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 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 8:05 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
LZ Granderson says Ronald Reagan went horseback riding and took a vacation after the Korean Air Crash of 1983. So why does the GOP keep airbrushing history to bash Obama?
updated 9:38 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Aaron Miller says Kerry needs the cooperation of Hamas, Israel, Egypt and others if he is to succeed in his peacemaking efforts
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Errol Louis says the tragic death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD has its roots in the "broken windows" police strategy from the crime-ridden '80s.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Texas Gov. Rick Perry is right to immediately send 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the border children crisis.
updated 9:56 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Ukraine's president says the downing of MH17 was a terrorist act, but Richard Barrett says it would be considered terrorism only if it was intentional
updated 4:15 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Robert McIntyre says the loophole that lets firms avoid taxes should be closed
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Jeronimo Saldana and Malik Burnett say Gov. Perry's plan to send National Guard to the border won't solve the escalating immigration problem.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Sally Kohn: The world's fish and waters are polluted and under threat. Be very careful what fish you eat
updated 8:42 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Les Abend says threat information that pilots respond to is only as good as the intelligence from air traffic controllers. And none of it is a match for a radar-guided missile
updated 8:35 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Frida Ghitis: Anger over MH17 is growing against pro-Russia separatists. It's time for the Dutch government to lead, she writes
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Julian Zelizer says President Obama called inequality the "defining challenge" of our time but hasn't followed through.
updated 7:57 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Gene Seymour says the 'Rockford Files' actor worked the persona of the principled coward, charming audiences on big and small screen for generations
updated 10:17 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Daniel Treisman says that when the Russian leader tied his fate to the Ukraine separatists, he set the stage for his current risky predicament
updated 12:42 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Andrew Kuchins says urgent diplomacy -- not sanctions -- is needed to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine that helped lead to the downing of an airliner there.
updated 9:50 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Jim Hall and Peter Goelz say there should be an immediate and thorough investigation into what happened to MH17.
updated 11:07 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Pilot Bill Palmer says main defense commercial jets have against missiles is to avoid flying over conflict areas.
updated 1:55 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Valerie Jarrett says that working women should not be discriminated against because they are pregnant.
updated 3:53 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
David Wheeler says the next time you get a difficult customer representative, think about recording the call.
updated 3:33 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Newt Gingrich says the more dangerous the world becomes the more Obama hides in a fantasy world.
updated 6:11 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Michael Desch: It's hard to see why anyone, including Russia and its local allies, would have intentionally targeted the Malaysian Airlines flight
updated 3:14 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
LZ Granderson says we must remember our visceral horror at the news of children killed in an airstrike on a Gaza beach next time our politicians talk of war
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Sally Kohn says now the House GOP wants to sue Obama for not implementing a law fast enough, a law they voted down 50 times, all reason has left the room.
updated 8:14 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
A street sign for Wall Street
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, John McCain and others want to scale back the "too big to fail" banks that put us at risk of another financial collapse.
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Newt Gingrich writes an open letter to Robert McDonald, the nominee to head the Veterans Administration.
updated 12:01 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Paul Begala says Dick Cheney has caused an inordinate amount of damage yet continues in a relentless effort to revise the history of his failures.
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Kids who takes cell phones to bed are not sleeping, says Mel Robbins. Make them park their phones with the parents at night.
updated 1:29 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Buzz Aldrin looked at planet Earth as he stood on talcum-like lunar dust 45 years ago. He thinks the next frontier should be Mars.
updated 2:04 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Mark Zeller never thought my Afghan translator would save his life by killing two Taliban fighters who were about to kill him. The Taliban retaliated by placing him on the top of its kill list.
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Jeff Yang says an all-white cast of Asian characters in cartoonish costumes is racially offensive.
updated 9:24 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Gary Ginsberg says the late John F. Kennedy Jr.'s reaction to an event in 1995 summed up his character
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Meg Urry says most falling space debris lands on the planet harmlessly and with no witnesses.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT