Rihanna's Jaw-Dropping Chris Brown Collaboration Is Exploitive & Wrong
Well, it seems the rumors are true, Rihanna and Chris Brown really are back together ... in the studio, anyway. On Monday the ex-couple both tweeted out links to not one, but two brand new musical collaborations: Rihanna sings in the remix of Brown's "Turn Up the Music," and the remix of Rihanna's "Birthday Cake" features Brown's voice.
Two great tastes that taste great together? Or would you say it's more on the tasteless side, considering it's only been 12 months since Rihanna lifted the restraining order that she had against Brown following his brutal assault on her in 2009?
Personally, I'm not sure it was a smart move for Rihanna to take part in this collaboration. She's clearly moved on, but her fans may not be quite ready to hear a song in which Chris Brown sings about how he can't wait to "give it to her in the worst way."
In a way, I can kind of understand their frustration with the public interest in their relationship. What Brown did to Rihanna in 2009 was beyond sick (read the police report for the full details of what went down that night, if you can stomach it), but it's certainly not up to us to decide what kind of contact is appropriate for them to have with each other. Rihanna's been pretty clear all along that she didn't hold any bad feelings against Brown—she even said in 2010 that she was happy for his success after the assault:
It’s incredible to see how he pulled out the way he did. Even when the world seemed like it was against him, you know? I really like the music he’s putting out. I’m a fan of his stuff. I’ve always been a fan. I would never wish anything horrible for him. Never. I never have.
I've never agreed with the idea that Rihanna has any sort of responsibility to be a role model to young people, and it's pretty clear she's never wanted anything to do with being the poster child for abused women. If she wants to be friends with Chris Brown, that's her business, not ours. That said, I'm pretty surprised that they chose to collaborate this way—especially when you listen to Brown singing on "Birthday Cake."
Girl I wanna fuck you right now
Been a long time, I've been missing your body
Let me, Let me turn the lights down
When I wanna go down, it’s a private party
Ooh it’s not even her birthday
But I wanna lick the icing off
Give it to her in the worst way
Can’t wait to blow her candles out
Here's the whole song (lyrics are rated R, obvs):
I mean, I get it: the remix is deliberately controversial, and the collaborations were specifically set up to get people talking and attract media attention and ultimately drive album sales. Which is to say: GROSS, RIHANNA.
It's one thing to move on from the past, it's another to mine it for marketing purposes. All the interest swirling around these new remixes is stemming from an incident of domestic violence, and the purposefully shocking lyrics are pretty much custom-designed to make us remember that incident. That's why I'm disappointed in Rihanna for the collaboration—not because she has a responsibility to avoid Brown for the rest of his days, but because with this song, she's essentially exploiting the abuse.
You can't deny this was a clever business move, but I wonder if it was worth the cost—especially to Rihanna's fans.
What do you think about Rihanna and Chris Brown's remixes?
Image via Flickr/MikeARB