Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Friday, March 06, 2009

Have We All Been Played For Fools?

A blog is meant to be somewhere to express ideas that are of the moment. A blogger is also not usually speaking for anyone other than him- or herself. So, I will be brief. I feel an amazing sense of despair from the news I got last night that Barbados' singing princess, Rihanna (Robyn Fenty), was married to Chris Brown over the past few days.

The past few weeks have given us revelations that Mr. Brown had assaulted Ms. Fenty, during a dispute on the night of the Grammy Awards that began in a rented car when the latter found a long text message on Mr. Brown's cell phone from another woman, with whom he had had a relationship (reportedly sexual). I don't know when that relationship was, or if it is ongoing. Mr. Brown was initially alleged to have assaulted Ms. Fenty brutally, with punches, scratches and bites on her head, face and hands. Some of the injuries had been seen thanks to a leaked photograph from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Ms. Fenty reportedly sought the comfort of her family in Barbados, while Mr. Brown seemed to get on with life much as if nothing had happened--there were pictures of him out on jet skis.

Outrage at Mr. Brown's actions had been expressed by many who know him better than me, including fellow pop stars Usher, and Jay-Z (who is also a mentor for Ms. Fenty). Their anger was clear and there were at least implicit threats to Mr. Brown.

Expressions of sympathy as well as expressions of anger greeted Ms. Fenty, but my impression is that on balance there was more sympathy. Some hoped that she would seize this moment to champion the blight of domestic violence. Perhaps, surprising to some, she remained silent regarding her own alleged suffering.

Ms. Fenty's family came into the spotlight, especially her father, whose public image had been bashed on many occasions. I heard from someone who was present how he had conducted his press interviews with US media outlets long distance from a well known local eatery.

The history of physical abuse by Mr. Brown's father and Ms. Fenty's father seeped out, not necessarily as justifications, but as understandable background. There was a chain of events and the links had not been broken.

People in Barbados, however, raised more clearly concerns that nothing would come of this incident, recalling a well-known spat between the couple at a local night club, Club Extreme. How considerable damage had been done to their room at a local major hotel chain. How cars had been damaged in moment of rage between the couple. How other major bust ups had occurred, and so on.

Stories quickly seeped out that in fact Ms. Fenty had never come back to Barbados. But also that Mr. Brown had come to Barbados. Confusion. Deception? That she had spent time in a resort in Mexico recovering. That the couple were in a process of reconciliation at the home of one P Diddy, another mega pop star.

Yesterday, LAPD Attorney's Office laid two felony charges against Mr. Brown of assault and making criminal threats (see CBC report). The sworn statement by Los Angeles Police Detective DeShon Andrews, in which he detailed what allegedly happened in the early morning hours of February 8 is a story of incredible violence. But clearly, not enough to offset the 'kiss and make' up.

Then, last night, as a group of friends met for their weekly lime, the news came out that the couple had been married recently. One of our group placed a call to someone who knows 'Robyn' well and got confirmation that the ceremony had been at the weekend. Gasps followed. Words that I cannot write here were uttered by learned men. Dismay was expressed by most of us. I joked that I would not be surprised to hear that Ms. Fenty is pregnant. This morning, I have seen at least one report that says the same thing. I said "We have all be played for fools." A cynical part of me speculated about how this could also have been a bizarre and morbid pop industry set-up.

I am not a Bajan, so do not express national outrage. I wonder how this 'daughter of the soil' sits comfortably as a social ambassador for her country. I wont pretend that I can understand Ms. Fenty and wonder about those around her who offer her advice and guidance. I wonder who really is her friend and who is really just there for their piece of the lucrative pie that she has become.

I will let those who feel they can defend either or both of these young people can go ahead. I think it's a nonsense to call them children, though they are very young. If their youth is now a problem, then it must have been a problem before: they are older now. Are they mature? To my mind, not very. Are they misguided or badly guided? I would say very certainly. Are they mercenaries? I will ponder that, as some suggested that the wedding was about 'saving careers' and noting that wives cannot testify in certain cases against the husband. More of that will come out as the police proceed with their case.

All of this leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well you may not be barbadian but i am. It is quite sad that she has allowed herself to be so lost. I for one will not be supporting nay of her music, being a victim of physical abuse, i am not sure how she could let this sit so easily and be so submissive to his behavior. Sometimes i can emphasize with her but still after the first few lashes you run like hell. In today's world we are more educated and know what it is like to be victims of all abuse..some call it battered women syndrome. All she needs is a bible and some Jesus in her life. Stop living for the things of this world because like everything else it will soon to come to an end and nothing she does now will matter unless it is for Christ. She needs to consider herself blessed for some reason because she did not die at his hands. Death has no favourites and she is alive by the grace of God, she should give thanks to God. rihanna tatto of those stars represent short lived success,i guess its really coming to pass..Poor Child