The timing of his win could not have been more poignant: it was almost three years to the day that Rihanna had been forced to cancel her 2009 Grammy performance because her face had been rendered unrecognizable thanks to a certain Mr Brown.
Even though the Grammys are for musical achievement and not “boyfriend of the year”, the voting panel still had a responsibility to fully understand the message they were giving out to the world, particularly young people, when they rewarded a man convicted of domestic assault.
Brown, who desperately needs to look up “humility” and “knowing when to shut up” in the dictionary, took to Twitter to demonstrate his amazing personal growth: “HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate FUCK OFF!” You’d be forgiven for thinking that the tweet belonged to a prepubescent with colourfullanguage, rather than a deeply remorseful and mature 23-year-old man, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The tweet may have been deleted immediately after but the internet is written using permanent ink.
And this wasn’t the most disturbing thing to come out of Twitter concerning the incident. Tweets arose soon after the awards ceremony from girls stating that they would “let Chris Brown beat [them] any day”. It would be easy to chastise these girls for their ignorance but I think it is actually a startling reminder of how rape culture has become acceptable. Rape jokes are rarely considered taboo. Phrases like “Facebook rape” have weaved their way into the national vocabulary, and whilst many may dismiss this as completely harmless, people often terribly underestimate the power of desensitising language.
When you put people like Chris Brown, who have shown little to no remorse for their actions, on a pedestal, you are broadcasting, however inadvertently, that what they did was acceptable. Yes, it is human nature to make mistakes, but there are mistakes and then there is beating your girlfriend to a pulp in a moving vehicle. Not all victims of domestic abuse can be Rihanna. Too many of them suffer in silence because they are not taken seriously because we live in a world where Chris Brown is celebrated much too soon.