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  • Writer's pictureDearbhla

Trophy Tattoo

The media's glorification of Brown’s self-promoted bad boy image has only been intensified by his latest tattoo which seems to serve as some sort of perverted badge of honour.

Does being a high-profile celebrity mean that you don’t have to adhere to the same laws or social norms that those of us in the real world have to abide by? It seems to me that celebrities have been endowed with a ‘Get out of Jail Free card’ because society is infinitely more willing to forgive and forget that you committed a crime if you are famous; or 'infamous' in the case of Chris Brown. The media's glorification of Brown’s self-promoted bad boy image has only been intensified by his latest tattoo which seems to serve as some sort of perverted badge of honour.

Brown’s claim that his new tattoo is a Mexican ‘Dia de los muertos’ skull is utter prattle to most of us who can see it for what it is; a woman whose face has been badly mutilated. Both eyes are bulging and swollen and the left eye is black indicating that the woman in question has been badly beaten. Across the lips are stitches, indicative of a Sugar Skull but also eerily reminiscent of Rihanna’s split lip in 2009. Of course, I am simply jumping to conclusions- it’s most likely not Rihanna, it’s probably just an image of a generic woman with a bashed up face.

Regardless of whether the tattoo in question was meant to be a Mexican ‘Sugar Skull’ or not, it is in poor taste and I am astounded that Brown did not have the foresight to predict a resemblance between the photograph and the Sugar Skull. Brown displays a total lack of self awareness that is made all the more prevalent by his added lack of regard to the impact his actions will have on susceptible fans. Why do we keep mistakenly using fame as a means for allocating impunity?

I also wonder why, given his complete and obvious lack of remorse, Brown has not been court ordered to attend anger management classes and therapy to combat his obvious violent tendencies towards women for the rest of his life? It’s not the first time Brown has been violent and it’s certainly not the last either despite his ‘heartfelt’ apology to fans after what’s now known as the ‘Rihanna’ incident. It took Brown nine days to apologise to Rihanna, via text message and in 2010 Brown announced at the BET Awards; ‘I let ya’ll down before, but I won’t do it again.’ This seemed to act as a sufficient apology for both the music industry and fans alike and he has gone from strength to strength. He was then awarded a Grammy in February after which Brown tweeted; ‘HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That's the ultimate F**** OFF!’ This tweet merely highlights the fact that Brown has little or no idea as to the reasons why he was being criticised.

Does Brown deserve redemption? I believe in the old cliché that actions speak louder than words and his actions speak loud and clear, he doesn’t believe that he did anything wrong. Having alluded to experiencing abuse himself as a child, it is disturbing that he has made attempts to justify his battering of Rihanna by dismissing it as a one-off act of immature rage. In this, he has done little in the way of convincing the public that he is in any way remorseful.

Last year Brown verbally abused producers of ‘Good Morning America’ and smashed a window in his dressing room when host Robin Roberts questioned him about ‘the Rihanna incident’; a response that shows that he certainly hasn’t been doing much to curtail his temper.

His fans have hit back at ‘haters’, an affectionate name for those of us with a social conscience, by claiming that we should ‘get over it’ because he made a mistake. These people are clearly remiss of the difference between a mistake and a crime. Not only did Brown punch Rihanna numerous times resulting in a split lip and a black eye but he smashed her head against the car window resulting in head contusions. Then when he was done assaulting her, he bit her left ear. What is even more concerning are the comments circulating about the 'type of girl' Rihanna is, which seem to indicate that because she is "overtly sexual" she deserved what she got. Regardless of whether both he and Rihanna shared a mutually volatile relationship, or even her actions during or since the incident, it does not condone violent retaliation.

Let’s be clear. A mistake is forgetting to add a full stop to the end of a sentence. Punching a woman repeatedly in the face and biting her ear, is a crime.

There is a grave difference and people need to be aware of it. It is these redemption seekers who are facilitating the objectification of women and make it possible for people like Brown to disregard their own actions and carry on as if nothing happened.

Brown’s joint infamy and adulation is not exactly new. Take Charlie Sheen. Deified by the press and adorned by fans worldwide despite the fact that he too has been found guilty of physical abuse. His ‘indiscretions’ were forgiven because society thought his outrageous, drug-induced rants about ‘Trolls’ and having 'Tiger Blood' were comical. In all actuality, society found it so funny that the fact that in his spare time he likes to beat up women was overlooked. Then there’s Roman Polanski who raped a 13-year-old girl but continued to make very successful Hollywood films, despite having fled to France in 1978 to avoid imprisonment. What a hero.

Just because Brown, Sheen, Polanksi and the hoards of other abusers happen to be famous should not make misogynistic violence tolerable. It defies logic as to why society is letting its reverence of ‘celebrity culture’ overtake the law and society’s own moral code.

Fame should not allow anyone to be exempt from taking responsibility for these types of vehement crimes. Society has it all wrong. We should be taking these cases even MORE seriously because of the fact that they are in the public eye. Regardless of whether celebrities want to or not, they have a responsibility to uphold a moral conduct. Brown and all the other A-list wife beaters are a depressing indictment of everything that is wrong with civilisation nowadays.

People speak of forgiveness. If you beat a woman to a pulp, brag about it and then brand her battered face on your neck then you don’t deserve forgiveness. Perhaps it is simply karma that Chris Brown’s ‘Dia de los muertos’ looks like Rihanna’s 2009 police shot. He deserves to have that seared into his skin for eternity.


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