Should Rihanna Really Be "Unapologetic"?
Rihanna has just released her newest album, Unapologetic, and it’s not hard to imagine what sort of message she’s trying to send with that title. While there have been things that have been beyond her control, should she be at least somewhat apologetic for some of the things she’s been associated with? Let’s review some facts and then please weigh in!
Back in 2009, we were all shocked by the pictures that emerged of Rihanna’s bruised and battered face after she was assaulted by her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown. Rather than deny it, he turned himself in to the authorities as the world looked on, saddened to see one of the hottest couples in music fall apart, adding at least one incident to that year’s domestic violence statistics.
In the months that followed, people were baffled and concerned by Rihanna’s behavior. She seemed to not know what to do about her relationship with Brown but, ultimately, she ended it and appeared to reinvent herself. Rather than falling into the trap of being a victim, which would have been all too easy after those photos surfaced, she tried to redefine herself as a strong survivor. She even touched on the subject in “Love the Way You Lie,” a collaboration with Eminem.
As time went on, it was surprising that she never really found a steady relationship and, even though it was a couple years later, rumors began swirling over the possibility that she was still hung up on Chris Brown. By the end of 2011, there were reports that she was acting erratically and, following a tweet that said “so light-headed! WTF!!!!!!” she ended up being put under a 24-hour health watch by her team who also reportedly gave her a curfew.
In the new year, things really started to heat up when Chris Brown appeared on a remixed dirtier version of her already sex-fueled song, “Birthday Cake.” Not long after, Rihanna was interviewed by Elle magazine and stunned readers when she said (of the attack): "It gave me guns. I was like, well, f—k. They know more about me than I want them to know. It's embarrassing. But that was my opening. That was my liberation, my moment of 'bring it.' I wanted people to know who I am.”
Some felt that she made light of the seriousness of domestic violence and they weren’t the only ones questioning her behavior. Canadian rapper, Drake, with whom she has also been romantically linked, appeared in 2Chainz’s video “No Lie” and some of his lyrics raised more than a few eyebrows. He rapped: "Aww that look like what's her name, chances are it's what's her name/ Chances are if she was actin' up then I f*cked her once and never f*cked again/ She could have a Grammy, I still treat her ass like a nominee/ Just need to know what that p*ssy like so one time is fine with me."
He never confirmed who he was talking about but it was widely believed to be about Rihanna. The theory gained traction after Drake and Brown (along with their respective entourages) engaged in a bar brawl that left more than a few people injured. Still, despite this, Rihanna’s father had encouraging words for the couple, saying: "Chris has matured a lot. I think everybody has to put the past behind them. And they seem to have done that. Being a couple is all up to her.” Interesting but he has a point - everyone deserves a second chance, right?
Meanwhile, although Calvin Harris revealed that Rihanna tried to hook up with him in his dressing room, the singer sat down with Oprah for what many consider her most shocking interview yet. During their exchange, she revealed that she and Brown “love each other” and probably always will and, rather than be concerned for herself when he assaulted her, she was worried about how he would be judged by the public. After referring to him as “the love of [her] life” she faced worldwide scrutiny and was even called an “idiot” by Joan Rivers.
Some people felt that, while Rihanna has a right to speak her truth, it was unfair of her to depict their relationship as being so loving since, among other things, Brown had moved on and was in a long-term relationship with Karrueche Tran. We all knew what was coming, however, after the former lovers were caught sharing a kiss on stage at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards – less than a month later, Brown ended it with Tran.
In the days that followed, Rihanna and Breezy were spotted kissing and even attended a Jay-Z concert together. While many expected them to go public with their relationship, they opted to deny the rumors but revealed their collaboration “Nobodies Business” on her newest album, Unapologetic.
Since then, she was interviewed by GQ (and appeared nude on the cover) and, when asked about the nightclub fight between Drake and Chris Brown, she simply said: “there’s no proof of that being for my love.” Wow… some might feel that she gave a rather cold response given the severity of that situation. The men were facing charges (which were just dropped) and people were injured. Some people might feel responsible or even guilty for being at the center of that type of controversy but Rihanna seems pretty cool with it all.
In fact, although she says that she has a right to privacy, she does all that she can to make it a matter of public record by dropping little hints and getting us to buy albums that feature tracks telling us to mind our own business. If she wants it all to be private, why tweet “see u soon lover” as she heads over to meet Chris Brown in Germany for Thanksgiving? Why tweet a shirtless picture of him in bed just hours after he had to cancel a concert in Guyana because women’s rights groups were protesting?
We’ll discuss Chris Brown’s progress in the near future but we can say that there have been plenty of instances when he’s lost his cool, prompting people to wonder if he really does have his anger problem under control (he did just engage in a Twitter battle that resulted in him deleting his account).
While Rihanna certainly has a right to date whomever she wants and forgive whomever she wants, is it right for her to be “unapologetic” about it? Does it seem defiant or irresponsible of her to be acting like this after everything that has happened?
We’re not taking sides on this one but we’d love to hear what you have to say!