Thank You Rihanna For Being Open About Chris Brown, Even If Some People Still Don’t Get It

August 20, 2012  |  


Watching Rihanna talk to Oprah on OWN’s “Next Chapter” special last night, it was almost as though the cameras weren’t even rolling. It took nothing but Oprah to ask Rihanna about herself, her grandmother, and of course, Chris Brown, for her to completely open up in one of the most honest and introspective interviews the “good girl gone bad” has probably given since she talked to Diane Sawyer following the former couple’s domestic incident in 2009.

Though this next statement may come back to haunt me next time I have to write about a rumor concerning these two, what I appreciated about Rihanna candidness was that in my mind she put an end to the Chris Brown speculation. Does she still love him? Are they still dating? Do they still hang out? Has she forgiven him? The answers were yes across the board and it was quite courageous of her to admit those things amidst the scrutiny of her fans, and especially her haters, Breezy’s fans and haters, the general public, and domestic violence organizations who have already bashed her for being honest.

When I listened to Rihanna say she repaired her relationship with her father and was subsequently able to forgive Chris, and her admission that the two of them had forgotten self-discipline and needed something to slow them down, I felt I was listening to a woman who had learned from her experience. A woman who was finally able to make sense of the incident and who knew that Chris’s lashing out was a sign of a much deeper problem that she may or may not have provoked. I felt it was a declaration of who she was at 24 years old in 2012 in relation to Chris brown and their 2009 altercation and I appreciated her bravery in doing so and giving the media no more rumors to speculate about. She laid the truth out there, like it or not.

Of course, there were indeed some people who didn’t like it at all, namely domestic violence organizations. EurWeb picked up two statements on the matter, one from Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of the Women’s Resource Center, who said yesterday:

“Rihanna’s case demonstrates the emotional complexities felt by women locked in abusive relationships. It is common for victims to blame themselves for violence perpetrated by their male partners. Whatever the nature of the argument, [Brown] chose to beat her up. He has to accept responsibility for that choice. And we need to stop society allowing us to normalize such behavior.”

Another woman, Erin Pizzey, an advocate who is credited for pioneering aid for abused women by setting up Britain’s first refuge center for victims, added:

“This sends out a very dangerous message to teenagers that roller-coaster relationships with violence-prone personalities are edgy and exciting. They’re not. The relationship is toxic and unhealthy. Both are in need of help and that is the message that young people should be receiving.”

I wonder if these women skipped past the part in Rihanna’s interview when she said she had no desire to be a role model, not just so she could wile out and live that thug life she tatted on her, but because of the pedestal that comes along with being a role model and the expectation of perfection.

I liken Rihannas reaction to this situation to the reason I believe certain celebrities choose to never come out and declare their homosexuality. Once you do that you’re automatically expected to be a spokesperson for some cause (like same-sex marriage rights) and consequently you are criticized if you don’t. People are expecting Rihanna to say her relationship with Chris is irrevocably broken and that she is the face of domestic violence when in her mind she is the furthest thing from. As she said, she never wanted to be a victim and she never wanted to be defined by this situation . Unfortunately, there’s little she can do to change the media’s obsession toward the latter point but she doesn’t have to relive that incident everyday just because a few nonprofits would like her to. That’s not her platform and we have no choice but to accept that. Sadly in this day and age, there are many other pop culture and entertainment icons teens in potentially violent relationships can look up to for examples of women who have survived abuse and cut all ties with their abuser. Let’s stop putting that pressure on Rihanna.

As the pop singer said in her interview no one was more hurt by the events that transpired after Clive Davis’ Grammy party that Saturday night three years ago and  no one will experience the positive or negative consequences of maintaining a friendship with Chris like she will. Though many believe the “once an abuser always an abuser” mantra, if that’s true of Chris Brown, it remains to be seen. The bottom line is Rihanna has to live with her choices and she hasn’t asked anyone else to cosign or support her in doing so. It’s her life, and she has to live it.

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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  • AJ

    People who want to judge Rihanna negatively obviously haven’t been in an abusive relationship themselves.

