Last Sunday I was able to witness -- in real time -- Chris Brown's most recent act of aggression and jackassery on Twitter. After receiving a taunting message on Twitter from comedian Jenny Johnson, Brown escalated the situation from a slightly foolish and rude exchange to a verbal assault.
Johnson has been known to tweet things at Chris Brown, most famously, "Call me old fashioned, but Chris Brown should be in prison" which was retweeted 1,869 times. She finally caught his attention when writing, "I know! Being a worthless piece of shit can really age a person" in response to his original tweet, "I look old as fuck! I'm only 23."
The pop artist then tweeted a series of sexual and graphic insults toward Johnson. Brown has since deleted his Twitter account, but you can read some of the screen grabs here.
His most unsettling tweet was an Instagram photo of himself onstage in front of a huge crowd with the caption: "I win."
In the weekend prior to his Twitter rant, Chris Brown canceled a concert in Guyana scheduled for December 26 after local protests over his 2009 beating of then-girlfriend Rihanna. After women's rights groups made it known that said Brown would not be welcome in Guyana, concert promoter Hits & Jams Entertainment said that Brown backed out citing discomfort with the protests.
We've learned two important lessons this week in the wake of Chris Brown related news. One, regardless of the violence, Brown considers himself "winning" because of his large fan base and musical success; and two, young women and women's rights activists have the ability to put a stop to it.
Young women in college are often stuck in a paradox of rejecting the abusive and chauvinistic behaviors that Brown exemplifies yet continuing to support his fame by separating Chris Brown "the man" and Chris Brown "the artist." If I had a dollar for every time one of my friends said, "I don't support what he's done, but I still like his music," I'd be a millionaire.
And to be fair, it's hard to escape Chris Brown in modern day pop culture and on college campus. He collaborates with the most popular artists on the hottest songs that get overplayed on the radio, at parties, and seemingly anywhere with a turned-up vibe.
But Brown continues to prove time and time again that he's undeserving of our attention. As consumers, we're responsible for feeding his ego that enables him to genuinely believe "he's winning" due to the number of fans and listeners.
In light of the fact that it's never been clearer Chris Brown is a dangerous figure with highly problematic tendencies, here are seven ways young women and proponents of equal rights can chuck up the "deuces" and send a message to Brown and the music industry that there's zero tolerance for his vulgar antics.
Know that he's wrong. Be aware and conscious of the fact that Brown's most recent Twitter rant was not an isolated incident of misguided judgment and hasty reactions; it's representative of the real, uncensored Chris Brown, before his PR team finally woke up and got involved.
Also know that he hasn't learned anything. Actions speak louder than words, but both are highly important. By continuing to engage in these kinds of controversial incidents, Brown's actions and words speak to the fact that he hasn't grown or progressed at all. He's unapologetic -- pardon the irony -- and clearly not sorry about his past and current wrong doings.
Hold Brown responsible instead of targeting Rihanna with accusations and criticizing her actions in regards to her romantic relationships. It's important for fans to realize that it takes victims of domestic violence about 12 times to leave their abuser for good. Brown tweeted, "Ask Rihanna if she mad" on Sunday -- alluding to Brown's infamous 2009 physical assault against her -- and this is something that shouldn't be swept under the rug. A heavy statement like that with underlying themes of abuse needs to be directly acknowledged and addressed by Brown in an appropriate way.
Stop buying his albums. Just stop. Supply and demand is capitalism 101: if fans demand Brown's music, then the industry will supply it. But if individuals take a stand against Brown and put their money where their mouths are, record labels will hear them.
Stop listening to his Pandora radio station. Just like record sales and iTunes downloads, Pandora and music companies pay attention to the number of listeners each Chris Brown-related station accumulates.
Don't buy concert tickets or attend performances, for the same reason you shouldn't purchase his music.
Realize that Chris Brown "the person" and "the artist" are not two separate people and are, in fact, wildly interconnected. Take accountability for your decision to listen to his music or not, and understand that by supporting him as an artist you're inherently justifying his negative behavior.