“Beat Her Down” Brown Part One: When Victims Are Complicit In Their Abuse

UPDATE Mar 22nd:  Apparently Chris Brown has forgotten that he avoided jail time with some “real” criminals and his sociopathy reared it’s head after an interview on Good Morning America. He trashed his dressing room after being asked about his probation status by host Robin Roberts. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

….and some people are “surprised” by his behavior. Once a DBR…..


Halima’s Who’s Zooming Who post from Jan 2010 went through a rather extensive list of anti-BW black males who were self-serving in promoting their own interests while claiming to be working on behalf of black women (and children). I’d like to add another dimension to that.

I just realized that Chris Brown has a point about it not being “fair” that he was held (somewhat) accountable and suffered (minimal) repercussions for his deviant behavior. There’s a plethora of black male entertainers who have engaged in the very same behavior but due to black male protectionism and racio-misogyny against black women they were never put under the same level of scrutiny all in the name of “advancing the race”. (We’ll cover that in Parts 2 & 3 of this series).

Our collective silence is tantamount to approval whereby outsiders think we’re okay with this *&^%! Well WE ARE NOT! Case in point: a white male who runs a forum related to government transparency sent a message on Twitter that he wished Kayne West and Radiohead would collaborate on a song. My reply: I hoped Thom Yorke would have more common sense than to work with such a blatant misogynist. Did this guy pay any attention to the video where ‘Ye is fondling the mannequins of seemingly dead white women?

Chris Brown is being mentioned because he still has a career although he’s been “inconvenienced” by being charged with a crime. He wanted his  probation reduced. Rihanna predictably has complained about people still thinking of her as worthy of protection. She was a reluctant advocate for herself. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise when she grew up in a home mired in domestic violence and she has not undergone any therapy. So she’s the type of “victim” who would protest about any intervention until the moment she lost her life should she choose another man who uses his fists to communicate.

I’m mentioning their bit o’ insanity again because I realized how the younger Brown had to deal with a minimum of public accountability whereas James Brown was never charged with a crime for beating Tammi Terrell. It wouldn’t be impossible for a man who displays a pattern of abuse with one woman to also engage in that same behavior with countless other women to varying degrees. HERE’S THE LINK to TVOne’s UnSung episode since some people are in *shock* and disbelief that James Brown beat a woman in the head. More WILL BE DISCUSSED in Part Two, but let’s get back to Frick & Frack.

All of this is six degrees of separation because Rihanna recorded a song with Eminem about domestic violence titled, “I Love The Way You Lie” last fall. I’m not late too the party but I have tuned out much of what’s being passed as “music” on terrestrial radio. If you can think far far back to when he had a career Eminem released a song titled, “Bonnie & Clyde ’97”. This little gem described in detail how a man took his daughter on the car ride to hell to dispose of the body of her dead mother in the trunk. He had killed her during a domestic dispute. Fun, huh?

So connect the dots with me: Chris Brown beat Rihanna within an inch of her life. He’s not only still breathing but he never spent one day in jail AND he’s mad about being held accountable. Many blacks (and others) agree with that perspective – but you know they’re mentally and morally damaged.

Rihanna thinks so little of herself that she doesn’t want people being concerned about her well-being. She proves this by working with yet another (c)rap artist who has a history of writing anti-woman songs that promote violence. She almost died at the hands of one deranged, violent man and she follows that up by continuing to work with violent, deranged men. You know for the irony of it all.

For those black women who want to follow the new model for less dysfunction and healthy relationships you must also purge the women who are living in opposition to that. While some of the less functional backgrounds of others may evoke understanding and empathy, hugging up to a ticking time bomb is not conducive to living. DBR people of both genders must be counted and eliminated.

Just gonna stand there and watch me burn,
But that’s all right, because I like the way it hurts.
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry,
But that’s all right, because I love the way you lie,
I love the way you lie.

If this was an S&M themed song between consenting adults we could let it go but alas this is a propaganda message aimed squarely at your daughter and the Rihanna-types are the agents sent to deliver the poisonous messages.