  • Loz

    Enjoyed reading the article but i do disagree with the sentiment.
    Its so boring to hear in interviews this “i dont wanna be a role model” rubbish. She may not choose to be a role model but she is to those young uns who look up to her and and by using this disclaimer she gets to act out however. This is the career she CHOSE, no one forced her to be a celeb, everyone knows what being a celeb is about. No one forces her to put every single thought that she has, to all her fans on twiiter and then turn around and say don’t watch me I’m not a role model!!? When the incident happened she said nothing……nothing, then started she to do interviews about it timed precisely with new album releases.There is just something suspect to me about her not wanting to discuss it at all and having a sudden change of heart when her new album is about to drop (Google)
    Obviously she’s entitled to talk about her experiences whenever and with whoever but i do agree with the ladies from the domestic abuse charities….the message (whether she’s trying to send one or not) could be damaging to young minds and instead of giving out disclaimers take responsibility for your actions.

  • WhoMe

    Glad she gave the interview. Seems like a down to earth person. Deep down she a good girl. Wish i could buy my mom a house like she did

  • J

    She’s very brave to be so honest. And she made Chris Brown sound like a human being with redeeming qualities who did a very bad thing. i don’t particularly like either of them as artists, but lets all continue to pray for their growth. it would be sad for them and for the rest of us if if there is no hope for abusers and the abused.

  • Nehemiah53

    The type of people who don’t get it are hypocrisy, phonies, liars, void of understanding, male haters and have a political agenda.

  • Nisa

    Excellent article!!! I was on the fence about RiRI the person, not the entertainer. After the interview, I really, really, really like this young lady. While she thought of Chris she also knew it was not where she needed to be with both of their issues. That is the message the abuse organizations should be picking up on. Of course young girls everywhere will interpret what she said differently. Not her fault at all. The wold wants US to condemn Chris forever for one mistake he made as a teeenager. We cannot buy into that regardless of what is put in the media about his behavior. He has not put his hands on another woman in that way so why the constant condeming. If he does it again, then and only then should this become a media circus that he should have to deal but not after what happened. This young lady is awesome and living her life like she could have never dreamed. Live on RiRi to the fullest!!

  • ShaD1!

    Well said they both are young so I agree leave her alone and let her live her life. It is her life and she have one life to live. PEACE OUT!

  • Jordanos

    I experienced domestic violence for the first time ever right around the same time as the Rhianna CB incident…. we had a running joke that we would never be like them until one day, we were. I respect rhianna so much for everything she has been thru… but my respect for her just doubled after watching this interview. She said that while everyone was worried about her, she felt bad that no one was worreid about him… who is going to help him? That was such a powerful statement and someting I can totally relate to. No one can speak on this until they have been thru it with someone you truly love. You dont stop loving them the moment they lay hands on you.

  • DoinMe

    I’m glad she gave the real, human side of this interview instead of the PR version. Neither one of them have been the same since this incident, so it’s obvious that they loved each other a lot. Hopefully, this interview will bring closure for them and the public and they will truly start to heal. (Oprah is still the queen of interviews!)

  • I was actually
    impressed by her. I never cared to know too much about her but I found
    her interview to be surprisingly humble and sweet. She was very honest
    about her feelings even if they are unpopular or not easily understood
    by others. Her comments about Chris Brown really make me think much more
    of her as a person. Oprah is truly the best that ever did it. She
    guided that convo to be very revealing yet respectful of Rihanna and her
    feeilins as a young woman. She brings out the best in people. Looking
    forward to Gabby Douglas.

  • klassyRN

    I hav 2 beautiful children and two beautiful grandchildren as a result of my ex… I cant deny what I felt or what we had.. but one bad night turned our family upside down… as much as I hate what happened to my family in the blink of an eye.. I loved myself and my children more.. I walked away for myself and to let them know its not okay… do I miss him.. more than I can say at times… but its been almost 15 years and Ive never looked back.. we are in a good place… but it will never be like it was… we are still a family when we need to be.. and from that no one can take that away.. to do that would mean pretending my girls and my grandson’s didnt exist… he will always have my heart and I do love him.. but I love him from afar…. you cannot simply turn off every feeling you have just bc someone hurt you.. and time really does not heal all… you learn how to manage and carry on… I applaud the fact that she was candidly honest…but I do not applaud the fact that the hurt she experienced has her running from man to man trying to fill a void she need to be praying about… no she cant remove the scar but it can be replaced.. I know because minus the children… that was my life….

