In her new interview with Rolling Stone, Rihanna has confirmed that she and Chris Brown are back together, exactly four years after he beat the sh-t out of her on Grammy weekend. This, of course, is not news, as we’ve all seen the pictures and her twitter, but she hasn’t publicly spoken about it until now. Many of you have emailed me for comment on the situation. Here are some of her statements. Let’s discuss on the other side.
"I wanted him to know what it felt like to lose me. To feel the consequences of that,” she said.
"So when that (stuff) came back it hit me like a ton of bricks. Like, God, you've got to be kidding right now. But I got real with myself, and I just couldn't bury the way I felt."
“I decided it was more important for me to be happy,” she says. “I wasn’t going to let anybody’s opinion get in the way of that. Even if it’s a mistake, it’s my mistake. After being tormented for so many years, being angry and dark, I’d rather just live my truth and take the backlash. I can handle it.”
“When you add up the pieces from the outside, it’s not the cutest puzzle in the world.” Rihanna says. “You see us walking somewhere, driving somewhere, in the studio, in the club, and you think you know. But it’s different now. We don’t have those types of arguments anymore. We talk about s—. We value each other. We know exactly what we have now, and we don’t want to lose that.”
“Listen, I'll tell you right now: I don't have to take it. If he gives me that again, here's what I give him: nothing. I just walk away. He doesn’t have the luxury of fucking up again,” she says. “That’s just not an option. I can’t say that nothing else will ever go wrong. But I’m pretty solid in the knowing that he’s disgusted by that. And I wouldn’t have gone this far if I ever thought that was a possibility.”
“He made a mistake, and he’s paid his dues,” Rihanna adds. “He’s paid so much. And I know that’s not a place he would ever want to go back to. And sometimes people need support and encouragement, instead of ridicule and criticism and bashing.”
"Wait. You Think I'm here to rehabilitate Chris? No, no, no. That is not my purpose. Trust me. I could have done that from the jump if I thought that was my job. My job was to take care of myself- and I did. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think Chris was ready."
"For a long time he was really angry, and he felt like he couldn't get away from it, no matter what he did. But there's so many reasons why I ever reconsidered having him in my life. He's not the monster everybody thinks. He's a good person. He has a fantastic heart. He's giving and loving. And he's fun to be around."
“It makes me feel great to know that people care. I guess it's just something that will show with time. There's nothing I could say that would convince you right now. But we're in a great place. And I can't ever see us going back,"
I will not hate on Rihanna for her poor decisions. Yes, they are poor decisions. But focusing on her being a dumbass isn't going to be my narrative. It is not uncommon for victims of abuse to return to their abusers. It is not uncommon for victims of abuse to find ways to excuse their abusers, to be more concerned about the well-being of their abusers than they are for themselves, and to feel a disturbing sense of gratification in being so singular in their support of their abusers. Rihanna is a victim of abuse. And like other victims of abuse she has been, for years now, unable to stop loving the person who hurt her. While it may be tragic, sad, and stupid, and while I, thankfully, cannot relate, it’s also not super hard to try, at least, to understand.
He was her first love. They were in love. And in just a few minutes it went from fresh and fun and intoxicating and beautiful to bruised and bloody and violent. She probably woke up hating him. The problem here is that hate does not replace love. And how many of us could stop loving someone in five minutes? If my husband tonight did to me what Chris Brown did to Rihanna I would be angry, and disgusted, and afraid, but I don’t think that I could honestly say, looking at my swollen face in the mirror the next morning, that I would have stopped loving him already.
It's been four years. She hasn't stopped loving him. You could attack her on those grounds, I suppose -- after all that time, considering his ongoing alarming behaviour, why hasn't she gotten over it yet? She's just asking for trouble. She has money. She can leave him any time. She deserves what’s coming to her.
George Clooney once said that fame freezes you at the age that it arrives. So Britney Spears, for example, will always be 16. Can the same situation be applied in love and disaster? Rihanna did not, could not, un-love, de-love, stop loving Chris Brown. It's not then that she's going backwards, it's that she never moved on.
This is disappointing. This is upsetting. But...is it reprehensible?
Well, she has fans. She is a role model to her fans. She’s letting down her fans. Yes. She is. But how are you asking her not to let down her fans when she can’t stop letting down herself? To say nothing of how alarming it is that our young girls are even looking to a celebrity victim of abuse as a role model. Which isn't to say that this is a justification of Rihanna’s choices. Not justification but rather an argument in favour of compassion over vilification? Is it possible to separate the compassion for Rihanna from the vilification for Chris Brown instead?