I’m Not Okay with Chris Brown, and Neither Is The Retreat in East Hampton

The day after the Grammy Awards I had a discussion with a number of colleagues here at danshamptons.com about Chris Brown’s performing at the show. It had nothing to do with what he sang or the production values. It had everything to do with the fact that he should not have been up on that stage at all.

In 2009, Chris Brown and his girlfriend at the time, Rihanna, got into an argument that lead to blows—blows so bad that Rihanna ended up in the hospital. To call the pictures that were released from that incident horrible and shocking is an understatement.

Here’s the police report with the details of the incident. Click on this link and read the .pdf. Then read on below.

I’m not okay with Chris Brown. This guy simply should not be celebrated, particularly by the music industry on music’s biggest night. Yet he was. Men and women stood and cheered when he came out. I just don’t get it.

I’m not the only one who isn’t okay with Chris Brown. The Retreat, the East Hampton–based center offering services for women who have suffered domestic violence, is also not okay with him. They recently sent an e-mail explaining their position regarding Brown’ not just being a main performer at the Grammy’s, but the shocking reactions of certain people:

From The Retreat
Our sisters at the National Women’s Political Caucus said it best “It’s bad enough Pop Star Chris Brown was allowed to perform (at the Grammys), but these responses are outright offensive and disturbing. Join the fight to reauthorize VAWA in 2012.” 

Their concern, and mine, goes beyond Brown’s merely being allowed to perform. The offensive and disturbing responses referenced above by The Retreat reveal a larger problem. Here are some of the disturbing comments people have made.

What are these people thinking?

I have great respect for the work and opinions of The Retreat. When I was a senior at East Hampton High School, my mother used to work with The Retreat, running the Thrift Store, and she once invited me to speak with some of the kids who were down at the center located by the recreation center in Amagansett. One thing I think will surprise my readers is that the The Retreat is not just for women who have been battered, but for their children as well. When a woman is abused by her boyfriend or husband and needs a place of support, advice and, quite frankly, safety, their children often come with them.

When I spoke with these kids, they all seemed generally unaware as to what was going on, and they were absolutely thrilled to meet me (my mother had chatted me up as a football star and lifeguard to them, so they really looked up to me when I arrived). I took about ten of the kids to the ocean to hang out on the beach. All of them were excited, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences that I can recall in my life.

The bottom line is that men who put women through this type of thing should not be celebrated. They should not be applauded. They should be prosecuted. Join the fight to reauthorize VAWA in 2012.

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