    • Nehemiah53

      Be honest, tell the truth it took more than just one troubled night to cause you to walk away, if one incident cause you to walk away from a relationship you were not committed to the relationship in the first place, now be honest about it and stop misleading these young people on here.

      • MLS2698

        What happened to you? You used to be more positive, and not do any bashing?

        • Nehemiah53

          Thanks, you are right I didn’t mean to be bashing, I just think we “mature brothers and sisters” need to be more positive, honest and understanding when we comment on male female relationship because our young people may read it and take as advice.

          • I’m a 19yo and her comment touched me more that any comment on here. She not telling me to accept abuse, She’s telling me that it will be hard to stop loving someone who is abusive and you probably will never stop loving someone. But that doesn’t mean i should stick around and be abused. And who are you to tell her to “Be Honest” Where u there? Did u experience her pain? She shared a very personal and thought-provoking comment. How honest do she need to be to a complete stranger? Do you wanna see the police report or a picture of her bloody face? Sorry but you owe her an apology. And that’s coming from a young person

  • Guest360

    I appreciate her honesty. It takes real guts to put it all out there for the world to see, judge, and criticize. HOWEVER, I was taken aback by some of her comments. To me, she sounded like my aunts who are always in this perpetual state of abuse. Yes he did have underlying problems. Yes he was put out there and portrayed as the monster. But that’s because of his actions. You can’t protect him from the consequences of what he chooses to do, nor is it your responsibility to. I understand feelings get in the way and you can’t help that but….yeah. I didn’t expect her to tout the “He’s the love of my life” line after he beat her to a pulp. Where I come from, it’s impossible for someone who does that to truly love someone because it’s clear they don’t love themselves. For both of their sakes, I hope they get some much needed therapy and stay friends. Never lovers but friends.

  • mochaaa

    Yes yes and yes I agree with everything in his article.

  • NubiaDiva

    This is not about people “not liking” what she said. These people just realize that she is speaking like a woman who will get her jaw rocked again. She needs therapy. She was broken in childhood and clearly still is broken. Broken people cannot fix themselves without help.
    I’m glad she forgave Chris but it is clear by that interview that she will be sitting with Oprah again having to forgive the next man that beats her. She is by her own admission very impulsive. And a people pleaser. Abusers and broken, impulsive, people pleasers are like moths to flames. The next Chris will find her and she will find him exciting. The intense arguments will mean they love each other and then he’ll beat her too. It’s clear she hasn’t learned enough. If someone loved her they’d get her into rehab (she drinks & smokes too much. I guess to numb her pain) and therapy. If her label gave a damn about her, they could make that happen. Someone needs too.

    • Todra Payne

      Well said.

    • Nehemiah53

      I can tell by reading your comment that you are angry, possibly a male hater [which makes you void of understanding] or your hormones are no longer firing. Please do not give advice to young people on relationships!

      • NubiaDiva

        What I am , is an adult. An adult who knows that decisions made based on hormones are rarely good ones. I am not a “male hater” whatever that means. My most significant relationships are with men and I treasure them dearly.

        Since your screen name references the scriptures I’ll give you one to chew on:
        1 Corinthians 13:11 :”When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I
        thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

        Clearly Rihanna, Chris and you are still playing with childish things.
        Growing old is required. Growing up is optional. I pray that you, Rihanna and Chris all choose both the former and the latter.

        • Nehemiah53

          Thank you!

  • dontdoit

    Look at these two family history. There is a reason they cannot stay away from each other. They are not good for each other and unless they BOTH get help and completely understand why they do what they do history will repeat itself, either between the two of them or with two other people. And I don’t believe for one second they are not together.

  • FromUR2UB

    “Whatever the nature of the argument, [Brown] chose to beat her up. He has to accept responsibility for that choice.” What more does the guy have to do, before people feel that he has sufficiently atoned for what happened? Die? If the domestic violence organizations are not going to devote an equal amount of time to making an ogre of EVERY male celebrity in recent history, who has been accused of physically abusing a woman, then drop the hypocrisy and leave this one alone. I knew Rihanna still had a thing for him because she still talks about him, whenever she gets an opportunity. This is why it’s time for people on the outside to let it go, because the two people at the center of it have put it behind them. But, the people on the outside of a dispute never forget it, and they’ll always bring up reminders when they think the parties involved have forgotten. This is why, when you argue with your spouse, family members, friend or lover, don’t go telling everyone who’ll listen. When you cool down and are ready to get over it, the outsiders will fan the fires and start it up again.

