Hollywood, Stop Putting Pejorative & Misogynistic Men on a Pedestal
By: Phelicia Ball
It is no doubt that Chris Brown is a talented hip-hop artist and performer—no one can strip that away from him. But when you continually bash and disrespect women, that talent means nothing more than what my dignity clearly means to you. Like many women around the world, it took me awhile to realize that my continuous support of an abusive and vulgar male only upheld this bullshit system of patriarchy that exist and in turn, stripped me of my own agency. And to keep it honest here, I still listen to his music.
It was the bright eyes, yellow skin, tattooed chest and voice of innocence, with a touch of bad-boy attitude that had me crushing over Brown since I was a little girl. I used to sing and dance in my room to “Run It” and ball my eyes out to “Forever”. Brown was so perfect during those younger days and nothing that he did made me like him any less.
Sure enough, something changed in February of 2009 when Brown received his first criminal offense, assaulting his then girlfriend Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty. Fenty was brutally beaten to the point of her eyes being shut, with bruises in various places of her body. I explicitly remember the night “Chris Brown Charged with Assault on Rihanna” spread across my television screen. Ever since that night, violence and abuse has been following his every move.
Days, weeks, and months following the assault, fans spoke out about their disappointment. Yet as years have gone by, he has since seemed to be forgiven even after several other abusive acts against women. And to top it off, Brown now has a documentary titled Welcome to My Life, released on June 8, 2017, probably showing in your nearby movie theater. Interesting that the title of the film is Welcome to My Life. Are you insinuating that your circumstances are different due to your fame, handing you a get out free card to act any way that you desire, and strip women of their agency? To be fair, I have not seen the documentary myself and to be quite honest, I don’t plan on it. Apologies and various explanations for such violent actions aren’t enough for me and quite frankly are not worth giving up my own agency. It is safe to say that Hollywood puts men on a pedestal, forgiving them of their vulgar attitudes and abusive acts.
Not only does Hollywood seem to hold abusive men on a pedestal, but as do women of color. A large portion of Brown’s audience and fan base is women of color. When Black men are at war with law enforcement on a daily basis, fearful of their bodies being thrown into prison, or worse—their lives taken by a gun shot, it only makes since that women of color want to fight for and protect Black men. We are taught to put our race before our gender, and with that comes supporting our brothers and ultimately putting them before us. Sisters, we cannot afford to protect our brothers if they are not showing up to the crossfire for us, protecting us, and respecting our very dignity. Hollywood, stop encouraging us to accept these practices as if they’re normal. And Black men, hold yourselves accountable.
Brown has a long history of violence against women and the fact that fans are lined up around the block to listen to him explain his life and beg for forgiveness is damaging to our Blackness. Brown isn’t the only male being held on a pedestal—open your eyes and rethink those whom you support. Black men, show up for your sisters please.