Chris Brown’s forthcoming Guyana concert sparks controversy

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday October 24, 2012 – Domestic violence activists and women’s rights groups in Guyana have come out slugging against American R&B singer Chris Brown’s “Unforgettable 2” concert scheduled to be held in that country on December 26.

The vehement objectors have also slammed the government for giving tax breaks for the Hits & Jams Entertainment-organized show, saying that the administration is not serious about effectively addressing the increase in domestic violence when it supports a man who has been convicted of battering his partner.

Brown was convicted of battering his girlfriend, Barbadian megastar Rihanna, over the 2009 Grammy weekend, an assault that made international headlines and sparked worldwide outrage.

He was subsequently sentenced to community service and ordered into anger management sessions.

The storm of protest against Brown’s Guyana concert comes against the backdrop of an upsurge in domestic violence in the country, in which women are being battered, maimed, and even killed.

While some Guyanese contend that Brown’s concert could be used in a positive manner for sensitization about partner violence, others are strongly opposed to the United States artiste setting foot in their country to entertain.

“As the grim situation on domestic violence has become a staple part of Guyana’s everyday life and landscape, I believe that having a known abuser perform, gives credit to him and sends an unspoken message that it is okay to beat up on your wife or girlfriend and still stay popular and famous,” Sukree Boodram, of Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA) and a survivor of domestic violence told Guyana’s Stabroek News on Friday.

She feels that there are many other entertainers who would jump at the opportunity to perform in Guyana and who have great respect for women, but says that to have Brown perform in Guyana is tantamount to a slap in the faces of victims and their relatives.

Boodram pointed out that any governmental or non-governmental body or organisation making decisions in which a person that is a known abuser is being showcased to the public in a positive way, “definitely sends a negative message to our people of Guyana”.

Declining to address the tax breaks given by the government, Boodram said that the main issue is that those “who represent our beautiful country made a decision or approved an individual who is an abuser to enter our land to entertain our people, while he himself has left a trail of bloody marks and abuse on a beautiful woman of Guyanese heritage, Rihanna.”

“The fact that we are allowing a publicly known abuser to enter our country is blatant disregard and disrespect to our people and the cause we claim to want to eradicate. That cause is domestic violence,” Boodram said. “What kind of signal does this send? It says that ‘bringing wealth into Guyana’ is more important than the safety of the nation’s women. It says that talking out of both sides of your mouth concerning violence against women is justified so long as everyone can dance.”  Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)