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Ask Black America: Should Rihanna Be Concerned about Setting a Bad Example for Girls?

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

When it comes to the wild love affair between Rihanna and Chris Brown, there are a wide variety of opinions on whether or not the two should be together.  Some say that she’s an adult, and we should leave her alone.  Others are saying that she sets a bad example for young women everywhere by conveniently overlooking the fact that Chris nearly killed her three  years ago.  Chris is not being judged in the same manner as Rihanna, largely because we’ve all pretty much decided that he is the abuser and not likely the one who is going to inject much common sense into this relationship.  Some still have hope for Rihanna, but that hope is fleeting.

About 20 years ago, there was another couple that made headlines every week with a man by the last name of Brown.  Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston were a lot like Chris and Rihanna:  Two young R&B sex symbols with money to burn and loads of fame.  But as the years went by, their poor decisions slowly caught up with them.  Whitney died long before her time, and Bobby has suffered from years of addiction and is a shadow of what he used to be.  They too were defiant in their addiction to one another, even if that addiction cost them their careers or their lives.

So, beyond the long-term personal implications of being in an abusive relationship where you casually joke about getting high together, there is the public impact being made by your decisions.  As the father of impressionable young women, I can testify that the things that Rihanna does certainly impacts young women, whether she cares or not.  Also, there may be a  lesson to learn about making poor relationship choices at an early age, for it’ll be difficult to feel sorry for Rihanna and Chris when their chickens come home to roost.

We took the question to our NaturallyMoi.com fanpage to determine what readers think.  Here’s what they had to say:

 

 

  • Chandra Craddock ‘Weekley Let it be please
  • Gwendolyn Rosemond Once an abuser, always an abuser.
  • Brian Hickman It’s her life……….
  • Julia Francois How many times dhave our own parents,us, relatives,friends fist fougjt,argued,abused each other and then “GONE BACK” to each other. It may or may not be politically correct but it is a fact of life. Leave them alone.
    9 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2
  • Jessica Mashael Bordelon I say it shows that they recognize no one is perfect. They both played their part in what took plqce and if they can learn to love without the unhealthy habits and cutting down on eqch other they can have a relationship. WE ALL KNOW she is an antagonizer and she admitted she put her hands on him too. I will never tell my daughter she can hit a man and lose her temper and then NOT expect him to do the same. NO DOUBLE STANDARDS LADIES. Teach these young girls to be a lady first and how to know when to walk out of a bad relationship. Yhis isnt a bad reoationship. They were too damn young and hot headed. Let them work on it alone.
    9 hours ago · Like · 2
  • Gilletta Jill Stevenson It’s none of our business, really. There are ppl who will respond to this with all kinds of anger and judgemental rhetoric when they are in an abusive relationship themselves. Chris and Rihanna’s minds are made up and that’s it. I wish them well, but if they do not seriously commit to counseling this WILL get ugly eventually. I give it 3 months. By January 2013 the bottom will fall out.
  • Steve DelRay When Richard Burton and Liz Taylor did it, it was “romantic;” now, it’s “once an abuser, always an abuser.” But Roxy said it best–love is a drug, sometimes you get outta control…
  • Robynn Heist Tarvins This same situation hapenned to a friend of mine in high school; her boyfriend punched her in the face and gave her a black eye. They “broke up” for about a week or two, and then got right back together after they forgave each other. This is the kind of thing that happens regularly in abusive relationships. Even though you know it’s unhealthy, you get back together because you “love” them. 
    I mean, I guess of course it’s none of our business, but I still think it shows a negative message to young women (especially all those twitter girls who are crazy supportive of Brown). It shows that it’s ok to go back to a bad relationship if you’re in “love”, and that you can get over it. But please believe, if you’re hit once, you’ll get hit again. Any relationship in which your partner is hitting you is not love, it’s abuse.
  • Kiye LovingFisha It’s called FORGIVENESS!!!!!! Every situation is different!!
  • Denise Gray People need to learn how to mind their own business. Who cares about women rights groups and etc. it’s their lives. Point blank. People need to start paying attention to their own relationships rather than worrying what’s going on with someone.
    8 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2
  • 8 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
  • Angela DonDiva Thompson As a parent it’s your responsibility to teach your daughter what is and is not appropriate in a relationship. This means both mother and father should be her guide not these entertainers!
    8 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
  • Karen McClearn Lessons! and we all learn them, it’s the beauty and the beast of life. Forgiveness is key, learning the lesson is key! Let go and let God do the rest. Nothing can get in the way of REAL love for someone. These two love each other and were miserable without each other. As long as they learned the lesson from thier past, the future is bright! Everyone makes mistakes and we all grow from different seeds. Let’s support and guide, not tear down and ridicule!
  • Wardah Haqq I think people should mind their own business!
  • Leslie D. May No matter what everyone else feels and believes, these are two GROWN PEOPLE. I did some very foolish things in my younger days; things that make me cringe now, but it was my choice because I was grown. All I have to say is I will pray for them, pray for each individually to grow and seek counseling, and if this is what they desire, so be it!
  • Donna Marie Dawson most women alwaysgo back to their abusers. I hope the next episode wont kill her.