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Guyana: Upcoming Chris Brown Concert Upsets Anti-Violence Advocates

Back in 2009, when the news broke that Barbadian-born singing sensation Rihanna's then-boyfriend Chris Brown had allegedly assaulted her, Caribbean bloggers were outraged.

The incident drew attention to the problem of domestic violence in many regional territories and inspired strong netizen reaction, especially after Rihanna appeared to be unwilling to use her influence as a celebrity to speak out against gender violence. The couple's subsequent reconciliation squandered any goodwill that netizens may have felt for the singer.

Just over three years later, the wound is still festering. Having got wind of an upcoming Chris Brown concert in Georgetown which is allegedly being financially supported (at least via tax breaks) by the Guyanese government, two blogs are voicing their discontent.

Rihanna performing. CC Image by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer.

Rihanna performing. CC Image by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer.

Code Red explains:

Guyanese social justice advocates reject the government’s support of Chris Brown concert.

Some activists have argued that Chris Brown should be allowed to perform but the proceeds from the concert should go towards support mechanisms for survivors of intimate partner violence. Others recognise his ‘right’ to perform in Guyana but question the use of tax payer dollars to support his performance.

Some activists have taken issue with the irony that the Chris Brown concert will coincide with 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based violence.

The blog asks for feedback on the issue from its readership, noting that…

Reports of domestic violence in Guyana, as in many other parts of the region, are frequent and gruesome, with women making up the majority of intimate partner homicides (femicides).

…and making the point that:

It has been reported that Chris Brown’s criminal record prevents him from working in the UK.

Save Guyana simply republishes a letter to the editor that addressed the issue of Brown being allowed to perform in Guyana:

Chris Brown on stage. CC image by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer.

Chris Brown on stage. CC image by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer.

As if life in Guyana could not get more bizarre, we read that the Government of Guyana as part of its mission to promote tourism is bringing Chris Brown to Guyana. Chris Brown gained additional notoriety for his attack on his girlfriend, Rihanna.

Chris Brown, like many of the men who brutalise women in Guyana, did not do any jail time for this action. In Guyana, the Government and the Private Sector cannot provide funding to sustain the domestic violence programmes needed to rehabilitate men like Chris Brown.

It appears that the Government of Guyana and the Private Sector and many of the fans of Chris Brown want us to forgive Chris Brown for this mistake. This is what many survivors of domestic violence are told.. forgive the abuser. Many times the survivors do so, over and over and over again and often to their peril.

The writer of the letter, Vidyaratha Kissoon, ends by asking:

Is there any kind of redemption to be had? The Government of Guyana and the Private Sector must donate all of the proceeds…to the work being done in Guyana against domestic violence.

Chris Brown should work with the men [who have made similar 'mistakes'] to learn about the behaviour and attitude change needed for recovery. All of this of course, is assuming that Chris Brown has changed.

Images of Rihanna and Chris Brown used in this post are by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Creative Commons License. Visit Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer's flickr photostream.

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