Tuning out such propaganda barely meet the minimum. We need an active combatant. Speaking of remedies, I recall when Tori Amos released Strange Little Girls, her album of cover songs penned by men but sung from the woman’s perspective. She covered that Eminem song. Tori had said in several interviews that people were so busy grooving to the beat they weren’t paying attention that there was blood on the dancefloor. Courtesy of Here In My Head:

“This guy Eminem wrote a very p:owerful song about domestic violence. I didn’t align with his character, but I did align with the woman that he killed.”
— Tori; MTV News Europe, Sep 2001

I: You covered ’97 Bonnie & Clyde, one of Eminem’s most extreme songs, is that a desired controversial cover from a controversial rapper?

T: Haven’t you noticed that I don’t rap the lyrics but whisper them? Whispering the lyrics seemed more frightening then shouting them. What aroused my interest in this song was how Eminem exposed himself so much to the public. He’s like a man who goes to a marriage counselling service, complains to the therapist that his wife doesn’t know her rightful place and feels upset because the therapist doesn’t agree with him.
— Tori; Belgian/Dutch Magazine Humo, Sep 18, 2001

“[There’s] a mass, unconscious rage against the feminine in much of today’s pop culture. And it’s not just from Eminem. In a lot of work out there, I was hearing about this subjugation of women and that was a turn-on for a lot of people and even for some women.”
— Tori; The Boston Globe, Sep 16, 2001

No opinion on Eminem. She’s not a fan. “Of course not.” You can’t be a fan of someone who degrades women if you are one and don’t degrade men. She says he needs a really good shrink. He’s very talented in tapping into a male rage.
— Tori; “Good Day Atlanta” 99X, Oct 2, 2001

Eminem’s fans hate her cover. “That’s the greatest compliment I’ve received,” she says, teeth gritted. “My version invades his space, and men aren’t used to feeling invaded, it drives them mad. Empower the wife, give her a voice. That’s how you are an activist, I think. Is the song pretty? No, but I never said it was.” Her blue eyes blaze. “Singing it is not a tribute.”
— Tori; The Times (UK), Dec 18, 2001

I: The most shocking track is an adaptation on 97 Bonnie & Clyde by Eminem. It’s a very chilling song.
Good, that’s the effect I was going for. When I first heard the song, the scariest thing to me was that people were grooving to music about a guy who butchered his wife. Half of the world is dancing to this, oblivious, with blood on their sneakers. The wife had to have a voice, so my version is told from her point of view as she lay dying.

In general, do you think artists should take more responsibility for their lyrics?
I think we, as writers, have to. We can’t separate ourselves from what we create. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “They’re only words.” But words are like guns; they’re very powerful.
— Tori; YM Magazine, Dec 2001

Tori kicks butt!!! I loved how big bad EM didn’t like the fact she brought attention to his DBR-ness but he couldn’t do squat about it! Boy, did it annoy me that Dido had allowed him to sample one of her most poignant songs (Thank You) – ironically about a sweetheart of a man.

Writer Cath Elliott of Too Much To Say For Myself covered why this Eminem/Rihanna collaboration is messed up. Her post was spot on (click on the link to read it) so I didn’t want to repeat what she wrote. She concludes —

Another part of the problem of course is that both of the artists involved here have baggage of their own when it comes to this issue: Rihanna as a victim/survivor of domestic violence, and Eminem as a perpetrator.

My biggest issue with it is that so much of this “story” is told from the perpetrator’s point of view. We get to hear how awful being such a violent abusive bastard is for him, and how ashamed it makes him feel to be such a vile, despicable human being. (I agree it’s a lot of “poor little me” whining from a guy who wants to have his cake and smash your face in it).

Here’s a little anti-dote to the madness. Some of the UK/European readers will be familiar with this song.

Ms. Dynamite Put Him Out

I wonder what would happen if a black female pop artist decided to take on black male DBR-oriented songs in a similar fashion?

There’s soooo many to choose from after all.

**I’m compiling a list of songs from mostly women artists warning about DBRs, taking charge of your life and encouraging functional behavior so put ’em in the comment section or email me. This will go in a future post. I have about 10 so far but I’d like to make this a floating post with a running tally we can refer to often.**

47 comments to “Beat Her Down” Brown Part One: When Victims Are Complicit In Their Abuse

  • Aisha

    I like "Precious" by Esperanza Spalding.

