Guyanese feminists and gender activists told Chris Brown in no uncertain terms that he is not welcome in Georgetown. So he had to cancel his boxing day concert in that city. Irish hiphop group Original Rudeboys turned down the huge cash and publicity benefits of opening for Brown at the O2 arena in Dublin saying they don’t want to be associated with Brown after his assault of Rihanna and did not want to create the slightest impression that they thought beating women up was anything but vile. None of these groups thought what Rihanna may or may not do with him again should colour how we respond to gender based violence. The same Chris Brown is scheduled to perform in three South African cities between the 15th and 20th December. No irony there, South Africa. We will have wrapped up the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children and will be back to business as usual: glorifying violent men.
Guyanese feminist, Sukree Boodram, captures exactly what I feel when she says: “The fact that we are allowing a publicly known abuser to enter our country is blatant disregard and disrespect to our people and the cause we claim to want to eradicate. That cause is domestic violence. What kind of signal does this send? It says that ‘bringing wealth into Guyana’ is more important than the safety of the nation’s women. It says that talking out of both sides of your mouth concerning violence against women is justified so long as everyone can dance.” (emphasis added)
Entertainment is more important than consistency. Our obsession with all things “international” trumps what we claim to stand for.