In March of 2009, Billboard reported that R&B singer Chris Brown had been charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend, fellow singer Rihanna. Brown’s felony charges stemmed from what was described as a “brutal argument” that left a visibly bruised victim and a beloved singer who was about to be vilified in perpetuity in the media for what he had done to her.
Fast forward to 2015. Chris Brown has become a bit of a pariah to some female fans and domestic violence advocates. Though Brown’s past transgressions have followed him along the way, Brown was able to rebuild his career. Brown completed his probation and has continued to make music, tour extensively, and has even become a dad. He even collaborated on a song with Rihanna, much to fans’ chagrin, called “Birthday Cake.”
Brown’s newest collab has repercussions not for him, but for Rita Ora, the Kosovo-born, London-bred singer who had hoped her collaboration with Chris Brown on her new single, “Body on Me,” would propel her profile before U.S. fans. Chris Brown is no stranger to drama and is usually able to use it for his advantage. But behind-the-scenes melodrama could hinder Rita Ora from becoming America’s newest sensation.
While “Body on Me” has hit in the top 10 on UK iTunes charts, enjoying over half a million plays on Spotify and two million YouTube views and counting, Brown’s presence on the song has also become a wedge in Rita Ora’s fan base, leaving people to question their allegiance to her, calling Ora a “traitor” to women, according to the International Business Times. Fans seem to think collaborating on a song with Chris Brown is akin to supporting domestic violence and have condemned the newest X-Factor judge as abandoning her feminist ways.
rita ora: my new album is all about women sticking together!!! #feminism!!!! rita ora: [literally collaborates with a known domestic abuser]— Lex (@_lecks_) August 6, 2015
Ironically, Rihanna has voiced her own displeasure over the Chris Brown-Rita Ora project, calling it a “lack of respect.”
But Rita Ora cares more about the song than Brown’s past, the Independent reports.
Ora told reporters, “[R]egardless of what happened, the song is just amazing.”
Heatworld reports Ora is sticking by her decision and her friend Chris Brown. Ora is on a path to pop stardom and has to choose her friends – and collaborators — wisely. She’s quickly learning that fans do not forgive and they do not forget, and they’re prone to picking sides. Ora doesn’t appear too put off by the negativity, though. Ora, who made a cameo in Fifty Shades of Grey, has recently been confirmed for the sequel, according to the Independent.
Though Chris Brown has worked with other female artists since “the incident” including Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Brandy, and Estelle, backlash was relatively mum compared to the chastising by Rita Ora fans, also referred to as “ritabots.” But if fans who cannot forgive Brown’s past deeds do revolt, and “Body on Me” stops streaming, Ora has her burgeoning film and fashion career to fall back on. Between her Adidas collection last year and her recent deal with Coca-Cola, Rita Ora will most likely escape the shadows of Chris Brown’s past with or without “Body on Me.”
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images]