The subspecies of the human race that can be accurately defined as right-minded has been perfectly clear how it feels about Chris Brown: not on board. On the topic of Rihanna reconciling with the ink-stained hip hop artist following his brutal physical attack on her, we’ve expressed our disappointment and outrage; when Screen Gems distributed a film (Battle of the Year) that featured the 24-year-old gremlin in a starring role, we took issue; and when there is support of any kind for the proponent of self-serving nihilism, we have all agreed to stand in unified opposition. And as such, we’ve tossed a few points by way of anyone who has stood against Brown in any form — a recent soldier in this war being fellow rapper Drake, with whom Brown came to blows in a bar in 2012 over the issue of mutual ex-girlfriend Rihanna. But what is it about Brown that has the victims of his venemous assault opting to “forgive and forget”? We hear now that Drake, a year after the aforesaid incident, is collaborating with Brown on the artist’s upcoming album X, as reported by Us magazine.
And so, as in the case of any compromise of a figure we feel strongly about, we’re conflicted. Privately, turning the other cheek is usually a commendable choice. Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Hammurabi, Fred Rogers… all the big ones thought it was a pretty decent way to go. But the dilemma with the likes of Drake, Rihanna, will.i.am, and every other spotlit figure who decides to deem the artist’s acts of deplorable violence, for which he has never truly repented or expressed genuine remorse (at least publicly), a thing of the past, sends the message to young people that such behaviors are admissable. It tells young men that they can get away with beating their girlfriends, and young women that they shouldn’t “hold a grudge” against the men who lay hands on them in this way.
And this leads to the question of how to feel about the forgivers. We cast stones at Rihanna for not holding up to her position as a role model — whether she likes it or not, she is a figure that many people look up to. And maybe we’ll do the same with Drake, lamenting his decision to succumb to the calls of X, for whatever creative interest or fiscal promise has led him to do so. But how harshly can we really judge anybody whose biggest crime is letting go of his or her hostility toward another human being and choosing to believe that he has changed for the better?
It’s a tricky ordeal, the lot of it. But as we are often called to simplify the traits and decisions of the celebrity populace, we conclude that we’d far rather see “the good guys,” Drake included in that lot, stand strong against individuals like Brown. The less support we give to someone like him, the less excusable his behaviors come across to those looking to these figures with idolizing eyes. And arguably more important than finding the good in one man is showcasing the bad in his terrible actions.