Rihanna and Chris Brown's New Song Will Be a Hit, and It's Our Fault

What Women Really Think
Nov. 16 2012 10:36 AM

Rihanna and Chris Brown's New Song Will Be a Hit, and It's Our Fault

Rihanna at GQ's Men of the Year Party.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

No one seems to understand better than Chris Brown and Rihanna that the line between desire and disgust is very thin. Most decent people find the two pop stars' public dance of obsession after Brown beat Rihanna nearly four years ago disturbing, but still, we can't look away. And now our complicity in encouraging this situation is about to get much, much worse, as a new song from Rihanna's upcoming album Unapologetic has been leaked, and it features Chris Brown on vocals.

Amanda Marcotte Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

Titled "Nobody's Business," it's got #1-with-a-bullet written all over it. People, this song is catchy


As if to taunt the over-30 crowd that clucks disapproval, the song borrows its aesthetic from the R&B those of us who grew up in the '80s and '90s know so well. It's got a house sound that would fit neatly into any club circa 1991, as Brown shamelessly imitates Michael Jackson's singing style. I've listened to it three times and already kind of want to hear it again.

Needless to say, this is going to set off another round of publicity-garnering hand-wringing over why Rihanna keeps returning to Brown, when she knows he's such a danger. The answer to that question is in the asking of it. I've written about this elsewhere, but when we talk about domestic violence in terms of asking why the victim stays, what the victim hears is that we think she's stupid and weak. This, in turn, causes many victims to become defiant, and to stick by their abusers in an attempt to prove that they are perfectly capable of making their own decisions, thank you, and that he can change. They bind harder to their abuser, feeling like he's the only one who understands their love.

I don't know what's going on in Rihanna's head, but her actions are a very public display of how many victims of domestic violence feel while still stuck in their toxic relationships. She may be speaking her heart or she may simply be putting on a show. Either way, it's distressing. If we, the public, want to stop egging on this train wreck, there's only one thing we can do: Stop using their relationship for cheap titillation. GQ, I'm looking at you.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Amazon Is Launching a Serious Run at Apple and Samsung


Slim Pickings at the Network TV Bazaar

Three talented actresses in three terrible shows.


More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. Now There’s Just One Thing Holding Us Back.

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?