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Rihanna back with Chris Brown: Will this hurt their careers?

What will this mean to their careers?
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Patrick Pentland, January 30, 2013 5:03:19 PM

We’ve all been watching it happen over the last year or so, like a car crash in slow motion. Rihanna has taken Chris Brown back after being badly beaten by the R&B singer not four years ago.

Of course there has been speculation: the two appeared on songs together; have been seen out and about together; there have even been Instagram pics of the two together. Now Rihanna has told Rolling Stone magazine that “I decided it was more important for me to be happy. I wasn’t going to let anybody’s opinion get in the way of that.”

The “Diamonds” singer says she understands that there may be a backlash from her fans, but that, ultimately, what she does with her life is her business. “Even if it’s a mistake, it’s my mistake. After being tormented for so many years, being angry and dark, I’d rather just live my truth and take the backlash. I can handle it.”

Brown’s violent past, and present, hasn’t seemed to have hurt his career much. He’s nominated for a Grammy and has over 12 million followers on Twitter. Despite breaking windows at ABC, brawling with the likes of Drake and Frank Ocean, plus vulgar public twitter feuds with naysayers, his fans continue to rise to his defense He even has the impression that he is the victim in the public’s perception of him, recently posting a painting of the crucifixion on Instagram, with the caption “Painting the way I feel” after the Ocean fight. He has since made his Instagram account private, perhaps after public outcry.

For Rihanna, going back to the man who hit her could go either way. She may be seen as a victim unable to let go of a past she thought she could have had, and wants back so badly she’ll risk her health again. I’m not sure what message this sends out to young girls, but then again, she’s never claimed to be a role model. Pictures of her smoking pot in bed prove that.

This is the first interview where Rihanna has talked openly about her decision to get back with Brown, and maybe that honesty will assure her fans that she knows what she’s doing. If those fans are worried she’s lost her way, she says she’s ready to walk at the first sign of trouble.

“He doesn’t have the luxury of f**king up again,” she said in the interview that will hit stands tomorrow. “That’s just not an option. I can’t say that nothing else will ever go wrong. But I’m pretty solid in the knowing that he’s disgusted by that. And I wouldn’t have gone this far if I ever thought that was a possibility.”

How far should any artist allow public opinion to guide their lives and careers? Certainly Rihanna is the bigger star, with over 28 million followers on Twitter, and more hits on radio than Brown. The writing has been on the wall for a long time that the two were getting back together, and neither careers seem to be suffering. If anything, this interview may shed light on just how in control of the situation Rihanna is now, and that might be appealing to her female fans. Plus, everyone loves a bad boy, and you can’t get much worse than Brown.

In the end, the decision to be together is theirs, and only theirs, to make. After all, no one else knows more about what they have been through than they do. You’d have to be in Rihanna’s shoes to fully understand why she could love a man who has treated her so badly.

“You see us walking somewhere, driving somewhere, in the studio, in the club, and you think you know,” she said. “But it’s different now. We don’t have those types of arguments anymore. We talk about sh*t. We value each other. We know exactly what we have now, and we don’t want to lose that.”

Well, you might, as Brown is wanted for questioning about his recent brawl with Ocean. Being that he is still on parole for beating his beloved, public violence may send him to jail.

Only time will tell if being together will help or hurt their careers. If I know anything about the music business, it won’t be the public’s outrage that will dim their stars, it’ll be the public’s short attention span.

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Patrick Pentland

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