Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
“Oh and Rihanna just put out a single today with him on it.”
“Who? Chris Brown?”
“Are you serious?”
“I… I don’t understand people like that. Why would you want to help a guy like that after he put you in the hospital? This song is showing girls that it’s okay to go back to someone like that. I don’t get it.”
This is the conversation I had with my husband two nights ago. This story keeps getting worse. News broke last week that Rihanna was releasing a single with Chris Brown on it. Kevin Mazur, a writer for the NPR music blog, “The Record with Ann Powers”, wrote the following about the song:
Never in my memory has the particular feeling surrounding these new songs — ‘dread’ is a word often employed in the past week — been so pronounced. This is music many people wish did not exist.
I even feel guilty for writing about the song because I don’t want to be another blogger adding to the hum-drum that will elevate the single beyond where it should go. From the articles I’ve read, the song appears to closely mirror what is happening in real life. This is not just a new radio-friendly song, but a grim, bloodless song about a girl who knows she is trapped in a bad situation but doesn’t know what to do about all the leftover feelings of love.
A friend on Twitter pointed out that there is a lot of hatred toward Brown and not a lot of compassion toward Rihanna, and he’s right. Maybe it’s time to change that; maybe we have a specific opportunity right now to shift this story to create a positive change. Marzur offers us some ways to change the story:
Don’t buy these songs. Turn off the television or radio when Rihanna and Chris Brown appear. Better yet, write your radio station and tell them not to play either of these remixes. Tell your daughters and sons that Brown is a brute and Rihanna is terribly misguided. […] Put on Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’ and scream along. Pick up the phone and call your sister and make sure she’s okay. Donate some money to your local women’s shelter.
Maybe this is what the season of Lent is all about. It’s not just giving up chocolate; it’s about mortifying everyday cravings and ignoring the tyranny of the urgent for to help refocus on what’s important. Women are important. The story you tell your kids about what’s okay in relationships is important. Being close to the sisters, mothers, and daughters in your life is important.
For a moment, drown out the pop songs and consider something you can actively do to take this tail-spinning story and turn it into a positive moment for a woman in your life or in your area: ten dollars, a phone call, or reading a book to your kids that teaches them about honoring and respecting other human beings.
Even the tiniest amount of effort can go a long way toward turning this disaster of a story into learning how to be better at loving and protecting the people around you.
You have the power to change the story. The question is: will you?