The much-anticipated, highly controversial interview that Rihanna gave to Oprah this week has drawn near-record numbers of ratings, pulling in 2.454 million viewers. The only interview to top this one was the exclusive one-on-one Oprah did with Whitney Houston's daughter, shortly after the singer passed away earlier this year.
The interview itself, however, has drawn criticism, though, from people who think that Rihanna's statements were misguided and, well, insane, to people who think that Ri-Ri's management shouldn't have allowed her to do the interview period.
In the interview, she tearfully told Oprah that even despite the famous beating, she and Chris Brown are "still close" and "will always love each other." Critics say her attitude is "normalizing" domestic abuse, while others say that her assertation that she is worried about Brown's mental health (and not, you know, her own), is troubling.
One celebrity publicist who remained anonymous said, "I cannot believe her team would allow her to do this interview. Rihanna's brand is all about powerful girls—ladies who get what they want and don't need a man to complete them. If Rihanna honestly believes what she told Oprah, then it changes everything that we thought she represented."
To that, though, we have to say: since that incident in 2009, have any of us really thought that Rihanna's brand was about strong women? She's been incredibly vocal about relationship with Brown, and her "don't give a f*ck" attitude has overshadowed anything else; she doesn't paint herself so much as a strong woman, but a woman blind to see that she's still embroiled in an abusive relationship.
Still, some say that her admission to still being involved with Brown on some level was the right thing to do and opens up a discourse to talk about relationships, specifically abusive ones.
Amy Rosenblum, who runs the media training company Media Masters, said, "As a media trainer I also tell my clients to be honest. The public is not stupid and [they] know when you are not telling the truth. Rihanna is not the first person to still love someone who did something terrible. Doing the interview with Oprah was the right choice. Rather than being a 3 to 4 minute interview on a show, Oprah had the time and resources to put what happened into context. Rihanna has opened up a conversation about domestic violence. It was a great interview."
Did you see the interview? What did you think of it?