A Wake-Up Call

By Todd A. Smith

            It is almost impossible to turn on the television or radio and not hear someone’s opinion on the alleged violent incident between Chris Brown and Rihanna.   Unfortunately as a society, we have become obsessed with celebrity, and many blame everyone in the limelight (i.e. sports and entertainment) for the ills of the world.

            Personally, I only wish the best for both of these individuals as they attempt to rebuild their career and life, because although many want to throw Brown to the wolves, we have all fallen short at one time or another.  The lessons that I hope are learned from this unfortunate incident are that a man should never under any circumstances put his hand on a woman; women are also to blame for some of the failed relationships they enter because of their poor choice in men; and we as a society should stop insisting that just because someone is gifted and talented means they should be the perfect role models for our children to emulate.

According to an affidavit, in the early morning hours of February 8, pop stars Chris Brown and Rihanna allegedly got into an argument over a text message that Brown received from another woman, who he reportedly has a romantic past with.  Los Angeles police detective De Shon Andrews wrote in the affidavit that Brown allegedly pulled his car over and tried to push the Barbados beauty out, but could not because she was wearing her seatbelt.  Brown allegedly then began pushing her head against the window, punching her with his right hand, while continuing to drive with his left hand.

            The affidavit goes on to say that Brown threatened to kill her and pretended to leave a message with Rihanna’s assistant to have police waiting for them at her house.  Andrews said the incident between Chris Brown and Rihanna caused her mouth to fill with blood as a result of his blows and that he tried to choke her after she took his car keys away from him.  The detective added that the songstress did fight back, gouging at his eyes while in the car.

            Since the incident, many critics have questioned whether Chris Brown and Rihanna should be role models for the younger generation.  Brown has been ridiculed, and rightly so, for his alleged assault, and Rihanna’s reported decision to get back with Brown has been debated by countless talk show hosts from Tyra Banks to Oprah Winfrey.  Recent reports say that the relationship between Chris Brown and Rihanna has now ended.

Although children are very impressionable and we should all be role models for children, why on Earth would any parent want their children to emulate someone they do not even know, simply because that person can sing and dance?  If we would never let a non-celebrity, who we did not know, teach our kids morals and values, we should not let a stranger who happens to be on television every five minutes raise our children.

Even though we like to blame the media for the declining morals of young people, the behavior of parents and other people we have a close relationships have more impact on our development as children than any celebrity can ever have.  Chris Brown and Rihanna both told Banks separately on her show that they witnessed their parents’ own abusive relationships.

“Rihanna told me that her parents used to argue so intensely and she used to get these headaches, almost migraines…and it was almost living hell for her,” Banks said.  “The moment her parents separated, the headaches went away.”  Brown also witnessed his mother being abused by a man, stating that it scarred him so deeply that we would sometimes urinate in the bed because of fear.

Not surprisingly, Chris Brown and Rihanna have now endured abusive relationships themselves.  Many celebrity relationships are abusive, but I doubt that a teenager will abuse a mate simply because they heard a celebrity is abusive.  But they are probably more likely to be abusive if that is all they know of relationships from witnessing the relationships of their parents.

Equally as important, is the fact that many women continue to enter destructive relationships because they choose bad men.  Many women refuse to date a man that will treat them like queens because they believe that he is weak so they can walk over him.  They instead choose someone who they feel is stronger and often they feel that strength first-hand in the form of a punch in the face.

Nevertheless, any man that puts his hand on any woman is less than a man, and probably will not be a man much longer if placed behind bars for their cowardly crimes.

As Winfrey stated, “I’ve said before, love doesn’t hurt, and if a man hits you once, he will hit you again.”

Let’s hope this unfortunate incident between Chris Brown and Rihanna will prevent any more women from being hit again.

Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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