msnbc | February 22, 2012
>>> it appears chris brown and rihanna are back together, at least musically speaking. the two who separated you'll recall in 2009 after chris brown was arrested for beating rihanna released two remixes this week that they taped together. one is chris brown "turn up the music." turn up the music
>> all right. so that's a little taste for you right there. joining me this morning is christopher barly, ed or the of the " wall street journal " speak easy blog. and it's good to have you both here because -- both here to talk about this this morning. because as we were paying attention to this yesterday, got a lot of people talking in the newsroom. erin, i want you to specifically listen to the lyrics of rihanna 's song "birthday cake." some are so explicit we're not going to be able to tell everybody what they are, but here are some of the lines. been a long time, i've been missing your body. and then it goes on from there to get a little racier, a little dirtier. what kind of message is this sending to female fans out there about this collaboration?
>> well, sure, i think the issue is not that rihanna is sending a message to the women of this country. it's the fact that rihanna is clearly one of the women of this country. 1 in 3 women in this country will experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives and about half of them will cycle between going back periodically. and so there's really cause for concern here. but certainly the real blame belongs on chris brown and all those who are aiding, abetting, and supporting him. including the grammys, including pepsi for sponsoring the grammys, including his record label rca. so she's under enormous pressure right now to accept him.
>> but people are going to look at this, rihanna is a young, strong woman who came out after this and now is allowing this. some people are going to say allowing this back into her life. doesn't she have a personal responsibility ? it's not just all on him.
>> well, i think respectfully that chris brown has a personal responsibility not to abuse women. and that issue is not rihanna . it's never the 1 in 3 women . it's not the women at fault for intimate partner violence , it's the men and it's the culture that aids and abets it. it's not an issue of black, white, rich, poor, rock star or ordinary person. and the fact this touches all of us. this is a learning moment for everyone. and i'm glad that these discussions are being had around the country.
>> i think it's important too. christopher, let's talk about chris brown and rihanna . they seem to talk a lot on twitter to each other. and he tweeted -- she tweeted about a relationship existing in the space between two people. obviously, sure. what's our right to judge them? when we think about the responsibility of them as artists, we expect them to put out music, sure. but is it collaboration like this something fans are going to respond to or have a visceral reaction to?
>> well, that's a great question. the question that black music artists have faced for many decades. this happens during black history month, we saw the groundbreaking of the museum there. sometimes african-american artists face questions that other artists don't. people wonder, are you being a role model? representing your community in the right way? and they're facing those questions about the choices they've made to work together and what also adds to the situation, millions of followers on twitter that tweeted this news out there on the internet. people have been discussing it. taking one side or the other. many saying why are you back with this guy musically speaking. many chris brown fans saying, finally, people need to get over this. it's been a couple of years already. and that's created a lot of attention between the fan bases about whether this should've happened.
>> well, it's out there for everybody now. we'll see how the fans react to it, but it has created a lot of talk among people that are watching this. but