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Real Talk: Why is Rihanna Blamed for Brawl?

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Chris Drake Rihanna
As you’ve probably heard, since the story has been everywhere from gossip blogs to major news outlets, R&B bad boy Chris Brown and rapper Drake got into a bottle-hurling brawl last Wednesday at a New York nightclub. There are seemingly hundreds of conflicting reports and wholesale exaggerations online describing what happened. ABC News reported Brown and Drake had a longstanding “beef” because they both dated pop star Rihanna. Reportedly, Brown sent over a bottle of champagne to Drake as a peace offering of sorts, and somehow this offended Drake, who allegedly sent the bottle back with a note that said “I’m f*****g the love of your life, deal with it.” Then a member of Drake’s entourage reportedly did his best Evelyn from Basketball Wives impression and hurled a bottle of champagne at Brown. All hell broke loose with bottles and glass flying like dollar bills at a strip club.  

At least five people had non-life-threatening injuries, including a model who recounted a similar version of events for the NY Post. (NBA star Tony Parker was also injured in the melee. He has cornea damage from the flying glass.) Brown took to Twitter in the wee hours to post a post-club picture that showed a gash in his chin. Via his publicist, he says he was the “victim” here. Drake’s publicist says he “did not participate in any wrongdoing of any kind...”

Maybe it was the entourages who were doing all the dirty work. Maybe not. The most popular version of the story just makes it sound like a turf war between two guys with bruised egos, and neither understands that the “property” that they’re fighting over isn’t owned by either of them. But somehow that hasn’t been the focus of much of the discussion about this preposterous incident.

Since the fight, Rihanna’s name has been dragged through the mud. In the Twitterverse, where every rude thought gets 140 characters to shine, she’s been called a “ho” for dating and allegedly having sex with both men, and those old pictures that appeared to show Rihanna naked have made their way back to center stage. On Thursday, #Rihannasbox, a crude allusion to her most private regions, became a trending topic.

I don’t quite understand how she got in the middle of this discussion, even if she’s being called the catalyst of the unfortunate events. Too many folks will try to blame a woman — and let a man off the hook — for anything. It’s not like she threw a bottle; she wasn’t even at the club! If anyone should be torn to shreds, it should be one of the men who supposedly instigated the madness that resulted in multiple injuries.   

Much like the annoying guy standing with his boys as he catcalls a woman walking down the street, this brawl isn’t about the woman. Street harassment is about asserting masculinity and virility in a public fashion. And that’s just what happened Wednesday night at the club. It might have been a fight over Rihanna, but it wasn’t really about her at all. Leave her out of it.

Demetria L. Lucas the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life, in stores now. Follow her on Twitter at @abelleinbk
Filed Under: Real Talk
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