there’s a movie playing in the theaters. its called, “america, superpower.” for a while, that movie wasn’t doing so well at the box office. its hero sucked and its war missions garnered less empathy than a well dressed panhandler on the subway. but that was the past. now the movie is blockbustering big bang style all across the globe. sold out audiences in every sector. there’s a brand new political hero, and the hopeless war missions have faded into the background. the economic suspense is rising. a working class sports team wins a breathtaking game. sparkly artists of all hues go home with shining awards.
i wonder, when a movie’s main selling point is societal violence, can it incorporate personal peace?
latest twist in the plot: domestic violence bloodies beautifully packaged, young r&b stars, chris brown and rihanna.
it was grammy night. the couple made it through a celebrity pre-party. chris brown probably hit rihanna repeatedly. it probably wasn’t the first time. within hours, the bubble gum pop star already had his doublemint advertising contract suspended. and rihanna missed out on performing with T.I at the grammys.
why are we riveted? because they are pop stars.
but why do we care? domestic violence hurts, splays, cyclically.
who hasn’t felt it? the rage that seeks a target, the white hot flash of harm, the bottomless well of depression no relationship could ever fill. nas says, you are who you are when no ones looking. so true. but sometimes you are who you are when the whole world’s looking.
ive heard grown women calling into hip hop radio station hot 97 and young women on the A train uptown talking about: “rihanna probably deserved it,” and “she needs to get over herself, chris brown is innocent.”
but international women’s day is around the corner and black history month is now (check out this associated press article, “time to end black history month?“) and “america, superpower” is in the midst of a plot twist that could use some context.
no woman deserves violence. no body deserves violence. fighting and war may be a part of our nature, but violence against women is a virus of epidemic proportions. physical violence shows on your skin. emotional violence drains on your soul. women hating women is like crabs in a bucket. shit, i’ve been there too. but now i’m steady climbing. keep on rihanna, i hope your climb gets as grounded as it is glitzy. maybe chris brown will get some support to come clean, get help, and back up off your target. because she is a human being too. or maybe he’ll be surrounded by yes men and women who’ll pat him on the back and keep him running on E. slum village says, “when the situation is tainted love is always free.”
still, i wonder, when a movie’s main selling point is societal violence, can it incorporate personal peace?
stay tuned for more from political poet: roopa singh.