Dangerous Love

02.21.12

Chris Brown and Rihanna’s Slippery Slope: ‘Birthday Cake’ to Reunion?

The young stars, publicly split since he assaulted her in 2009, seem unaware of the damaging message they’re sending fans by collaborating on two new songs, says Allison Samuels. Can romance really be far behind?

The debate over whether Rihanna and Chris Brown should be reunited in more than just song has reached a fever pitch with the leaks of Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” remix featuring Brown, and Brown’s “Turn Up the Music” remix featuring Rihanna.

Officially split up since he was arrested for assaulting her in 2009, the singers have continued to fascinate the public with their on-again, off-again “friendship” and banter on Twitter. Despite restraining orders that until 2011 required Brown to keep more 50 feet away from his former love, it was a not-so-well-kept secret that the two never stopped communicating, using secret messages and Twitter to remain in contact. The young stars seemed, and still appear, completely unaware of the conflicting and damaging message they’re sending their young fans—and of the slippery slope they both stand upon. Could they be oblivious to the two that came before them?

Whitney Houston was America’s sweetheart and a bigger star when she fell for bad boy and fellow singer Bobby Brown.

There’s little doubt that Houston was equipped with a few “bad girl” ways of her own before Brown entered the picture, but she was able to put that aside and charm the world with her talent and infectious smile. Brown could do no such thing, and his bad judgment and attitude continued through the marriage and even flowed over into last week, as he attempted to bring an entourage to Houston’s funeral. In Brown’s defense, his guests were his own children, but it could be argued that only one of his children needed him that particular day: Bobbi Kristina, his daughter with Houston.

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Rihanna and Chris Brown perform in 2008 during Z100's Jingle Ball in New York City. (Theo Wargo / WireImage)
In true Bobby-and-Whitney style, the two appear unable to exist without each other.

Chris Brown appears to possess that same bad judgment and anger, throwing chairs out of studio windows after major interviews and posting crazy rants on Twitter. Though neither he nor Rihanna will comment on the possibility of a rekindled romance, it’s difficult to ignore the loads of emotional energy between the two in the new singles.

Can romance really be far behind? One can only hope that after three years, these young adults appreciate the spotlight as well as the pressure that will surely intensify around their every move if they do indeed reunite. More important, one can only hope they both understand the long-term and devastating consequences of holding on to the “wrong one.”

The couple seemed sweet enough when they revealed their romance in 2008. Though they had achieved international fame with their music, both at times appeared better suited for a stint at a junior college, away from the lights and cameras of stardom.

Their tweets and endless posting of pictures showing them kissing and napping together were indeed adorable but also highlighted their youth and the need to keep their love and love lives out of the spotlight and tabloids as much as possible. They needed time to achieve the emotional maturity required to navigate such a high-profile romance.

That lack of emotional savvy and skill would become all too clear in 2009, when Brown was arrested for assaulting Rihanna after a pre-Grammy party. No doubt the pressure from such a whirlwind, well-publicized love affair took its toll on both parties, and Rihanna’s bruised and battered face in police reports was the undeniable proof.

Fans were outraged at the assault, with Brown receiving five years’ probation for the felony attack. Most thought that tough punishment would be the end of the road for the young lovebirds but, in true Bobby-and-Whitney style, the two appear unable to exist without each other.