Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Rihanna making a bad decision?

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 10:00 AM EST, Wed December 5, 2012
LZ Granderson says Rihanna's flaunting of her apparent reconnection with Chris Brown is a harmful message.
LZ Granderson says Rihanna's flaunting of her apparent reconnection with Chris Brown is a harmful message.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • LZ Granderson: Rihanna seems reunited with Chris Brown, who beat her in 2009
  • He says pair flaunts their intimacy on social media; Rihanna sending poor message
  • He says most women who report abuse have been victimized before by same man
  • LZ: It's her choice, she needn't apologize, but may not be able to count on fans' sympathy

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

(CNN) -- Recently it has seemed that every other tweet or Instagram posted by pop star Rihanna taunts the public with an uncomfortable thought: Singer Chris Brown, the man who beat her so badly in 2009 that was she was almost unrecognizable, may once again be her lover.

Rumors the two had reconnected began circulating not long after their infamous altercation, which ultimately resulted in Brown pleading guilty to felony assault. Then earlier this year there was the remix to Rihanna's song "Birthday Cake," in which Brown was the featured guest vocalist offering such coy nuggets as:

"Girl I wanna --- you right now

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

Been a long time I've been missing your body".

OK, maybe "coy" is the wrong word.

In any case, the couple's allusions to their reunion --a Twitter picture showed her embracing a man who appears to be Brown; another showed a man presumed to be Brown face down and shirtless on a bed -- culminated with Brown posting a photo of himself and Rihanna, who appears to be in her underwear. "What would music today sound like if these kids didn't exist?" the caption read.

Entertainment: Chris Brown ready to start a 'new chapter'

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



Normally I don't like to get too involved in grown folks' private business. But when you use social media to shove your business down the public's throat, it's no longer private.

Rihanna doesn't need to be a spokeswoman for victims of domestic violence, nor does she need to live the rest of her life as a victim. But someone needs to send her a copy of "What's Love Got To Do With It," or something, because she's sending a message that everything is fine and that the man who beat her is "a good man." Maybe so, but 77% of women her age who report domestic violence have been victimized previously by the same man, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

This fall, some Upstate New York high school students dressed up as Rihanna and Brown and reenacted their fight in a school skit for fun. When one treats serious matters like this so lightly, does one inadvertently gives permission for others to do the same?

Rihanna 'felt protective' of Chris Brown
School under fire for blackface bit
Chris Brown's new tattoo called 'creepy'

When the world first saw the images of Rihanna's face after her fight with Brown, many rushed to blanket the songstress with support. The way she is flaunting their relationship now, I don't anticipate the same amount of sympathy for her if another incident occurs.

Perhaps that's why she (preemptively?) called her latest CD, "Unapologetic." She likely knew she would hear a lot of criticism and I guess she wanted us to know she doesn't need our sympathy.

Famed hip-hop author dream hampton recently tweeted that "Rihanna's a dissertation, waiting to be written."

She's right.

Entertainment: Chris Brown renews 'friendship' with Rihanna

At 24 with 12 No. 1 singles and five Grammys, the singer is already an all-time great in terms of chart performance and sales. She's far more complex away from the mic, often seeming to reveal herself in the 140 characters she uses in her tweets... with the exception of one song.

Her biggest seller to date, 2010's "Love the Way You Lie," is a duo with Eminem. The song is about a physically abusive, love-hate relationship.

As Eminem, who has had his own very public dealings with domestic violence, raps:

"You swore you'd never hit 'em, never do nothing to hurt 'em"

Rihanna hauntingly sings:

"Just gonna stand there and watch me burn

Well that's alright because I like the way it hurts..."

After that recording, I thought Rihanna had gotten Brown out of her system. I guess love, no matter how poisonous it appears on the outside, is a hard drug to recover from.

Since completing a 52-week domestic violence program, Brown has shown about as much control over his temper as Bruce Banner.

