To celebrate Rihanna’s 24th birthday, she sparked controversy as she finally revealed her “Birthday Cake” remix, featuring Chris Brown online Monday night (Feb. 20), just as Brown simultaneously released his “Turn Up The Music” remix featuring Rihanna.
This was an unlikely collaboration, considering Brown is currently serving five years probation for brutally assaulting her three years ago, which took place after the Pre-Grammy Awards party. The big question now is whether people can forgive Brown if Rihanna has already done so.
The controversial songs, which were not officially released by either artist’s label, came after both artists performed at the 54th Grammy Awards last week. That was also Brown’s first appearance since the incident. Although, this was not a business move from their labels, the number of downloads show that there is hope for an increase of record sales for both artists in the future. Each single was posted by DJ Ill Will on Hotnewhiphop.com and their records show that “Birthday Cake” has 125,703 downloads, while “Turn up the Music” has 101, 425 downloads since Monday night.
As the controversy intensified, Brown can be heard serenading her on, “Birthday Cake” while Rihanna returns the favor and sings about him on Brown’s track.
As the producer, pop superstar’s friend, and longtime collaborator, The-Dream says that Rihanna’s fans should accept her collaboration with Brown as a positive example of forgiveness. “If she can forgive, that’s where she is mentally. As a friend, it’s like, ‘Okay, cool. Let’s roll,'” The-Dream said in an interview.
According to the LA Times, Harvard Psychiatrist Dr. John Sharp, (who appears on “Celebrity Rehab”) thinks the two can have a successful reunion. However, because they are in the public eye, they should address why they believe it’s healthy to have contact again.
Sharp says, “[They] have to be very careful. There’s not a lot of good statistics … [The singles and their public communication are] going to draw a lot of attention, but it’s not going to answer a lot of questions.” And he continues, “In this case, their business has been in the public eye and if they are going to get together for music, or whatever, they have to say something about it to make it clear.”
Last year, Rihanna’s fans expressed their disappointment, when the two began to follow each other on Twitter, and when Rihanna made a request (also last year) to reduce a restraining order against Brown to a Level1, meaning the two can have contact, provided Brown doesn’t “harass, annoy or molest” her.
Rihanna defended the decision by telling Rolling Stone, “I just didn’t want to make it more difficult for him professionally. What he did was a personal thing — it had nothing to do with his career. Saying he has to be a hundred feet away from me, he can’t perform at awards shows — that definitely made it difficult for him.”
Although Brown has suffered the consequences of his actions over the years, people are still upset that he is continuing to rise as a superstar after pleading guilty to have beaten Rihanna.
Last weekend Brown tried to express those very emotions on Twitter saying, “why me?” He said he found it “strange how we pick and choose [whom] to hate!” Brown continues, “Let me ask [you] this, our society is full of rappers (which I listen to) who have sold drugs (poisoning)” … “but yet we glorify them and imitate everything they do.” Brown then states,“[And] right before the world’s eyes, a man shows how he can make a big mistake and learn from it, but still has to deal with day-to-day hatred.”
In hopes for the better, Sharp believes that “sometimes when you have a couple that’s in the spotlight like this, they can be [held] more accountable. Maybe this could work to their advantage. You could hope. It’s dangerous. But accomplishable.”
Read more at The New York Times.