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Does the artist define the art? Greater philosophers and music store clerks have mused over this statement long before I was in 3/4 length pants (for many years, I didn’t actually a pair of full length pants, that’s another post, for another day) but I think the question, for me, is rearing its head again. When there was some mumblings about Motorhead and Nazism (which ain’t really true, Mr Kilmeister just likes WWII memorabilia) and Slayer and the same questions (and the same answer applies, they are collectors rather than believers in the ideologies), I was initially concerned but after enough investigation, my conscience was appeased and general apathy set in. Now, however, there’s the question of Chris Brown. He battered Rihanna. No doubts. And his new song is fantastic. And therein lies my rub. He’s clearly using some element of his newly found rep as a bad boy, swaggers on up in the video and proceeds to play off Lil Wayne’s rather aggressively masculine rap about how he can transform a woman, make her into something better by talking off her pants. Putting the feminist issue aside – women as objects and as items to own – it creates a whole other question, should we or I be taking Chris Brown back into my record buying arms? Or should his extremely violent attack on girlfriend of the time Rihanna enough to relegate him from the charts and the consciousness of the record buying community? Another to bear in mind in all of this, is the horrifying statistic from last March, where almost half of all Boston public students said Rihanna was to blame for the attack, and was out to ruin Brown’s career. We really haven’t come very far at all.

Anyway, I know enough to separate the artist from the music. I’m enough of a feminist, egalitarian and intellectual to enjoy gangster rap and quality hip hop and not be mortally offended by the very anti-women sentiment. That’s my version of feminism. Having said that, I don’t like what he did. I don’t admire him personally, but I can appreciate his art.

Make your minds up for yourselves:

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