  • mrscatchingstobe

    I couldn’t have said this better myself! Well written article and I agree 100%…

  • La-Di-Da

    I’m not a big Rihanna fan, but the interview actually made me like her more. She seemed really sweet and very grounded. Finally a celeb who doesn’t give the scripted diplomatic answers to every question.

  • DJaye

    I for one applaud her candor and bravery. She is right. It is no ones business. Forgiving someone who has wronged you benefits YOU. It sounds like Rihanna has learned that lesson and for that I say bravo. We as a society are so hypocritical. We sit back and lambaste a ‘star’ for being human. We expect perfection when there is no way we – the viewing public – can ever come close to that. Let it rest America. Rihanna and Chris are the only two that really have to deal with the consequences of their actions. If anyone is in an abusive relationship, THEY have to make the decision to rectify the situation once they are strong enough. You can’t make Rihanna responsible for the entire world of domestic abuse victims.

  • Just a note: It doesn’t take “perfection” for a woman to have enough self-esteem to know that a man that beats her doesn’t respect her and it WILL happen again.

    That’s all.

    • Todra Payne

      Thank you. I totally agree. No man is going to hit me and remain in my life. End of story. And those non-profits know what they are talking about and have dealt with this so many times. No one is saying she should not forgive him. But she should respect herself enough to stay away from him. Beating is NOT love.

  • fry

    sometimes rihanna confuses me one minute she is “hard core” next minute she’d be crying *shrug*

  • Slim

    I don’t see why people want her to hold on to her anger and feelings when it comes to the incident. If the only way she can be free and live her life is to forgive him, then so be it. Holding a grudge can hold you back and cause you just as much pain as the source. I respect her. She is forgiving but not forgetting.

    • Nehemiah53

      The reason why they want her to hold on to anger against Chris brown is
      because most of them hormones are no longer working, male haters, nobody is
      chasing them and they have a political agenda! It’s easy to tell young
      people male and females to hate each
      other, stop seeing other, don’t go back together,
      forget about him/her, you don’t need her/him when your hormones are no
      longer firing and the truth is if they were young
      and in your shoes they would be doing the same thing, you get what I am

  • Treacle234

    So happy for Rihanna, she looks so pretty without her makeup. Hatred gets though to bear, glad-fully she forgave him but she did forget.

  • Some relationships are completely bad but this one may not be. Only Rihanna and Chris remember the incredible times that they had together. People expect her to erase all the good because of a bad incident(s). That’s not fair to her. Chris’ temper has nothing to do with the feelings that he has for Rihanna and she knows that deep down. When he gets mad, he flips no matter who it is. You can hurt people that you love if you have issues that are “beyond your control.”

  • Shay

    We’re blaming Rihanna for not being an advocate for all the abused women out there, but why? She’s not in a relationship with him anymore. He’s not still abusing her. So, what are we really mad about? Do we want her to say that she hates him and will never forgive him? Trust me, that will not help the many women who are living each and every day of their lives in abusive relationships. It’s not going to give them the strength to leave, nor will it ensure they will not return to their abuser later. Now, do I think Chris Brown is scum of the earth? Yes I do, but it’s not my life and I can’t pass judgement on Rihanna for the way she feels. I just know from personal experience that when I held on to grudges towards people who wronged me, I was the one left to suffer. Sometimes you just have to forgive so you can move on with your life. You don’t forget, but you don’t let a negative situation consume you either.

  • Love_Sexy

    I got exactly what she was saying…..I am glad she has forgiven and trying to move on……Just like she said “She’s a work in progress” and she still trying to learn about herself and life…..I really respect her for being down to earth and sweet considering the life she lives…..Whether you like her or not one thing I can say she is real and humble.

  • kookla

    People don’t seem to realize that forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with you. It takes a lot more energy to hate and be angry, than to just forgive and move on. As time goes on, her feelings and emotions will change, but for now, this is where she is at this moment in time.

    • lalatarea

      I really never understood that saying, there are people who have hurt me who I haven’t forgiven but I don’t have ANY hate or anger towards those people nor do I put any energy into thinking about them, to me its like those people DON’T EXIST… Idk shrugs maybe its just me

      • No, I actually feel the same way. Not saying there’s anything wrong with forgiving someone who has hurt you, but I don’t think I’m wired for that…LOL!

