There’s a very strange headline making its way around the internet, and few people seem to find it troublesome. In a recent interview Chris Brown spoke with the UK Guardian about a whole bunch of stuff, but casually mentioned that he lost his virginity at the ripe old age of...eight? And what’s worse, he brags about having lost it to a 14 or 15 year-old girl.
Brown goes on to say that even though eight sounds young, it’s totally different if you’re from the country (he’s from Virginia), and his experience prepared him to become the sexual ‘beast’ that he is now. Awkward. In fact, beyond awkward. Disturbing.
Clutch Magazine is the one place that seems to understand what this story really tells us about Chris Brown, as they’ve just published a piece aptly titled Chris Brown Did Not Lose His Virginity At 8 Years Old, He Was Raped At 8 Years Old. The fact that Chris Brown and media outlets everywhere are not seeing this story for what it is, is highly disturbing. We all know that a femme pop singer telling the same story -- and claiming to have lost her virginity at age eight -- would quickly be considered a victim of sexual abuse. Why do we assume that Chris Brown wasn’t?
This story tells us a lot about the way we understand (and misunderstand) gender and sexuality in our society, but it also speaks to a certain raging misogyny in hip-hop. Sure, Brown is an R&B artist, but the two worlds are not mutually exclusive and he is an active participant in hip-hop culture. This image of the young (in this case, very very young) black male, raging with hormones and sexual prowess is so problematic on so many levels. Because of this mentality, Brown is not fully aware of what happened to him, nor is he aware of the message he perpetuates when he tells this story. It’d be nice if we lived in a world where it was simply understood that losing one’s virginity at age eight -- regardless of one's gender -- is never, ever something to celebrate. As a pop star and as an icon to many young girls and boys (unfortunately), it would be nice if Chris Brown knew that too.