As the political world focused on the Democratic National Convention, entertainers did what they wanted to do—ever so publicly.
Kanye West released a controversial track, “Clique”, in which he celebrates success, talks depression after his mother’s death and references the empire stemming from his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian’s, sex tape with her ex, Ray J. Superstar Rihanna hugged and kissed ex-boyfriend Chris Brown at the Video Music Awards. Both happened Thursday.
The PDA at the VMAs rekindled are-they-or-aren’t-they questions that lingered from a string of interviews released this spring, summer and especially last month when Oprah interviewed Rihanna for OWN Network.
Seemingly everyone wanted to know who and how Rihanna is and how she bounced back from Brown’s physical abuse in 2009.
Part of the curiosity stems from knowledge of widespread violence against women. An estimated 1.3 million women suffer domestic violence yearly, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. But, the ’09 photos of Rihanna’s bruised countenance, and the resultant magnified fishbowl she swims in routinely, create widespread presumptions about personal dynamics.
As users of social media who also peruse the comment sections of human-interest stories know, when spotlight mingles with multi-layered pasts (violence between Brown and Rihanna), and/or possible privacy violations (the haze surrounding the infamous Kim K and Ray J tape release) the complexities of love and capital erect.
While Rihanna won big at the VMAs (Video of the Year for “We Found Love”), videos and images of the Barbadian beauty sharing a congratulatory moment with Brown disturbed many.
West’s bromance bravado on “Clique” boasted the benefits of material wealth and alluded to “wifing” a celebrity whose personal life went public. He rhymed, “Eat breakfast at Gucci/My girl a superstar all from a home movie.”
The song’s release, in general, and West’s verse, in particular, conveyed solidarity with his significant other, and rhythmic support of a woman whose existence invariably creates buzz, flash, and money.
This week the hip-hop-pop world conveyed bold messages about the universality of fallibility and freedom. People will be with, love, date and copulate as they please, regardless of who’s watching.
If pop culture is our political pulse, celebrities reminded onlookers that everybody with a heartbeat is more complicated than they appear.