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Young People React to Chris Brown's Domestic Violence Sentence

YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, Commentaries//Video, Various Authors Posted: Jun 24, 2009

Editor's Note: Some four months after the arrest and domestic violence charge of R&B golden boy Chris Brown for allegedly attacking his then-girlfriend singer Rihanna, Brown pled guilty and was sentence this week for his crime. We asked young people to weigh in on the sentence and how they feel the drama has been handled in their circles and in the media. These contributors are interns with YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia and The Beat Within.

Im Glad Chris Brown Pleaded Guilty

I was definitely a Chris Brown fan at first. I loved him. When I was this drama came out about him and Rihanna, I wanted all the details about what happened. When I saw the picture of Rihanna [beat up] I was appalled at how she looked. It made me think less of Chris, just because there should never be a time where a man should put his hands on a woman. Restraint is one thing, what he did is another thing all together. I believe him pleading guilty is a good thing on his part because he realizes what he did. Im not on anyone's side, so I cant judge what Im not in. There are always three sides to the story: Chris, Rihanna and the truth.

- Akilah Weaver, 15

People Hit Their Women All The Time

To be honest, I don't care about Chris Brown or his conviction. I think they did too much with him. I think that because he was famous they took him on a thrill ride, only to stiff him for next five years for potentially millions of dollars due to his newfound image as an abuser. That's not fair because there's two sides to every story, and I think Rihanna got off easy due to fact that he's a guy.
Five years is too much for a first offense and especially for a couple that's in love. He was made, he took off, and he should have been fined and let go. I truthfully think that the judge had a field day with telling him to stay away from her for five years and to do community service. People hit their women all the time and vice-versa. I know a case that is way worse and came out much better than Chris: Its when I got into it with my ex. I put a gun in her mouth and pistol-whipped her. I went to jail, but I only did three days and got out with two years of probation and a warning.
So, that's why I think they did too much. But at least Chris Brown opened the door for other young stars in relationships to learn a lesson. They should not do what he did if they want their career to last, because this almost killed his.

- Amanzi Emenike, 20

I'm Appalled at Chris Brown's Sentence

While I've never particularly cared for Chris Brown's music, I much prefer folk-y "indie pop princesses" like Jenny Lewis and Regina Spektor, I've found myself weighing in on the recent Chris Brown and Rihanna case. Sickened, I demanded that my friends stop listening to him and they all agreed wholeheartedly. Whenever it was brought up among my friends, I argued for a swift punishment. Of course, I had already begun to believe that he would be serving little to no time in a jail because of his celebrity status. However, I'm still appalled that Chris Brown's only sentenced to 180 days of community service.

After seeing the horrifying pictures of Rihanna after she was beaten I felt a white hot rage in me. While most of that was aimed at Chris Brown himself, I was also angry at how the media has glamorized this ordeal. They've romanticized being victimized to a point where even women will sympathize with Brown.

While not invested in either Chris Brown or Rihanna's music, I hope that this situation will teach (especially the young female fans that Brown had) that they don't have to stand for being treated poorly by a significant other. Especially in the black community, where there is a definite ideology that women must "stand by their man" because of the struggles that black men already face in society. Most black relationships are unique in the way that they belong, more than just to the two in the relationship, but to the black community as a whole. For this reason it is usually easier for black females to empathize with the perpetrator rather than the victim. I wish Rihanna all the best and hope that she will be able to properly heal from this much publicized fiasco.

- Jasmine Redmond, 17

No One Knows What Really Happened

I was a fan of Chris Brown. I still am, but I think that this is a chance for him to learn from his mistakes. Im not on anyones side because I dont know what really happened. No one probably really knows what happened. Chris Brown and Rihanna may not be telling the whole story, but then again they might be. Chris Brown is still in the wrong no man should put his hands on a woman.

- Kelly Bell, 16

He Should Have Gone To Jail

When Chris Brown first came out I loved him, but after a while I stopped liking him that much. But now that he did what he did to Rihanna, I dont like him at all because whether she provoked him or not he shouldnt have hit her. If she was to provoke me, then I would just push her away not do all that. He should have gone to jail because five years on probation and community service thats nothing but a slap on the wrist. It dont matter what she did to him unless she socked him in his face, then thats when he should have beat her up.

- Latajh Weaver, 16

Its Not Fair for a Man to Hit a Woman

I honestly think that Chris Brown's probation of five years wasnt enough. He needs to know that it's not okay to hurt a girl. A lot of young men in this generation believe that it is really all right to hurt a girl. They believe that it's cool to hit a girl and feel good about it. It's backwards! And letting Chris Brown get off without some kind of punishment is not helping things go forward.

I don't listen to Chris Brown's music and I don't really care about what he sings about. I know that he hit a woman so hard that she was brutally bruised and that's not cool at all. Men are genetically stronger then women, it's just not fair for a man to hit on a woman. I listen to classical and metal. I know the bands and music I listen to aren't about abusing women. I despise any kind of music that calls today's women b------' and hos.' Why would I want to listen to that?

- Elizabeth Martin, 17

Another Example of Celebrity Obsession

So, Chris Brown has been sentenced to 180 days of "community labor", five years probation and a year of a domestic abuse program. First of all, I am tired of this whole community service thing with celeb-sentences, because It always seems to lead to them just sliding away without really serving a punishment.

Otherwise, this seems like a decent enough sentence to me, but looking over the comments section reveals a battle of perspective rivaling those of a family divided by the Civil War. I'd like to quote a few from MTV.com.

A few of them seem reasonable enough to me. vdhrbh said: "Just glad its over maybe ppl will stop talking about it now and let them both get on with their lives." Some of them are a little bit outlandish. Ruscha said: "I think Rihanna is guilty, because she didn't want to be away from him. She knows what she did. I have a gut feeling that she regrets something. It just feels like it. Somethings not right about her...." And some of them are just downright awful (and racist). Seung Kim said: 
"Just comes to show that it is in a black man's nature to do the crime.. Chris is the average black person who goes to KFC, buys 3 bags of cocaine a day, and regularly does drive by shootings.. It proves the average n**** belongs behind the cells of a bar not behind the steering wheel of a car."

Stupid and racist ***holes aside, I think that this whole debate is representative of a larger problem, this shouldn't be about how good his singing is, what color he is, or how expensive his lawyers are. People have a weird fascination with watching celebrities crash and burn, often pressuring them into doing so (like with Britney Spears). The cult of the celebrity is so prevalent in our culture that it overcomes truly important issues that actually affect us both on the news and in our psyche. America needs to realize that a record deal or an acting job doesn't make you better. He's just a man who committed a crime, last time I checked we didn't live in a caste system. Or at least we don't admit it.

- Will Hawk, 17

Related Stories:

Chris Brown's Dad: My Son is Sorry

I'm Over Chris Brown

Chris Brown and Rihanna: If You Gotta Beat Her, Leave Her

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