Georgina Guedes

16 Days of Activism closing ceremony: Chris Brown

2012-11-29 14:02

Georgina Guedes

This week, Chris Brown said some things on Twitter to Jenny Johnson, a US comedienne. They were nasty things. Graphic, angry, sickening things. I have scanned through them to find one that gives a sense of what he said while still being publishable in polite circles, and there isn't one, but if you want to take a look, you can, here.

Granted, she goaded him - which seems to be the general purpose of her Twitter feed - but his response was not acceptable no matter what the person on the receiving end had said. His rant makes it clear that anger and violence are an intrinsic part of his makeup.

As if we needed further evidence. In 2009, Brown beat then-possibly-now-again-girlfriend Rihanna to a soggy pulp. The police report from the assault has surfaced, revealing details this (which I will publish):

"Robyn F. [Rihanna] turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.'s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle. Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, 'I'm going to beat the sh- out of you when we get home! You wait and see!'"

This isn't the least of it. What follows is a gruelling report of strangling, biting and punching being rained down on Rihanna's entire body. This isn't someone getting so provoked that he lashes out in a moment of blind rage. This is someone who brutally continued to mete out physical abuse after hitting a woman so hard that her mouth filled with blood.

So, nice guy? No. Not so much. Can he sing? Yes he can, if you like that sort of thing.

He's coming to South Africa to do just that. His concert dates are, rather ironically, scheduled just after the conclusion of the 16 Days of Activism Gender Violence - because you know, the abuse of women is quite a pressing issue in South Africa. In fact, after the serious business of activism is over, we can lighten up by going to the concert and chucking our panties at a known woman abuser. No conflict there.

There are plenty talented people who do terrible things. Brown isn't the only one. We can't deny that he's good at making music. And if he had a catchy tune that I liked, I might find myself singing along from time to time. But there's a huge distinction between liking a song and attending a worship-concert to say you've been in the presence of his awesome person.

He's already had to cancel his concert in Guyana because he was made uncomfortable by protests by women's groups there. Points to them. However, in South Africa, while many groups are making similar protests, many women are also speaking out in his defence.

We hear cries of it being none of our business, or if Rihanna's forgiven him, why can't we? Rihanna will have to deal with the fall-out from her own choices. I think that if Brown had given the slightest acknowledgement that what he did was a bad thing, beyond obliquely referring to it in one of his songs, getting a questionable tattoo of a beaten woman on his neck, and jumping in proverbial fists first in a Twitter war with a woman, acceptance by his fans could be on the cards.

But to continue to idolise a man who has boldly pinned his colours to the mast shows an inherent lack of sympathy to the plight of abused women all around the world. Those of you who think it doesn't matter what he did should pay some attention to the stories emerging during the 16 Days of Activism.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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