Monday, February 9, 2009

Domestic Violence and the Dame

There's a new face of domestic violence. Over the weekend Chris Brown and his long time girlfriend Rihanna got into a fight that supposedly left the singer bruised and battered. I remember how the story broke. It all began with the Grammy pre-show on E! with Ryan Seacrest. While Seacrest was speaking, he was interrupted with some important news. The story was that Chris Brown wouldn't be performing because he had been in an unfortunate domestic incidence with a female who was in his car the previous night [Chris Brown and Rihanna both attended an event hosted by Clive Davis on the night of the alleged incidence]. A few minutes later, Seacrest then announced that Rihanna wouldn't be performing at the Award show as well. For anyone who remotely reads any gossip blogs, it's easy to guess whom the unidentified female was. There's no Chris Brown without Rihanna and vice-versa.

I'm not sure when the entire Chris Brown Rihanna relationship began, however, I have been disturbed by their relationship for as long as I can remember. For one, Chris Brown and Rihanna are constantly together and have been so for the last year and half or perhaps more if I remember correctly. When Rihanna went on tour last summer Chris accompanied her. Further, I am constantly forced to endure stories and pictures of the two traipsing around the continent. I don't want to sound like the bitter old aunt, but I always wondered where the parents were in the picture. I understand that Chris Brown is supposedly "a country boy from Tappahannock, [Virginia]" and princess RiRi as she is fondly called by Perez Hilton is a Bajan idol. Chris is from a single parent home and his mother resides in Virginia and RiRi's folks are miles away in Barbados. It's understandable that their parents have other concerns besides their children's careers, but they are two of the biggest stars I know whose families have been totally out of the picture. Michael Jackson's parents were a constant presence early in his career. Same with Beyonce, Usher, Brandy, Miley Cyrus, the Jonas brothers, Lindsay Lohan and a bunch of other celebrities.

Not all of these celebrities turned out right, however, the argument can be made that having that parental presence was reassuring even if the parents were train wrecks; Joseph Simpson and Joseph Jackson prime example of cabooses that lost their minds. For as long as I've known Rihanna and Chris Brown, there have been almost no references and few sightings of their parents. I've seen pictures of them in pools in far away lands, partying in clubs in Europe, and jumping all around the continental United States. They are often photographed drinking alcohol even though neither of them is of legal drinking age and just engaging in all sorts of cavalier behavior. I know it's different because they are celebrities, but somehow, I believe they got carried away with their fame and forgot they were still young adults and teenagers who may have missed out on a "normal life" because they found fame and fortune too soon. Thanks to Michael Jackson and Britney Spears we've all become acquainted with the so called "Arrested Development" syndrome and its devastating effects.

It's unfortunate because these two suffer from mild AR and adding to their angst, they seem like they are constantly left to their own devices. I am not in any way advocating that Rihanna deserved to be abused by Chris Brown, but I am making the point that perhaps parents should reconsider their roles, even more so when their children are thrust in the spotlight. Several teenagers and young adults get abused regularly by their love interests even with parents present, but the Chris and RiRi saga was just totally crazy. I'm reminded of Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears all over again and we all know how unpleasant that episode was. Now, there's a battered young lady who's being labeled victim and a young man whose better days may be behind him. Given the times we live in I'd expect them to know better. We live in the age of MTV's "Parental Control," and if that's any indication of a sign of the times, it's only going to go down hill from here.

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