Rihanna and Chris Brown are probably going to get back together. Rihanna knows it, Chris Brown knows and the rest of us know it too, no matter how much the idea might make us squirm in our seats.
You can be upset about Brown’s continued immaturity and the seeming lack of consequences for his violent outburst against Rihanna three years ago, and you can be upset that young women today suffer from a lack of feminist role models—but what you don’t get to do is turn around and use those feelings as an excuse to shame Rihanna for making her own romantic choices. That’s what Oprah Winfrey got at Friday, when she let it be known she was open to the couple’s reconciliation. (And yes, if it makes you feel weird to read that word, it makes us feel ever weirder to write it.)
Rihanna opened up to Winfrey about her feelings for Brown back in August, calling him a “very close friend” and the love of her life. Now that the pair have been seen at clubs and concerts together, Oprah has given their inevitable reunion her tentative support:
You know what I loved about that interview is that she came with a big, wide open heart. She was in the space of forgiveness. And that she learned a lesson, that she was repeating with Chris Brown exactly what she needed to learn from her father.
I think that if she is prepared to deal with that and is prepared to help him help himself then so be it. I have no judgment about it. That’s why I can sit there and have such a great time with her because I do all my interviews with no judgment whatsoever. If that’s how you choose to lead your life, that’s really okay.
As cringe-worthy as this entire situation seems to the viewing public, Oprah’s reaction by far the most sensible we’ve heard so far. Rihanna is not a role model, as she’s made clear many times before. If she wants to forgive Chris Brown, that shouldn’t reflect on anyone else but her.