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Rihanna wants to have her (birthday) cake and eat it too

I will admit that pop music, with its terribly insubstantial lyrics, heavy bass lines and repetitive beats are as much of a guilty pleasure of mine as the next almost-twenty-something-year-old girl. But I don’t think I can stand by the song recently released under the collaborative works of Rihanna and Chris Brown (no matter how catchy the beat may be). The last time I saw these two names linked together were within the extensive police report describing the night Brown attacked Rihanna, while the two were driving intoxicated.

The song Rihanna recently released entitled “Birthday Cake (Remix)” features Brown in a way that not only took me by surprise, but also successfully disgusted me (especially since Birthday Cake Remix is my favorite ice cream combination from Coldstone’s Creamery; I can never think of the sweet concoction in the same way again).

The two artists have a long-standing dating history, which ended due to Brown’s act of violence against Rihanna three years ago. Brown assaulted Rihanna while driving home from a pre-Grammy party three years ago. The police report states that Brown assaulted Rihanna because she had caught a glimpse of a conversation on Brown’s phone between him and a woman he had previously had sexual relations with and asked him about it. Brown proceeded to beat her all the way home, causing contusions to form along the surfaces of her face, arms and legs, hitting her with so much force that he drew blood. A resident of the neighborhood the couple ended up in heard Rihanna’s cry for help and called the police. After an investigation was conducted, Rihanna was issued a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order (EPO), placing a restraining order on Brown.

The police report, which was leaked earlier this month, was labeled with a trigger warning for people who have experienced similar situations to not read it, due to its detailed descriptions of abuse. It’s understandable that the information was originally withheld from the public for the sake of Rihanna’s privacy, however, I do think those who would be able to handle reading it should take the time to fully understand how serious this is; especially the girls who have been defending Brown’s performance at the Grammy’s via Facebook and Twitter, posting and tweeting things like how they “would let Chris Brown beat [them] any day” (which I assume is some strange, sick desire rooted in the singer’s body and dance abilities).

Since the first time I listened to Rihanna’s song, I have been trying to get past the commercially acceptable beat of the song Rihanna just released and digest its actual lyrical content. It’s more difficult than I thought could be possible. The two send messages back to each other in the song about how it’s “been a long time” and how they have been missing each other’s bodies, asking each other if they “remember how [they] did it.”

Well, I sure remember how they did it and I’m certain several others do, too. Other disturbing lyrics include “I know you wanna bite this/It’s so enticing/Nothing else like this/I’mma make you my b*tch,” which Rihanna repeats several times throughout the song. I’m assuming the lyrics are hinting at the incident. The police report states that Brown bit Rihanna on two occasions throughout the night, on her left ear and her left middle and ring fingers. It’s extremely disconcerting to have images of aggressive sexual activities depicted through the lyrics of this song, since they hint so heavily at the actual acts of aggression that transpired between the two paramours.

In addition to Rihanna’s new track, Chris Brown also released a new track featuring her entitled “Turn Up The Music,” which is far less racy than Rihanna’s song title. This collaboration is confusing, since I’m not sure whether or not their romantic sparks are flaring up again (if that’s even possible) or if they just want to continue producing successful tracks.

The thing that’s so difficult to understand about this reignited collaboration is what this might teach to people who look up to Rihanna. She is a role model. Beginning to work with Brown again sends out mixed messages, especially about the acceptance of physical abuse. It’s common for people to turn the other cheek  when an incident like this takes place, but I’m not sure this song is a good indication of what the phrase “turn the other cheek” implies.