Rihanna & Chris Brown’s “Birthday Cake”: A publicity stunt that doesn’t come without side effects.

So if you pay any attention whatsoever to pop culture, you’ve likely heard the drama that’s surrounding pop sensation Rihanna.

A remix of Rihanna’s song, features her singing alongside Chris Brown, who was accused of assaulting her in 2008 in what may be one of the most well-known cases of domestic violence.

The internet has exploded with opinions over the song, very sexual in nature, ranging from people disappointed over the message Rihanna is sending, to those who insist the public needs to get over the incident that happened four years ago.

I, along with everyone else voicing their opinions, have one too, and I have a big problem with Rihanna, and all this “Birthday Cake” business. Here’s why.

When Rihanna appeared on the scene, I remember being into her music. Songs like “Pon de Replay” and “Please Don’t Stop the Music” made all of us want to dance, me included. I remember a fresh-faced Rihanna, all smiles in the video for “If it’s loving that you want,” where she appears in a bright-colored dress, dancing on the beach. It was a feel-good song with a feel-good vibe. But something happened to Rihanna. The “Good Girl Gone Bad”, as she has called herself became darker. Songs like “Disturbia”, while catchy and danceable, showed us a new side to the singer.

She went from this: (image from blogspot.com)

To this: (image from hitpredictor.wordpress.com)

“But Megan, she is just growing and changing as an artist. What’s so wrong with that?”

Many people likely take on this perspective and don’t see anything wrong with it. My problem lies in the fact that Rihanna has a giant following, the majority of who are likely young, vulnerable girls looking up to the women in the media. They hear songs like “Stupid Ho”, where Nicki Minaj professes “Pretty b*tches only get into my posse.” So that’s what women have to go by. Looks are everything, and it’s best to aspire to be a bad girl.

“It’s just music. Why can’t we just enjoy a fun song?”

You can. But don’t think for a second there aren’t girls out there that look up to Rihanna, and want to be just like her. We all saw girls with the dyed red hair, girls with “Only Girl in The World” as their ringtone. Girls who watched Rihanna pole dance with Britney Spears during one T.V. appearance. The ones who hear lyrics like “Feels so good being bad, there’s no way I’m turning back.”

I would like to know what happened to the girl happily dancing on a beach, flirty and fun, innocently singing about telling someone she loves them. The woman who was interviewed on “Good Morning America” regarding the Chris Brown incident and said although she had been selfish and went back to the man who hit her at first, she realized her influence and saw that her decision could result in “some young girl getting killed.”

“Come on Megan, it’s her life. It’s her relationship. If she wants to be back together with Chris Brown, it’s up to her. She forgives him.”

This is 100% true. The truth is, I don’t care who Rihanna dates or doesn’t date. The problem is the capacity of her influence. She may forgive him, but singing a duet about sex sends a bad message.

 “It’s just music. They’re not even back together, they’re just doing a song together. Calm down.”

This might be true. Again, it wouldn’t matter as much if she did not have the influence she does over young women. If I spend 3 minutes singing to someone about how much I love pie, and how I’m going to eat pie all day, I’m likely to lead someone to believe I like pie. I’m likely to lead someone to believe that eating pie is great, and it’s the thing to do. Take that and multiply it by millions of fans, and even more influence. Make me one of the leading ladies on the charts and we have a pretty strong group of people hearing my message about pie. I don’t have to eat a bite of it but I still have made plenty of people believe it’s true.

To me, Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” song with Chris Brown essentially sends the message that yes, this guy made a mistake, but it’s fine. We can have a volatile relationship that results in violence and control (as portrayed in her video “We Found Love”), and the next minute be singing about how great our sex is, but it’s cool. That’s just our crazy relationship. I feel that it glamorizes this violence. In a relationship, not together, or “It’s Complicated”, the message is sent through music.

It’s one thing to realize Chris Brown made a mistake. No one is saying he hasn’t paid for his mistake, or he shouldn’t be forgiven. But it seems that this type of collaboration goes past that point and sends a message that could lead people in the wrong direction.

If Rihanna and Chris Brown made this song to get people talking, it has certainly worked. My only fear is that this publicity stunt is comes at a price too high.

One comment

  1. I think one of the lamest things about the whole “Birthday Cake” fiasco is that their first song together after the domestic violence fallout is a boring, predictable sex-pun song.

    It’s just a song about how you can talk about cake stuff, but you’re really talking about sex stuff. It’s easy, lowbrow, and really wastes the potential for a very complex and interesting single about the state of Rhianna and Chris Brown’s relationship (romantic and/or friendly) now.

    It’s a stupid song about cake. C’mon, music artists, you can do better.

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