The Washington Post

Chris Brown, the Grammys and the message sent to teens, kids

At a time when schools across the country are struggling to figure out how to stop kids from bullying each other, and educate teens about dating violence, it seems fair to ask why producers of the 2012 Grammy Awards thought it was an acceptable message to young people to allow Chris Brown to perform just three years after he famously beat up his then-girlfriend, Rihanna.

Sure, people should have second chances, and sure, people can like the music of artists who say and/or do nasty things. That doesn’t mean they deserve a chance to strut around the Grammy stage a few years after being convicted of felony assault for his attack on Rihanna at a pre-Grammy party.

Chris Brown accepts the award for best R&B album for "F.A.M.E." at the 2012 Grammy Awards . (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

The people behind the Grammys made a point of saying at the show that the Grammy Foundation donates millions of dollars to public schools to help them fund music education programs. There is an annual competition in which schools can apply to become a winner, eligible to receive grants of between $1,000 and $10,000 each.

If the Grammys wants to be seen as doing good for public schoolchildren, the organization ought to think about the messages it sends. The last thing young people need to see is an organization that represents the music they love give an early pass to a man convicted of felony assault — and one who didn’t think it necessary to ask for forgiveness from his community when he accepted an award he won Sunday night.

Government statistics show that at least a third of students ages 12 to 18 report being bullied during the school year. The impact can be devastating, life long, and sometimes life-threatening. Most states have anti-bullying laws but there is very little enforcement ability.

Brown and Rihanna’s infamous pre-Grammys fight in 2009 and the brutal assault, prompted discussions on-air, in schools and homes nationwide about dating violence. Sadly, many fans felt Brown did nothing wrong or that Rihanna must have done something to provoke him. What kind of message do you think they got from the Grammys showcasing Brown at this year’s ceremonies?

More news about the Grammys:

View Photo Gallery: Grammy Awards 2012

Chris Brown evokes strong reactions from fans and critics

Disjointed Grammys honor Whitney Houston

Photos: Red-carpet fashion

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Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.


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