Ever since I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I have worked passionately to make it a reality and I have always believed that if I am to be successful in my pursuits, I will find that success through balance. It is because of this I want to introduce to you a television program called Balance. Balance is a nationally-televised cable TV show that explores connections that people have made between health and wealth. The essential idea behind the show is that everyone is entitled to realize their full potential yet often what stands in the way is poor health or poor finance. However, with a balanced lifestyle that emphasizes wellness as well as taking care of yourself and your community, success can become a reality. The program offers the personal stories of guests who have achieved success in their careers and personal lives and can reflect on the — sometimes arduous — journey.
I was asked to speak about my own journey and I am excited to announce that the episode will air on the Discovery Fit & Health channel on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 5:00 AM. You will also get to meet Gavin Keilly, founder of GBK Productions, and hear how he came to be a successful entrepreneur and charity contributor as well as hosts Steven E. Schmitt and Trissa Tismal.
Young people all over the world who look forward to Rihanna and Chris Brown’s next album, teasingly released last week, will be getting the wrong message about the thin line between love and hate. Consider the sexually charged lyrics in Rihanna’s 2011 hit song “S&M”: “[S]ticks and stones might break my bones but chains and whips excite me”. When you juxtapose these fantasy lyrics with Rihanna’s very real abuse at the hands of her former lover, the images of fear, submission, and pain become undeniably disturbing. Indeed, I certainly agree with Rihanna that “nothing could measure” to the physical pain of being hurt by a loved one, but it is extremely dangerous to rationalize a violent relationship by recasting it as sadomasochistic “pleasure.” Many people who associate pain and danger with pleasure and love have died when they put themselves in the way of danger again and again.
You know it and I know it—Rihanna should not be reuniting with Chris Brown. Their reignited flame and its promotion through controversial song releases like “Birthday Cake” and “Turn Up the Music”, are an uncomfortable intersection of art and life. Though we generally pride ourselves at drawing a distinction between what an artist says and what an artist does, it’s hard to forget that today’s overtly sexual Rihanna was being badly and conspicuously battered not so long ago. Though her lyrics may blur the line between violent sex and domestic abuse, she can’t completely repackage her victimization as a show of sexual liberation.
Nor should she. It is not appropriate for any partner to endure physical, emotional or sexual abuse in relationships, whether they are female or male, famous or otherwise. Underneath the celebrity façade is still an innocent person, who in this case is a victim of severe domestic violence.
To be clear, many partners have a dysfunctional “love-hate” relationship without any undertones of masochism; any sort of unhealthy relationship volatility can escalate dangerously when the cycle of domestic abuse is left unchecked. Short courses in anger management are hardly enough to maintain this fragile balance when passions reignite.
Rihanna reported to Rolling Stone: “I love to be submissive… being submissive in the bedroom is really fun. You get to be a little lady, to have somebody be macho and in charge.” Like all adults, Rihanna should be able to choose to explore the sensations of power and powerlessness alike with a sexual partner she knows and trusts. But Rihanna knows that Chris is violent, and she shouldn’t trust him. Being submissive with someone who has physically battered her is not what Rihanna needs, nor is it the narrative she should be pitching to her fans.
Yet this is the narrative that is being presented by the PR storm that surrounds Rihanna and Chris Brown. Rihanna and Chris are both young and reportedly in love, but they are also caught up in a social media and marketing frenzy to move as many albums as possible. The commercial aspect of their very public private drama is one of the most harrowing aspects of it; the financial structure of Rihanna’s career would welcome Chris Brown, even as the emotional structure of Rihanna should refuse to see him again.
Let’s stand up and send a clear message to entertainers that not everything that makes money while compromising safety is “just art.” Every public failure to recognize and reject abuse helps countless more to justify their own tragedies in private. Yet the story of the personal and emotional triumph of a high-profile victim like Rihanna can help many other victims on their own paths to reclaim their strength. For this reason, I urge you, as a physician who is a parent, to screen the content of what your children listen to on the radio and through their iPods to ensure that if your children’s music pushes the envelope that it doesn’t cross the line into their young ears and formative minds.
Source: Rihanna’s Rolling Stone’s Interview Lee, Joyce (2011-03-31). “Rihanna talks Chris Brown, S&M tendencies in Rolling Stone”