  • 30thoughts

    Love her even more for this interview. She’s always appeared to be genuine and people are always quick to tell you what YOU should do, when really no one really knows what they would do if placed in certain situations.

    Like she said in her interview, you don’t just stop loving someone because they hurt you, unfortunately. Forgiveness is NECESSARY. Why should she hold a grudge against him for the rest of her life making herself sick y not forgiving?? She should be able to love who she wants to love, forgive who she wants to forgive and have sex with whoever she wants to have sex with. It’s her life!

    Someone had the nerve to say that they didn’t feel she was strong anymore because she had forgiven Chris Brown and wants to mend things. To be transparent and vulnerable in such a cruel and judgmental world like this does equal strength and I applaud her.

  • an archer

    i think it’s dangerous to have that mentality of “once an abuser, always an abuser,” and to perpetuate that message. It makes it extremely difficult for offenders to seek help. In spite of the victims’ turbulent relationship, the offenders still mean a lot to them so that will only cause them to harbor and stay in the abusive relationship in order to “protect” them. I think society needs to spend more energy trying to get help for everyone involved instead of condemning. I really appreciate Rihanna’s honesty. I too, am a daughter of a former domestic violence father. There is redemption and change is possible.

    • Nehemiah53

      See you are a breath of fresh air, you have understanding, are wise and
      have good common sense.

      • an archer

        Thank You!

  • Kenedy

    Ok…question… do you have no desire to be a role model, but have a desire to be a famous superstar?? Don’t these two come hand in hand? If so…..then Rihanna knew she was signing up to live her life in public….with that being said….i think she has a responsibility to NOT send the wrong message to the people that “look up to her”….whether she likes it or not, there are people that consider her their role model….she chose the wrong profession if she’s not feeling the idea of being a role model….just saying.

    • Numero Uno

      Just because you are a celebrity does not automatically make you a role model. If others want to look at that person as a role model, that’s their choice. But role model and celebrity do not necessarily go hand in hand. Celebrities are people too and should be allowed to make their own choices in life just like everyone else.

    • Tiffanie Davis

      Killers and robbers have followers. That don’t make them role models.

  • Lady J

    Great write up and I agree with you. I love that she was so honest. Sometimes that’s whats needed to shut down the media rampage but I know they’ll only find something new to go on about, even if it means twisting her meaning or reading further into it.

    Anyway, I must say I am not a believer of once an abuser always an abuser because once you admit you have a problem and truly seek to fix it I believe anything is possible and that it’s always a case of mind over matter.

    I wish them both the best in their life’s journey whether it be together or separate.

  • nale

    Real does nothing for me sorry. I work with a young lady always talking about she’s real, “I don’t mess with other females, I be by my self, say it like I mean it real, real, real….. like shut up.

    She’s liked due to her ” realness” but I got tired of her and shaded her too death ( and hoped she didn’t beat my… lol ) In front of all during one of her every other minute “real” rants I politely stated my name, and how I’m easy to get along with, I don’t carry or need a 9m, ( as she stated ) can’t fight etc etc… so what exactly is it your saying or trying to prove ?

    On topic. Rihanna said all the right things A plus 100%, but I don’t know about going on and on about how I love and care about some guy who beat me, has a gf, publicly dissed me…..Idk about that. I guess tho. It made Rihanna seem REAL lol !

    • Amija James

      Thank you!

  • Shay

    Rihanna was very brave in being open about her feelings about the incident & Chris Brown. It showed that she’s human just like us. After this interview w/ Oprah, I don’t feel that Rihanna should address the CB incident anymore so they both can move on with their lives.

    • Love_Sexy

      I agree!

  • L-Boogie

    I hope they both heal.

  • One thing I can say about Rihanna is that she is very real and I respect her for saying that she doesn’t want to be a role model and that’s okay. I pray that things will become better for her and she can move on.

  • Angela

    Forgiveness is a powerful tool. While I may not wholeheartedly support her decision concerning CB; it sure beats the alternative of hating him for a lifetime. Im so glad that she wasnt just able to forgive CB, but herself! But….given their past she would be a pure fool to enter into another courtship with him.