With the recent social media mosh pit over Chris Brown and Rihanna’s rekindling, at least for music’s sake, i’ve seen the word “responsibility” thrown around all willy-nilly. It has been said that she is not upholding her responsibility to her impressionable young fans. Ummm. Wait. What!? Since when did releasing music come with the caveat that someone must now be given extraneous responsibilities? Ahh, probably when Americans began to blame others for their faulty parenting.
Every human being is responsible for, in order: self, child, family. That’s it. Now, if you want to rebuttal with, you’re not a parent or else you’d know children come first, well, you’re mistaken. If you’re dead or thoroughly maimed or otherwise incapacitated, you cannot take care of your children. So, once again, self trumps all in priority, followed by children being as close to self as possible. Family can be extended or curtailed to include or exclude close friends, adopted nieces and nephews, etc. With that said, can we stop passing the buck here? Please, America? Please, parents?
From Charlie Sheen to Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods and Tim Tebow, Rihanna and Chris Brown, they are not responsible for nor have any obligation to your children. None. But, you know who does? Yes, you.
Of course your children are impressionable—they’re the sponges of the world. Yes, they gawk at these pretty and zany folks on their TV screens, in the palm of their smartphones, or strewn across check-out aisle stands—but, these persons granted celebrity owe you nothing, nothing more than their artistry (or what passes for artistry these days).
If your child does something that is “unfit,” it is your duty to them to either scold, teach, coddle, ignore, or do really whatever you choose. Whether you birthed or adopted them, you chose to raise them, so it’s your responsibility. It must also be known that you cannot control your child’s (once they reach a certain age, at least) every action, every thought. They will decide to do things, they will test boundaries, will see what works for them and what doesn’t, what they like and abhor. Monitor them.
All throughout the media, from journalists to bloggers and other such writers and whatnot, there’s been a passing of the blame onto celebrities, quasi-celebs, athletes, musicians and artists of all walks by utilizing “obligation” and “responsibility.” That needs to stop. Don’t pass the blame onto the artists; they’ve never met your kids, they’ve no interaction with them, and most importantly, they’ve already fulfilled their obligation: creative trinkets and entertainment.
Back to Rihanna, i’m reiterating this: she is not responsible for anything regarding your kids. Nothing. She is an individual, an artist. She did not conceive your child, did not carry your kid, did not push your child out of her womb, did not name your child, does not pay for your child’s food or clothing or shelter. You know what she does? She entertains; she may inspire, too, with her lyrics, or even get the child through a bad day somehow. That’s what artists of all generations, for decades, do and have done. Rihanna is NOT responsible for anything regarding your offspring’s well- or upbringing. She may be an influence on how said child dances or dresses or sings or how to be an independent-thinking woman in this continuing sea of clones, fighting off the marauding patriarchal pirates, but even through all of that, she is NOT responsible for the kid. You are. When you purchase that album or single, there’s a contract: Rihanna provides music, entertainment. There are no hidden clauses stating, “Rihanna must act like a Puritan woman, unable to make her own choices, cannot wear what she wants, if anything at all, cannot date whom she sees fit, tattoo whatever body part, etc.”
Folks have been all in a tizzy calling for Rihanna’s head because she is not embracing being made the living martyr of domestic violence. It is not her responsibility to do that. Sure, it would be a boon to the awareness of domestic violence for Rihanna to be more outspoken about what occurred three years ago inside that Lambourghini with (ex) beau Chris Brown. Yet, she doesn’t want to, she shouldn’t have to, and shouldn’t be chastised or pressured into doing such. Holy shit. Someone doesn’t want to fall into the collective trappings and pressure of the world. Please forgive her insubordinance. She wants to live her life how she sees fit; whether that is in personal dealings or business dealings, is her choice.
I’ve questioned why she would want to get back with Brown, why would she release a single with him, but that’s all it is, pure curiosity. I’d love to know what is making her tick, how she came about that decision. But, at the end and the beginning of every single day, it is and always will come down to individual, personal choice—all hinges upon personal responsibility and wants. I will never disrespect someone by denying them their ability to utilize that right of free will.
We only see the public personas of both Brown and Miss Fenty, only what they allow us to see. Whatever happens behind closed doors or on untapped phone calls or direct messages we’re not privy to, so let’s give both of the young twenty-somethings the benefit of the doubt—they may be on to something regarding love and forgiveness for themselves. They are not here as the whole world’s personal Sims, moved around here and there as we see fit, as if we’re trying to rectify some failing in our own lives. I guess it’s why we hang on celebrities’ every movement, spending oodles of time and support through money for these “reality” shows, isn’t it? Want to see if maybe we can learn something from them, hoping they don’t make the same mistakes we did/do—or, maybe we do want them to. We are a people that fostered the Saw franchise after all.
Rihanna is far from the first artist to be involuntarily tagged with this “role model” label, and i’m sure she will not be the last. During the early 90s we witnessed the stomping of hip hop records, ill-conceived effigy for violence in the inner-cities of America. Remember the tragedy of Columbine? Media and politicians brewed up a nasty gumbo consisting of videogames and Marilyn Manson. Ridiculous. Now, if President Obama or the First Lady did something unbecoming of America’s highest couple, the world would rightfully thumb their noses at us, and our citizens would have a right to be incredulous. The Obamas represent our country, have agreed to said responsibilities.
All i ask is for people to discontinue the shifting of what’s on their plates to others, especially when the others have no horse in those races.