"Good" boys raised by the wrong men: revisiting the Chris Brown/Rihanna saga
By Kingsley Obom-Egbulem
I watched American R&B artiste, Chris Brown in company of his mother and attorney on Larry King Live in the wake of his crisis with his estranged girl friend and fellow R&B singer, Rihanna. That outing was Brown's first TV interview after the court decided on charges placed against him by Rihanna.
Those following the international music scene would recall that Chris Brown, 20 had on February 8, 2009 assaulted Rihanna leaving her with visible facial injuries, including a bloody nose and bite marks on her arms. Both stars were initially billed to appear together at the Grammy awards, but it was cancelled after Brown voluntarily turned himself in to the Los Angeles police.
He was charged with felony assault against Rihanna to which he pleaded guilty. In August 2009, Brown was sentenced to five years(5) probation, six months of community labor in his home state of Virginia and a year of domestic violence counseling.
While on Larry King Live, the whole world saw a guy wishing he could turn back the hand of the clock.
But I saw a "man" who suddenly realized he was actually a kid and needed time to grow up. Most importantly, I saw the seed or better still the result of poor mentoring from father to son. I saw the price the whole world would soon be paying if we don't make out time to raise boys who would not only respect women (when they eventually become men and husbands) but also take time to pass on good legacies and values to their own children.
It turned out that as at the age of 10, Chris Brown-whose real name is-Robyn Fenty had watched his dad beat his mother assaulting her even sexually. His mom, Joyce Hawkins had thought that her boy would never grow up to hit a woman. Unknown to her ,the seed of gender-based violence has been sown in the boy by no less a person than his dad- unarguably his first definition of who and what a man should be.
The father by default had shown him what to do to a woman-at least to get her back to her senses whenever you feel she's going too far or getting out of line. That is the cross we all have to bear as we grapple with the wrong socialization of our boys and men.
Tupac Shakur was another star whose dysfunctional childhood had a great impact on his life as a man.
His father was a felon of the grandest order. Of course, Tupac ended his life in a most tragic manner. He was indeed a dream that eventually became a nightmare. William Garland , Tupac's biological father did little to raise his boy. He was reported to have confessed to only seeing Tupac about two times up till he was five. The next time he saw Tupac was in a movie "Juice" in 1992.Then the boy had become "another man".
No doubt, Tupac was a "musical success" as he is recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-selling rap artist, with over 75,000,000 albums sold worldwide. But he died with a major vacuum-a vacuum only good fathering could have filled. Little wonder most of his songs were about growing up amid violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in society and conflicts with other rappers.
Suffice to say, that fatherhood is fast becoming one of the most abused callings today and those not living up to this calling are contributing to cases of gender-based violence. But we can chose to make a difference and make the best out of it.
For Chris Brown,it is still not too late to find a man who will represent and play the true father and mentor he never had.
The American system may have taken him through a corrective process. But would a five months programme erase his concept of manhood and masculinity? Did that process inculcate in him the fact that respect for women and girls is the ultimate parameter for determining who a real man is?
Unless we are certain about these posers, Brown may just be another disaster heading somewhere to happen. And one thing we can guarantee is that he would not only add more women to the global list of victims of partner abuse but he would have reproduced after his own kind; yes indeed, a son who will abuse all the women in his life. God forbid!