'Birthday Cake' controversy

rihanna birthday cake
Rihanna stirred up some controversy on her birthday. (photo by Eva Rinaldi)

By Wanjiku Kungu

Feb. 20, 2012 wasn’t just R&B/pop sensation Rihanna’s 24th birthday – it was also the night that she and singer Chris Brown caused a stir over numerous social networks. Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with the news that the two musicians had gotten back together, but only in a musical sense. The pair released links online to the remix of Rihanna’s song “Birthday Cake” and Brown’s “Turn Up the Music” on Twitter that has Brown singing on the remixed version of Rihanna’s song, while she sings on his.
After hearing the news, both artists’ dedicated fans, known as “Team Breezy” and the “Rihanna Navy,” have chosen sides. Some are extremely upset with Rihanna for “getting back” with Brown after the incident – saying that it sends a bad message to young girls. Others say it has been three whole years since the incident and Brown deserves a break. He has done the required community service and classes and in February 2011, Rihanna had the restraining order lifted to a “level one order,”  letting them be in the same room together.
“The whole abuse situation is obviously a big deal,” said Fitchburg State sophomore Yaritza Rojas. “But at the end of the day they’re both still very talented artists.”
For some fans, the issue of abuse did not even seem to be an issue anymore. “I’m more curious as to why she’d want to work with him again,” says Fitchburg State student Bill McCormick. “I think it’s a good thing, especially for his career. It’s a way of promoting songs.”
Both of their songs have gotten more play after they were released and blog sites have gone haywire as a result of it. The last time the two got this much press was during the 2009 incident.
At the time of the assault, Brown was 19 and Rihanna was about to turn 21 – the ages of today’s college students. Break the Cycle, the leading, national nonprofit organization addressing teen dating violence, says that women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate-partner violence. Nearly one-third of college students report to have physically assaulted a dating partner in the previous 12 months.
Today, the issue of teen and dating domestic violence is in the headlines again and everyone has something to say. Sophomore Alex Dulude says, “It has a negative image toward all their fans because it was such a big issue with how he abused her and now it’s not even a problem. Abuse shouldn’t be something so easily forgiven and I think that is what is being portrayed.”
With the public now aware of the duo’s musical reunion, there are many questions being asked. Are Chris Brown and Rihanna dating again? Will the two perform the song live together any time soon? How does Brown’s current girlfriend feel about the song?
One question that hasn’t been asked is if it is really anyone’s business to comment on in the first place. Yes, everyone has the right to an opinion but does it have much effect on the two people involved if the public is commenting? Whatever society has to say about Brown and Rihanna, it seems all we can do is wait and see what the future holds for the two.