I know everyone must be asking this, but just in case: Will Rihanna's song release with Chris Brown, "Birthday Cake," affect her career negatively? It seems like everyone is in an uproar over this (as they should be).
—Jonathan B., via Facebook
It's too early to tell whether her song sales have suffered, but we can look at radio airplay and endorsement contracts, and see if any of that has suffered since Ri-Ri decided to musically reunite with He Who Shall Not Be Named. (Not the Harry Potter Voldemort. The Dashboard-Beating Voldemort.) Here's what I learned ...
If anyone out there thinks Ri-Ri may be sending an irresponsible message on domestic violence (like, say, stay away from people who beat you), they aren't showing it. I have confirmed that Vita Coco will not be dropping Rihanna as a spokesperson, for example. And radio stations still like her, and Chris Brown, just fine.
"Yes, we are playing 'Birthday Cake' in rotation," Kelly McDaniel, of mainstream R&B station WUSL in Philadelphia, tells Billboard. "The original version of 'Birthday Cake' was already hot with just Rihanna, and when our Mix Show Director 'Cosmic Kev' walked the remix in the other day the entire music team decided this was a smash and also a highly anticipated record, so we jumped on it immediately.
"The station's Twitter and Facebook pages have been going crazy and buzzing with lots of interaction since."
(Well that's nice. Sure, domestic violence is an epidemic, but the Twitter! It's so happy right now!)
Record executives also agree that the world is ready for this collaboration, that Ri-Ri and Brown are certainly ready, and they predict that it may even sell well.
"It's good music," says Dro Genao of Shady Records. "Critics are going to say what they're going to say ... but the fortunate part of all this is, it's good music. You can't take nothing away from real love. [Rihanna and Brown] love each other."
Do you agree? I invite you sound off in comments; I'm sure you would on this topic no matter what.