  • Faith

    I had to add one of my old posts to tie into this one because the similarities are crazy…. http://actsoffaithblog.com/mackenzie-phillips-fro

  • Natalie

    How about "These boots are made for walking" By Nancy Sinatra

  • calpurnia

    There is a women on youtube who has a channel named glozell1--she is a black woman who tries to talk 'sense' into these people that write awful lyrics; and she does it with humor--she'll say" Riri (Rhianna--you need to come to my AAA meeting " she does it with HUMOR and tells them their role models for kids, so CUT IT OUT

  • zipporah

    I always wondered WHY RIHANNA would promote songs about abuse and thinking it s OK--since you said she went through domestic violence, that explains it--also, there is a HUGE ATTACK on the feminine side of things in R&B music—either women are singing about songs about getting away from krazy dudes, OR singing about getting BEAT—sigh-- I'm starting to listen to the country 'genre' since many of the songs, not all (country has some krazy dudes too) but some are very ROMANTIC ===i love the singer Brad Paisley--the song THEN is good- as well as some of his other songs (check him out on youtube)--(hes the one that stood up for taylor swift when West tried to put her down)

  • man, i have to get that Tori Amos album..

  • ph2072

    I had no idea that he made a song of that nature. Sigh. And to think that I like his Super Bowl commercial.

    SMDH. Just can't win with these DBR folks.

  • Miss S

    Breaking Point by Keri Hilson?

  • Miss S

    I was also going to suggest Chrisette Michelle "Ephiphany". She also has a song "Goodbye Game"

    Oh, I can't play a fool anymore, (no)
    No, I don't need a game anymore,
    (You could play the fool, yeah)
    I'ma play my hero, you go be a zero, oh
    (Ohhh, I'd rather play alone)
    Oh, I can't play a fool anymore (noo)
    No I don't need a game anymore,
    (You could play the fool)
    I'ma play my hero, you gon be a zero
    (I'm playing the goodbye game)

  • Jacquie

    Too long (lol), so here's a link to the lyrics.

  • Jacquie

    Yesterday, as I was going home on the Metro, an India.Arie song was playing on my iPod. I tuned in more and it was "Therapy". I immediately thought of this post because when you rid your life of the DBR-mentality/community/environment, knowing and experiencing healthy interactions *is* therapy.

    Lyrics below…

  • stellas

    I can think of one with lyrics about picking yourself up when you're knocked "Keep on Looking" by Sade.

    Some will tell you that you're wrong
    You do it all the wrong way
    Some will tell you that you're wrong
    That you don't know the way
    They enjoy cheapness
    Don't show your weakness
    Don't let them bother you no
    They enjoy the cheapness
    Don't show your weakness
    Oh no

    It's no use sitting down
    Don't walk round with a frown
    Oh no, keep looking
    It's no use sitting around
    With your head in your hands
    Oh no keep looking

    By the way, (correct me if I'm wrong) did you notice than Eminem never lambasted Tori in the media? He was quick to pick fights with the likes of Christina Aguilera/ Britnany, Moby, Nsync etc etc but he never took on Tori. Like most DBRs they are cowards when it comes to dealing with level-headed women.

  • itsmeak

    Babooshka by Kate Bush is….eh….slightly a DBR warning to the woman's husband, like giving him a nasty surprise…..

  • itsmeak

    Hey Faith can you still count Lauryn Hill's 'Doo Wop (That Thing)'

  • Hello Faith, I haven't posted in awhile, however, I have a couple of songs for you to consider:
    "Love Song" and "King of Anything" by Sara Bareilles
    "Hold On" by Wilson Philips

  • Jacquie

    What about U.N.I.T.Y by Queen Latifah?

  • Monique

    I love Chrisette Michelle's "Epiphnay ( I'm Leaving)."

    It's about a woman who finally gets it and realizes that "her man" is a two timming bum…and she just leaves.

    my favorite part…"i'm just about over being your girlfriend, I'm Leaving, I'm leaving."

  • Bellydancer

    Dionne Farris "Don't Ever Touch me Again
    Lyrics if you need to see them http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/dionne_farris/

    I think this is on the right track.

  • MesaATLien

    In Janelle Monae's songs, she definitely talks about , and freeing ourselves from meaningless distractions in life and from people who keep on trying to lead us down the wrong path.

    The two songs that really hammer home this point are called "Many Moons" and "Sincerely Jane". "Tightrope" is a good one too, but that one's about just staying grounded in the mist of success and unfair criticism.

    Hell, I love all her songs. 😉

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