The Permanent Scarlet Letter

Recently Chris Brown released his new album Indigo. Many fans were upset about the lyrics to his song entitled " Need A Stack." Based on the lyrics in one of the verses many fans accused Chris of being colorist. The lyric states " I only fuck black bitches with the nice hair." Chris immediately attempted to defend himself on Instagram after receiving backlash. He asserted that insecure and ugly women are the only ones offended by this statement. Additionally, Chris received criticism from rap artist and Love and Hip Hop Atlanta cast member Tokyo. She also posted a video on Instagram and YouTube. She suggested that Chris Brown is a colorist. She did not denounce his personal dating preferences but she did admit that Chris is known for excluding dark-skinned  Black women from his V.I.P section when he attends clubs. Tokyo said on two different occasions she has seen Chris tell security to remove dark-skinned Black women from his V.I.P. section at night clubs in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Tokyo concluded her statements by saying that Chris should be honest and stand on his beliefs whether people like it or not. She also said that Chris should not back down now just appease and pander to his Black fans especially his Black female fans.

I am making my own personal observation based on this situation. The image above is Chris with this ex-girlfriend pop singer Rihanna around 2008. As we all know Chris and Rihanna got into an intense altercation in February 2009. The end result was Rihanna being physically assaulted by Chris and the photos were leaked to TMZ. I do not condone his actions on that but I will say that there is more to the story and it has only been reported in a biased context. Since this incident the trajectory of Chris's life has gone up and down in the public eye. Any time he is accused of displaying disrespect, inflicting harm on a woman, etc. Mainstream news outlets tell lies or only half the story and Chris gets dismissed as the "Big Bad Wolf."

In this image around 2007 Chris is smiling. I remember there was a time in his career where he always appeared to be happy and just in a good mood in general. This was prior the fallout with Rihanna.  I believe Chris has internalized the negative things people have said about him. He took the "Romeo" persona.  But let's take things a step further it is important to revisit his childhood. In October 2013 Chris had an interview with The Guardian. The article was entitled "Chris Brown: It was the biggest wake-up call." In the article Chris told the interviewer Decca Aitkenhead that he lost his virginity at the age of eight. Here's the official quote from the article says the following.
" He lost his virginity when he was eight years old, to a local girl who was 14 or 15. Seriously? 'Yeah, really. Uh-huh." He grins and chuckles. "It's different on the country." Brown grew up with a great a gang of boy cousins, and they watched so much porn, we were already kind of like hot to trot, you know what I'm saying? Like, girls, we weren't afraid. So, at eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it. You can be the best at it." In addition to be a victim of sexual assault Chris witnessed domestic violence growing up. When his mother Joyce remarried her second husband inflicted physical abuse. Chris could hear his mother's screams in his bedroom at night in their trailer. Chris suffered from seizures and wet the bed until the age of 14.

Toni's Final Thoughts: I am not excusing all of the things Chris has said or done. Yes, I was offended about the lyrics to this song. Some people have argued that Chris was not singling out dark-skinned Black women. I would say if that is true maybe he should clarify his statements. It did sound like a dog-whistle to color-ism. At the same time censorship can be a slippery slope. Based on Chris's childhood trauma I believe there is a possibility he hold resentment towards women. He was violated and did not see what a functional relationship looks like. Also maybe he is in denial about what happened to him or he suppressed it. But unfortunately sometimes he implodes. Who knows? What Chris raped by a dark-skinned Black girl? These are valid questions to ask. I do believe it is important to look at Chris and this situation holistically. We live in a society that does not provide enough support or understanding for male victims of abuse. They are dismissed and when they grow up to become men with anger, trust, sex issues, etc. most people overlook what shaped that man's worldview. I became a fan of Chris's music when he released his second album. Although I have not purchased all of his albums. I respect his talent, creativity, stage presence, etc. he is one of the best entertainers this generation has seen. But I do believe his lyrics were a poor choice of words but we should not single Chris out. Cardi B has made disrespectful comments about Black women and yet that is her primary fan base. We must not be hypocrites. If you don't support Chris I understand why. But I do believe people have made him the bad guy for a mistake he made a decade ago and that is not right. Yes, Chris should take responsibility for his actions but based on the things he has experienced it is a miracle to see him still be alive. Unfortunately, he has used drugs, alcohol, and sex to cope with this issues.  I feel like the music industry has chewed him up and spit him out but he still stands. I hope he gets therapy and is able to live a long life raising his daughter. She seems to be the source of his happiness and I was proud to see him take ownership of his music by obtaining his masters.


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