After his 2011 interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America -- in which he said his attacking Rihanna is "not really a big deal to me now" -- he reportedly went to his dressing room and trashed the place in anger. Allegedly, he smashed a window that sent glass falling into the street below, before storming out of the building, shirtless, in 40-degree weather.

More than once he's lost his temper and turned to Twitter to tell critics to "--- off," or in the case of comedienne Jenny Johnson, wrote he'd defecate on her face. And then there's the bar fight with singer-rapper Drake.

Again, this is a year after anger management.

Oh, I can hear Brown fans now -- leave him alone. He did his time. Stop hating.

Entertainment: Chris Brown's creepy new tattoo 'not Rihanna'

Listen.

I grew up with domestic violence all around me -- from close family to friends -- and I tend to believe if a guy hits a woman once, she needn't stick around to see if his apologies are sincere.

But it's Rihanna's choice, and apparently she's not interested in apologizing for the decisions she's made. And if there's a repeat of 2009, a lot of us won't be interested enough to care. After "Birthday Cake" I'm not sure if I would care.

Hopefully that incident was a one-time thing and she'll be alright.

Hopefully.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Errol Louis says forced to choose between narrow political advantage and the public good, the governors showed they are willing to take the easy way out over Ebola.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Eric Liu says with our family and friends and neighbors, each one of us must decide what kind of civilization we expect in the United States. It's our responsibility to set tone and standards, with our laws and norms
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Sally Kohn says the UNC report highlights how some colleges exploit student athletes while offering little in return
updated 3:04 PM EDT, Sun October 26, 2014
Terrorists don't represent Islam, but Muslims must step up efforts to counter some of the bigotry within the world of Islam, says Fareed Zakaria
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Scott Yates says extending Daylight Saving Time could save energy, reduce heart attacks and get you more sleep
updated 8:32 PM EDT, Sun October 26, 2014
Reza Aslan says the interplay between beliefs and actions is a lot more complicated than critics of Islam portray
updated 7:19 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Julian Zelizer says control of the Senate will be decided by a few close contests
updated 8:12 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The response of some U.S. institutions that should know better to Ebola has been anything but inspiring, writes Idris Ayodeji Bello.
updated 5:01 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Paul Callan says the grand jury is the right process to use to decide if charges should be brought against the police officer
updated 12:19 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Theresa Brown says the Ebola crisis brought nurses into the national conversation on health care. They need to stay there.
updated 6:35 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Patrick Hornbeck says don't buy the hype: The arguments the Vatican used in its interim report would have virtually guaranteed that same-sex couples remained second class citizens
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The Swedes will find sitting on the fence to be increasingly uncomfortable with Putin as next door neighbor, writes Gary Schmitt
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The Ottawa shooting pre-empted Malala's appearances in Canada, but her message to young people needs to be spread, writes Frida Ghitis
updated 9:48 PM EDT, Sat October 25, 2014
Paul Begala says Iowa's U.S. Senate candidate, Joni Ernst, told NRA she has right to use gun to defend herself--even from the government. But shooting at officials is not what the Founders had in mind
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
John Sutter: Why are we so surprised the head of a major international corporation learned another language?
updated 5:54 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Jason Johnson says Ferguson isn't a downtrodden community rising up against the white oppressor, but it is looking for justice
updated 12:21 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Sally Kohn says a video of little girls dressed as princesses using the F-word very loudly to condemn sexism is provocative. But is it exploitative?
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Timothy Stanley says Lewinsky is shamelessly playing the victim in her affair with Bill Clinton, humiliating Hillary Clinton again and aiding her critics
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Imagine being rescued from modern slavery, only to be charged with a crime, writes John Sutter
updated 12:00 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Tidal flooding used to be a relatively rare occurrence along the East Coast. Not anymore, write Melanie Fitzpatrick and Erika Spanger-Siegfried.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Carol Costello says activists, writers, politicians have begun discussing their abortions. But will that new approach make a difference on an old battleground?
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT