In protest of an upcoming Chris Brown concert in Sweden, an unidentified person has placed a poster of Rihanna's battered face outside of the venue where he is scheduled to perform. A tweet sent from the country's official Twitter account (@Sweden) spotlighted this public protest of Brown's brutal 2009 domestic violence incident.
As Brown continues to gain further acceptance in the United States, as shown by recent award show appearances and many guest spots on popular songs, additional protests and boycotts in Europe seem to indicate that many still hold a grudge for Brown overseas. Earlier this month, Ireland's acoustic hip-hop trio Original Rudeboys turned down a major opportunity to gain international attention by opening for Chris Brown in December. Claiming that a collaboration with Brown would "go against everything we are about," the group declined a reportedly substantial fee, as well as the chance to perform in the O2, the second largest arena in Europe.
"We are completely against Chris Brown's assault on Rihanna," said the group's Sean Walsh in a recent interview. "[Domestic violence] goes against everything we are about as a band, and supporting Chris Brown would send out the wrong message to our fans." The group's advocacy against domestic violence not only surfaces in their decline of Brown's offer, but in their latest single "Blue Eyes," as well.
In another boycotting Brown instance, several protestors in England took to a major London department store, placing advisory stickers on the singer's latest album Fortune this past September. "WARNING. DO NOT BUY THIS ALBUM! THIS MAN BEATS WOMEN," read the sticker. Store officials claimed to have promptly removed all of the stickers, but not before a picture displaying the protesting vandalism had been passed around the Internet. Brown's Fortune album even managed to garner backlash in the singer's own home country, leading United States-based music critics to denounce his attack of Rihanna through frank reviews. "Chris Brown hits women. Enough said," wrote Chad Taylor of New York City magazine CityReviews.
Another reviewer pointed not only to Brown's music as a source of repulsion, but also addressed his immensely devout fan base. "Regardless of whether Chris Brown has any musical talent (he doesn't) or whether this album is any good (it isn't), the man recently assaulted a woman, and is still regularly invited back to award shows and worshipped by 'Breezy' fans worldwide. Which is, frankly, disgusting," wrote X Press Magazine's Chloe Papas. "Final words: don't buy this album." Despite such protests and boycotts of Brown, his former flame Rihanna has reiterated her forgiveness of and rekindled friendship with the "Don't Judge Me" singer. "We have maintained a very close friendship ever since the restraining order was dropped," Rihanna revealed to Oprah Winfrey in a widely-watched interview this past August.
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Patrice Peck is a writer and journalist whose work explores the intersection of race, culture, and identity. Her work lives at www.patricepeck.com.