November 13, 2012
"I don’t know that Rihanna owes anyone anything. I think what bothers me is the willingness to trivialize the behavior of men who like to put women in the hospital. Most of those women will not have the resources of a Rihanna."

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Rihanna’s agency

April 16, 2012

In Focus: Coachella

Top: Snoop Dogg performs with a holographic image of Tupac Shakur during the closing act of the first weekend of Coachella 2012 in Indio, California, on April 15.

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February 23, 2012
Ta-Nehisi Coates: Thoughts on the Rihanna-Chris Brown Collaboration 

We can empower groups who have traditionally suffered oppression — black people and women, for instance — but there really is no guarantee that every member of that group will be wise in the usage of that power. We can inform people. We can give them the tools of liberation. But the act of liberating has to include the individual.
There’s simply no way to guarantee that this will happen. We can’t force people to make good choices. I’m still working my way through this, but I might even argue that it is unwise to attempt to force good choices. But that deserves more thought. My point is that we can’t really stop Rihanna from doing business with someone who once threatened her life, subjected her to near lethal force, and still manifests considerable violent anger when questioned about his behavior.
I think that energy could better be directed toward the women who lack the tools to excise themselves from violent situations. There are women in the world who live under this sort of constant threat, but because of children or finances or family, simply don’t have an out. My heart aches especially for them.
You can’t “make” people free. And agency is more than just a slogan.
Read more.

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Thoughts on the Rihanna-Chris Brown Collaboration

We can empower groups who have traditionally suffered oppression — black people and women, for instance — but there really is no guarantee that every member of that group will be wise in the usage of that power. We can inform people. We can give them the tools of liberation. But the act of liberating has to include the individual.

There’s simply no way to guarantee that this will happen. We can’t force people to make good choices. I’m still working my way through this, but I might even argue that it is unwise to attempt to force good choices. But that deserves more thought. My point is that we can’t really stop Rihanna from doing business with someone who once threatened her life, subjected her to near lethal force, and still manifests considerable violent anger when questioned about his behavior.

I think that energy could better be directed toward the women who lack the tools to excise themselves from violent situations. There are women in the world who live under this sort of constant threat, but because of children or finances or family, simply don’t have an out. My heart aches especially for them.

You can’t “make” people free. And agency is more than just a slogan.

Read more.

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