Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Rihanna making a bad decision?

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
December 5, 2012 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
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
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1845 GMT (0245 HKT)
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says Steve Israel is right: Some Republicans encourage anti-Latino prejudice. But that kind of bias is not limited to the GOP.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 2323 GMT (0723 HKT)
Peggy Drexler counts the ways Phyllis Schlafly's argument that lower pay for women helps them nab a husband is ridiculous.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1642 GMT (0042 HKT)
Rick McGahey says Rep. Paul Ryan is signaling his presidential ambitions by appealing to hard core Republican values
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Paul Saffo says current Google Glasses are doomed to become eBay collectibles, but they are only the leading edge of a surge in wearable tech that will change our lives
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Kathleen Blee says the KKK and white power or neo-Nazi groups give haters the purpose and urgency to use violence.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman say read deep, and you'll see the federal Keystone pipeline report spells out the pipeline is bad news
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says President Obama needs to stop making empty threats against Russia and consider other options
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say the Kansas Jewish Center killings are part of a string of lethal violence in the U.S. that outstrips al Qaeda-influenced attacks. Why don't we pay more attention?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says families of the passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 need legal counsel
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
David Frum says Russia is on a rampage of mischief while Western leaders and Western alliances charged with keeping the peace hem and haw
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
David Wheeler says as middle-class careers continue to disappear, we need a monthly cash payment to everyone
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Democrats need to show more political spine when it comes to the issue of taxes.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Donna Brazile recalls the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act as four presidents honored the heroes of the movement and Lyndon Johnson, who signed the law
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Elmer Smith remembers Chuck Stone, the legendary journalist from Philadelphia who was known as a thorn in the side of police and an advocate for the little guy
April 13, 2014 -- Updated 1856 GMT (0256 HKT)
Al Franken says Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider, wants to acquire Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable provider. Should we be concerned?
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
Philip Cook and Kristin Goss says the Pennsylvania stabbing attack, which caused grave injury -- but not death, carries a lesson on guns for policymakers
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1906 GMT (0306 HKT)
Wikipedia lists 105 football movies, but all too many of them are forgettable, writes Mike Downey
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
John Sutter and hundreds of iReporters set out to run marathons after the bombings -- and learned a lot about the culture of running
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Timothy Stanley says it was cowardly to withdraw the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The university should have done its homework on her narrow views and not made the offer
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Al Awlaki
Almost three years after his death in a 2011 CIA drone strike in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki continues to inspire violent jihadist extremists in the U.S, writes Peter Bergen
April 12, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
David Bianculli says Colbert is a smart, funny interviewer, but ditching his blowhard persona to take over the mainstream late-night role may cost him fans
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
Rep. Paul Ryan says the Republican budget places its trust in the people, not in Washington
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
Aaron David Miller says Obama isn't to blame for Kerry's lack of progress in resolving Mideast talks
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
David Weinberger says beyond focusing on the horrors of the attack a year ago, it's worth remembering the lessons it taught about strength, the dangers of idle speculation and Boston's solidarity
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
Katherine Newman says the motive for the school stabbing attack in Pennsylvania is not yet known, but research on such rampages turns up similarities in suspects and circumstances
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
Wendy Townsend says the Rattlesnake Roundup -- where thousands of pounds of snakes are killed and tormented -- is barbaric
ADVERTISEMENT