Unless you’re a prisoner in Lunar Max, which doesn’t exist – except in the fictitious Men in Black III world – it has been impossible to escape the Chris Brown versus Drake fiasco. It has been running rampant through news headlines and on our Twitter timelines, much to the dislike of cultural critics attempting to focus on important matters – like President Obama’s new campaign ads.
For those who are still puzzled about this outrageous turn of events, here’s the recap: on Wednesday night, Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group hosted a listening session for their new collaborative album, Self Made Volume II. After the event, Drake and Chris Brown were both in attendance at W.I.P., a popular NYC night club. Apparently, the club served as a battleground for the two to wage war according to the Associated Press. Words were exchanged after the R&B crooner sent a bottle of alcohol to the “Best I Ever Had” MC. Bottles were thrown, mayhem ensued, and the nightclub resembled Joplin, Missouri after the 2011 tornado according to the gossip holy grail TMZ. Brown tweeted a photo of a horrid gash on his chin (that has since been deleted); Global Grind, a hip-hop news website run by Russell Simmons reports that several members of the “Look at Me Now” singer’s entourage were injured, including Karreuche Tan, his girlfriend. Drake’s camp has denied that the musical titan was involved in the melee.
All of this animosity stems from allegations that Drake and MMG rapper, Meek Mill, have both been intimate with Barbadian-singer, Rihanna, who happens to be Brown’s infamous ex. For weeks, subliminal tweets have been exchanged between the three parties, which caused this minor conflict to simmer, eventually escalating into unbridled violence.
This is a classic case of drunken craziness, Hollywood egos, and miscommunication.
Though the blogs are releasing constant updates on the altercation and Twitter is ablaze with trending topics, in actuality, who cares?
If all three or none of these men slept in Rihanna’s California King Bed, it doesn’t matter because violent behavior is inexcusable. Brown should know this after his career almost derailed behind a brutal altercation between him and the Talk that Talk singer. Drake and Chris exchanging words, bottles, and fists not only speaks to their affinity for bad decision making, but sets a terrible example for the legion of fans that worship them, purchase their albums in droves, and sell out arenas from Los Angeles to London.
Once Chris Brown and Drake crossed the thin threshold from aspiring musicians to beloved superstars, the “role model” stamp was placed on their foreheads –whether they choose to accept the label or not. When teenagers view you as a role model, it makes you accountable for your actions and places you on a pedestal that most of us are never burdened with. But that is one of the responsibilities that come with the hunger for super-stardom.
Role models have shaped generations for centuries. Most of us can recall our first role model and what it was about this person’s character and presence that made us admire him or her. My father’s first role model was Joe Louis, a heavyweight boxing champion who was from Detroit, Michigan as he was. Even in his fifties, my father fondly recalls his memories of Louis and what attracted him to this dynamic figure. My first role model was talk show host Ricki Lake. She commanded applause from her audience with the simplest gesture and she always seemed authentically concerned for her guests, which was a trait that struck me, even at four-years-old. I was so impressed with Ricki; I stopped watching Barney and started tuning into her show every afternoon.
Our role models are special to us because there is something within them that is identifiable and relatable to us. Most of us emulate our role models; this explains why so many millennials have memories of moon walking in the kitchen and why I started hosting my own TV show in my bedroom; my Barbies were my audience.
Now with instant access to our role models at our fingertips through social media sites, underage teenagers who idolize Drake and Chris Brown are witnessing their horrible behavior without a filter. So, though their 10 million Twitter followers might not go out and smash their rival with a Ciroc bottle at lunch tomorrow, their behavior is still impacting these children who look to them for guidance.
By no means am I suggesting that Drake and Chris Brown are responsible for parenting their fans, but when impressionable teens are the ones supporting their albums and concerts, the least they can do is attempt to set a positive example. They don’t have to adopt the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophies or follow Gandhi’s example, but being conscious of their choices is as simple as using their platform for positivity. Instead of attempting to destroy an ex-girlfriend’s reputation and pouring gasoline on open fires, they should visit a local school and encourage students to pursue higher education instead.
Regardless of where Chris Brown and Drake go in the world, both music powerhouses are recognizable, so being cognizant of the impact of their behavior is essential. They are role models. Their images are important.
Ask Beyoncé Knowles-Carter for tips on this. Though she might have agreed with Kanye West’s outburst at MTV’s 2010 Video Music Awards, she still forewent an awards acceptance speech to give Taylor Swift her time to shine. A polite gesture stretches further than negative antics.
So role models Drake and Chris, get over it! Apologize, release statements admonishing your behavior, and continue to make music that ripples throughout the world. Y.O.L.O., true, but too many young people are depending on you for you to let your influence go to waste.