The heart is a stubborn thing:

Rihanna has opened up like never before about getting back together with her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown, and what it means for her public image. ‘I decided it was more important for me to be happy,’ she tells contributing editor Josh Eells in the new issue of Rolling Stone, out Thursday, January 31st. ‘I wasn’t going to let anybody’s opinion get in the way of that. Even if it’s a mistake, it’s my mistake. After being tormented for so many years, being angry and dark, I’d rather just live my truth and take the backlash. I can handle it.’‘

He doesn’t have the luxury of fucking up again,’ she says. ‘That’s just not an option. I can’t say that nothing else will ever go wrong. But I’m pretty solid in the knowing that he’s disgusted by that. And I wouldn’t have gone this far if I ever thought that was a possibility.’ ”

Still, “fucking up again” is exactly what Mr. Breezy seems to be doing. According to a Reuters article posted this week:

“Rising R&B artist Frank Ocean wants fellow singer Chris Brown prosecuted following a brawl over a parking space at a Los Angeles-area recording studio, authorities said on Monday.

Brown is serving five years probation for assaulting his on-and-off girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 and risks having his probation revoked should charges be filed.

In the incident on Sunday, sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about a fight involving six men in West Hollywood. The deputies cited witnesses as saying that the Grammy-winning Brown, 23, punched Ocean during the brief altercation.

No charges have yet been filed, but Ocean ‘is desirous of prosecution in this incident,’ said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore.”

Ocean was actually injured during the brawl, later tweeting that he’d cut his finger and wouldn’t be able to perform “with two hands at the Grammys,” where he’s competing for Best Album of the Year and Best New Artist, along with four other awards.

Now, I know what some of you are asking: Hector, you can’t possibly think that what happened Sunday has anything to do with what happened four years ago, do you?

Yes. Yes, I do.

Many of us know violent people, and so we understand that, when a person has issues with violence, it’s hardly ever contained. They could snap on a stranger, a friend or a relative – because the other person isn’t the source of that anger. The anger is always inside them, simmering below the surface.

Growing up in Humboldt Park as I did, I realize that everyday people get into disputes over parking spaces or long lines all the time. Violence is always ignorant – in anybody. But Chris Brown’s a millionaire. He’s famous. Why does he feel the need to fight anyone over something as insignificant as a parking space?

It’s because he clearly has anger-management issues (see: Rihanna’s face circa February 2009), and clearly he still isn’t able to fully control his tendency toward violence (see: Frank Ocean’s finger circa last Sunday).

In his most recent comedy special, D.L. Hugley says he’s forgiven Chris Brown because, as the father of a son who’s just become a young man, he would hate for his son to be ridiculed his entire life for a mistake he made when he was only 19 or 20. I appreciate D.L.’s reasoning. But this wasn’t one little mistake, just as murdering someone isn’t one little mistake either. He could’ve killed Rihanna, and in fact he reportedly said, “I’m going to kill you,” while he had his hands wrapped around her throat. He strangled her, beat her and even bit her for a good five to 10 minutes.

Maybe this whole drama is more personal for me because I had to end a relationship with a longtime friend of mine last year because he had violent tendencies – hitting women and fighting any man that looked at him funny. And though he always claimed to be a changed man – even passing a 10-hour, court-mandated anger-management course – I recognized the signs that he was slipping back into his old ways.

I’m angry with Rihanna, but I feel sad and disappointed at the same time. She claims to be smarter this time around, and I don’t know anyone who wasn’t hoping she was right. Still, she can’t see that the anger and violence Chris Brown showed toward Frank Ocean over the weekend is the same kind he unleashed on her four years ago.

Rihanna seems to suffer from the same condition too many young women are crippled by: she’s an idiot when it comes to love. Somewhere in her brain there’s probably a voice that telling her that what Chris Brown did to her wasn’t that bad, that being with him is better than being without him, and that him lashing out on a gay singer has nothing to do with him lashing out on her.

It’s hard to say whether her willingness to forgive and forget stems from some inner self-esteem issues. I’m not her, so I don’t know how what she thinks of herself. But by what she does in her relationship, we’re able to see how or what she thinks about love.
By getting back together with an unchanged man, Rihanna fails to see that what Chris Brown offers her isn’t really love. As bell hooks explains in her book on the subject, no one who puts their hands on you can possibly respect you, and if they don’t respect, then they are incapable of loving you. For the feminist author, that’s Love 101.

Rihanna and Chris Brown haven’t passed Love 101, and yet, they both get paid millions of dollars to write love songs.

But that’s Hollyweird for you.

Published by Hector Luis Alamo

Hector received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. Since then, he has written for various publications, including the RedEye, where he is an opinion columnist. He is a regular contributor for Latino Rebels and a staff writer at La Respuesta, a nationwide publication focused on the Puerto Rican Diaspora. Hector is formerly the managing editor at Gozamos, as well as an associate editor at Being Latino. He also writes fiction and poetry.