Regarding Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” Remix with Chris Brown…

by Bradley Stern

Between the Billboard story and Rihanna’s tweets at the moment, I guess the rumors are true. It’s really happening: Chris Brown is going to be featured on Rihanna‘s “Birthday Cake” remix.

EDIT: Oh good, it looks like she’ll be appearing on a remix of HIS new single too.

There have already been plenty of responses (like my friend Sam Lansky‘s excellent take on the situation for XOJane), but I thought it necessary to explain why this song won’t be appearing on MuuMuse.

Putting Chris Brown on a Rihanna song is an irresponsible, reckless stunt that teaches that after biting, choking and beating a woman to a pulp, begrudgingly appearing in court and going out partying the same night, calling Raz B a faggot, throwing a chair out the window in an anger-induced rage at Good Morning America, calling a LAPD policewoman and paparazzi members “gay” and “weak” after receiving a parking ticket, ranting on Twitter about ‘haters’ and inspiring women to tweet ‘jokes’ about being willing to get punched to date him (see all of this and more in picture form at Buzzfeed), Chris Brown should still be exalted as a “comeback hero” of sorts, win a Grammy and be featured on a song with the same woman he beat senseless less than three years ago.

For me, it’s not just that he hit Rihanna (which, don’t get me wrong, is more than enough already)–it’s that he’s only continued to prove that he’s nothing more than a douche. Where’s the humility? Trust me: I understand forgiveness. I don’t think someone should be marked by their past crimes forever. (It’s a crime, by the way–whenever people label the beating “a mistake,” I cringe.)

What I don’t understand is turning a blind eye to relentless acts of fuckery: Even if he’s genuinely sorry in private (which none of us can speak to), it’s Brown’s behavior in public that has shown him to be remorseless, homophobic, misogynistic and explosively out of control.

Perhaps I’m just not “forgiving” enough to understand why putting Chris Brown on a smutty club banga about fucking is an enlightened move. Or maybe it’s somehow anti-feminist of me to suggest that Rihanna shouldn’t be allowed to endorse someone that beat the living shit out of her. If that makes me short-sighted, so be it.

All I know is that if Rihanna were my own sister, I’d be running into the studio now to set fire to the recordings of his guest verse and take her far, far away from him. Honestly? I’m not even a little sorry about that.

Right now, Rihanna is loudly yelling her lyrics as thinly-veiled responses to the situation on Twitter: “They can say whatever, Ima do whatever… No pain is forever <-----YUP! YOU KNOW THIS" and "Go head talk shit...its all in da paper!!! Lemme grab my dick while ya sit on top!!!" It's not exactly helping to position her decision as...intelligent. Instead, it's making me feel really sad for her--there is no positive lesson to be learned from this collaboration. As for me, I won't be supporting this release. It's very upsetting to me, given that "Birthday Cake" was easily a favorite off of Talk That Talk. (Please note: I’m not telling anyone to support or boycott this song. Who am I to be telling anyone what to do? The decision is yours.)

I’m not giving up on her. I’ll always love her as an artist, but I simply cannot support something so explicitly ignorant.

Rihanna can forgive. It’s her life and her choice. I don’t have to forget. That’s mine.

  • http://twitter.com/charliekelso Charlie Kelso

    You said everything I was going to comment on the first blog that defended this terrible decision. It can still be just a stunt to fool the media (her team have done this before about the Jay-Z affair with her), but if true it’s the dumbest decision ever for her, even if it turns out to be good for her bank account. It’s that very conservative notion that if women like this come back to the criminals it’s because they like to suffer. Yeah, he’s really sorry, a sorry person is always jet skying the day after they fuck up.

  • http://twitter.com/jamesderryl JamesDerrylHockettII

    Very well put Bradley. I personally respect Rihanna for doing it, i think it’s a fearless move on her part. Noone know the relationship between them. There’s no excuse for Chris’ behavior, AT ALL.. & it breaks my heart that Rihanna would allow that back in her life, but I can’t blame her. The heart is stronger than the mind.. especially the heart of a pisces. We just gotta pray that she can make the right decisions to keep herself safe. We’ll see how it plays out.. let’s just hope she doesn’t fall too deep down the wrong path & end up back in that alley looking for love in that hopeless place. 

  • Tommy Thompson


  • http://www.facebook.com/timtbui Tim Bui

    I thought it was hopeless after hearing from some people that “what’s done is done” & that it took place many years ago. I’m proud that of you writing this; I’m not sure what’s worse him having no remorse of what he did or her being has my friends would say “stupid/idiot.” She’s leading the step back in feminist movement..

  • Starr

    This ain’t gonna end well. It didn’t end well the first time.

  • http://www.theroundtableonline.com jayvee

    I think the bigger step is to not just boycott posting the song… but also the singer(s). Reality is, if you just overlook the Chris Brown collabo, you are still turning a blind eye to all that has gone. The entire time I was supporting Rihanna in this, Brown was the monster… but she’s no different. Yes, victims of abuse get trapped in this web and go back and forth… but she needs to take a stance. There are a lot of young boys and girls who are watching this unfold and are basically being told this sort of behavior is bad. Not just physical abuse, but also her willingness to essentially laugh it off — in an exceptionally vulgar manner mind you. Really a disgrace. 

