How to be Rich and Violent


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Various
05 Monday 05th March 2012

Fast forward three years later, and it transpired that he really was responsible for a verse on the bass-heavy, sexually suggestive and explicit track (what else could it be with "girl, I wanna fuck you right now" as his opening line?). While listening to him pant about how he can't wait to "give it to you in the worst way" is enough to turn my stomach, it's more interesting to note the extent to which all has been forgiven and forgotten not only by Rihanna (which is an entirely personal matter) but the music industry at large.

We take a look at some of the post-violent-meltdown career bounce-backs from famous men in the media spotlight, and examine just what it takes to mix that perfect cocktail of momentary (and often recurring) rage and relatively untouched success.

Two of several worrying tweets from Chris Brown fans, after his Grammys 2012 performance. via Buzzfeed

With a Grammy tucked under his belt for F.A.M.E as best R'n'B album this year, Chris Brown isn't exactly suffering artistically for some of the wild outbursts he's had since finding fame. Even after smashing his way through a TV studio window (without his top on, for added effect I assume) he still has hordes of female fans tweeting that they'd let him 'beat down on them any day', because he's just that cute.

The Grammys even said they were the ones hurt when he couldn't perform in 2009, and when he was banned for two years after the fact. Yes, of course the Grammys were the ones hurt in that scenario.

James Brown, nailing some great hair in one of his several brushes with the law

Breezy isn't alone, though. Somehow another famous Brown managed to lay low under the wifebeater radar: The Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. Dude may have worn some awesome suits and rocked a hairstyle that no-one since would have the guys to (try all you might, Bruno Mars) but he also had a chequered past connected to domestic abuse.

As late as 2004, a 70-year old J Brown was arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence after he smacked down Tomi Rae Hynie, his wife at the time. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s his second wife, Adrienne Rodriguez, had also accused him of domestic abuse several times but none of those cases made it to court.

8 minutes of insane ranting from Mel Gibson, on the phone with his wife at the time

No stranger to controversy, the one and only Mel Gibson also bounced back pretty well from a domestic abuse case last year. Granted, he hadn’t been having the best year anyway (did people go see The Beaver? Seriously, why even walk on set after reading that script?) but managed to walk away from an initial domestic violence claim in pretty good shape: he initially offered his wife Oksana Grigorieva a $15 million settlement for the claim before she changed her mind, dropped the claim and only walked away with $750,000 after a year in court.

This intense video of some of the verbal abuse she suffered originally surfaced in 2010 but Gibson’s PR has moved him on from this altercation pretty briskly.

Finally, we’ve already covered Charlie Sheen’s breakdown and descent into mental illness but it’s worth noting that he managed to crawl back into the welcoming arms of a TV ‘comedy’ audience with Two And A Half Men with several violence and abuse claims against him on his record. From chucking chairs at Brooke Shields in the early noughties to threatening to kill just about every woman to spend time alone in a room with him since, it’s still shocking to think he maintained a role on that show for so long.

Who else has ridden out their career, post-domestic violence?

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  • Guest: bb1983
    Wed 07 - Mar - 2012, 11:29
    Ike Turner?