marketed to us as highly provocative in every way – she brandishes gun tatts, she open her legs on stage, she smoke blunts in public, wearing dominatrix attire – everything is about shock value in terms of how she’s marketed. She’s being pimped mercilessly by the music industry. So now reconnect her and Chris and shock even more. Shes fast coming up on empty for all this shock is no longer very shocking. Then they will toss her away like a dirty rag. We dont cry for her at all, we dont rescue, we dont intervene, we have no compassion for her. So much money is being made so it must be right.

    • Anna Renee,

      She does seem to be intentionally marketing herself in a shocking way…Is it her or is it marketing? Not that she’s to blame for Chris attacking her…but she seems to be headed in a dangerous direction with or without him…