  • Crizzabster

    Let’s say it’s really love. That she just HAS to have him back in her life again. That she wants to try therapy and few dinners together. Okay. Fine. She still needs to be strong enough to NOT record this track and set a pretty gross example for girls the world over. But let’s just say it’s a stunt for $$$. If this is true, and I think it is, she’s a pretty disgusting person. 
    Either way, I feel for her. Seeing that little spinning beach ball as my computer trashes her entire catalog is a little heartbreaking. Overdramatic? Maybe.
    But try having a mom that gets abused over the course of years during YOUR childhood, and THEN talk to me about “responsibility” and “true love.” Grow the f*ck up Rihanna. Seriously.

  • ajp


  • Aaron

    couldn’t agree more!…i will loose all respect for her if this is true! and i know a lot of people will too…..this girl will be banned from my iPod the instant this remix is released.

  • Stephanie

    It’s Rihanna’s song, it’s her decision, and she has made it. There are still a few days left so maybe all of you threatening to no longer support her will cause her to change her mind but in all honesty, that would be a shame. If this is what Rihanna wants to do, who are you people to say otherwise? Maybe this is her way of saying she wants everyone to get the fuck over what happened. I mean she’s said it several times, but everyone chooses to ignore that. Now as far as role models go, you would want your teenaged daughters to look up to someone who is overtly sexual and does nothing to tone it down any, smokes, etc., just as long as she doesn’t have Chris Brown on a song? You people really underestimate teenagers. Contrary to everyone’s opinions here, they are not going to blindly follow everything Rihanna says or does nor anyone else for that matter. If your children do, you clearly have more pressing issues that you should deal with rather than worrying about what this 23 year old stranger does.

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/bd5ZFxs4v43zJiaN3jnhw6mC_OjLeFaljhtGtw--#0a66d J

    It’s a genius marketing idea and it doesn’t surprise me at all the she would do this. All I expect from Rihanna is too look hot and to do whatever the music producers tell her too. She’s dumb, crude, and tasteless. I have no idea why anyone would expect differently from her. I sure don’t.

  • whhhhhy?

    I hear the producer has confirmed Chris is NOT the guest rapper.  Honestly though, it’s all sketchy.  He could’ve confirmed this awhile ago.  Either the industry people involved were testing the waters to see if they could pull off the collaboration or they were stirring up drama for free PR.

  • Pingback: A Message to Rihanna About Featuring Chris Brown on Bday Cake | J&M()

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaPingley Joshua Pingley

    Well it’s not happening so no need to fret.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alex-Bell/735018146 Alex Bell

    Incredibly well written and expressed, Bradley. You hit the nail on the head and said what a lot of people are thinking, and I’m in complete agreement. After reading the incident report, it’s beyond me that anyone can actually justify this awful human and his ridiculous and dangerous exploits. He’s quite literally just a thug.

    It really does piss me off, that -so- many sights are choosing to over-look his disguisting behaviour and offer him the attention he’s receiving. And don’t even get me started on the Grammy’s. Just don’t.

  • BritneyLover

    OMG I’m so mad about this right now…I just can’t grasp this. Like, seriously? I hope she knows that she’ll lose an incredible amount of respect from her fans if this collab is true. Yes Riri, we found love in a hopeless place, but I thought you’ve learned your lessons the hard way?

  • Ben

    No. Sorry, but no. I have used this same ‘not a role model, teenagers aren’t stupid’ argument about this same person before. But that was about her sexy / druggy image in her songs, videos and real life. That is one thing – and I think it’s absurd when ‘concerned parents’ get upset about it. Read someone’s lyrics before allowing your children to listen to them – but publicly endorsing your abuser sends a powerful message across all media to women (and MEN) young *and* old that almost killing someone is not a big deal. You don’t have to be stupid, you just have to be young and / or impressionable and you might believe this shit.

  • http://twitter.com/Anticonformity Anticonformity

    love this! im with ya man!

  • http://twitter.com/Jwentz612 Johnny

    I’m in full agreement.  So many women go running back to their abusers, this collboration feels like such a horrible and public example of that.  Forgiveness is one thing, this is entirely another.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ross-Wolfe/100002597965544 Ross Wolfe

    Yes! I Could not agree more with this. Well said!

  • Muffy

    People need to stop telling her how she should feel about a guy she knows. She’s going to do whatever she wants to do. Her tweets are not enough for some? She’s just an artist you are a fan of she does not live with you. We don’t even know either personally. Their angry got the best of them, which is not cool, but it happens all the time. Brown did everything he was ordered to do. Brown and Rihanna are not together. He has a girlfriend. He was just on the beach with that girlfriend. He and Rihanna are just friend. This is just fake hype for the song.

  • Muffy

    Ban everyone you disagree with.

  • Muffy

    I think she should record a 7 mins long record titled “Get the FUCK over it. Let it go!”