Selena Gomez Chris Brown VMA

Selena Gomez’s side-eye should be everyone’s reaction to Chris Brown’s VMA nomination

We all know he has a history of violence against women

Chris Brown was nominated for a VMA award last night. The same Chris Brown who was arrested, charged and sentenced to five years probation and six months community service for attacking (his then girlfriend) Rihanna before the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in 2009. She had a busted lip, a black eye, and bruising on her face. Yet, someone within the VMA vortex (it’s not known exactly how nominees are chosen) decided he was worthy of celebration.

The one person in the room who visibly had a qualm with this was Selena Gomez – who has since gone viral for her reaction. A snarled lip, an incriminating side-eye: Selena made it clear she hadn’t forgotten what Chris Brown had done. So, why has everybody else? It’s only just over ten years since Chris hit Rihanna “with a closed fist” inside his Lamborghini. It’s been even less time since his other ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran was granted a restraining order against him in 2017, where she gave a statement alleging he “told a few people that he was going to kill me” and “pushed me down the stairs”.

Yet, Chris Brown – a supposedly “disgraced” rapper for his violence against women – still has his career. He’s collaborating with artists across the music industry and being congratulated for his efforts— scooping up the nomination last night for his song How Does It Feel with Chlöe Bailey and previously working with everyone from G-Eazy, Marshmello and Nicki Minaj. His tracks still chart incredibly well. His abuser past hardly tarnishing his reputation.

When Chris toured the UK earlier this year, his 19 shows across the country sold out. On one date in Manchester, where endless Love Islanders had flocked to see him perform, he brought Natalia Zoppa on stage for a dance and grabbed her by the throat— to her obvious discomfort. “Maybe I should mind my own business but, why would you want Chris Brown of all people putting his hands on your throat after what he did to Rihanna,’ one fan wrote on Twitter, while another questioned: “Why do women pay to go and watch him?”

To put it bluntly, artists who collaborate with Chris Brown, fans who buy tickets to his tour, and radio stations who play his music are enabling him to have a presence in the music industry. “Let me mind my business,” he wrote on Instagram after Selena Gomez’s reaction to his nomination last night. But we shouldn’t be letting him mind his business at all. We should be talking about this more and God knows why we aren’t.

Fundamentally, a sold-out nationwide tour, 143million followers, high-profile collaborations with celebrated artists and award-nominated singles is not the reception we should be rewarding men who have punched women in the face with. It makes a mockery of the victims and trivialises the incident down to something inconsequential. Actions should have consequences – not unsullied showbiz careers.

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Featured image credit via MTV.