Video: Chris Brown+Rihanna's "Birthday Cake" remixed with lyrics from police report for 2009 beating

[Video Link: "Birthday Cake in the Face."]

A quickie remix parody of "Birthday Cake" by Rihanna ft. Chris Brown. Lyrics quoted directly from the police report (PDF). What is this about? Created by Andrea James and Calpernia Addams. Here's a related analysis that's worth a read.


  1. Sorry Xeni, I’m not generally a sensitive person, but I take exception to the judgement and ill-will directed to these two.  They are only human, and who are we to judge the health and love (or lack thereof) in their relationship – after an incident that occurred 3 years ago, no less?  A little respect please.  There’s really nothing even remotely humorous/entertaining here.

        1. Um, yeah.  Not meant to be funny.  I’m going to suggest that you do a little reading about the creators of the video for some context.

          1. Antinous, I agree.  As the author says in conclusion: 

            “Maybe it’s time to search for other narratives. Put on Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and scream along. Pick up the phone and call your sister and make sure she’s okay. Donate some money to your local women’s shelter. Recognize that pain and bad decisions are a part of life, and that those “role models” we pull from the ether of mass culture will inevitably fail us. They are only human, sometimes shockingly so.”

    1.  Um, what part of “choked into unconsciousness” don’t you get?  Any relative, friend or acquaintance of mine who had that done to them would first get my sympathy, then get my strongest worded protest if they went back to their attacker in any way shape or form.

    2. Since he bit her and punched her and choked her three years ago, we should all go buy his records now.

    1. Who said respect for him?  I implied privacy and respect are due to THEM as a COUPLE for their choices in their relationship.  Whether you respect Brown or not is irrelevant.  I tend to think he’s a violent, talentless, douche-bag, but I respect Rihanna”s right to date one.  

      1. Respect due to them as a couple? Any decent person should not ever respect someone that beats someone else. If the beaten party goes back, we should all protest this decision. 

        Wait, nevermind. Connie is probably right, and this has got to be trolling. 

        1. There is no such concept as respect for consenting individuals’ right to choose their own relationship, no matter how much others disagree with it?  Interesting. I may not agree with her choice, but I respect the fact that it’s hers to make. That is all I am advocating.

          1. Way, way too much effort here defending an abusive relationship. Also, you’re repeating yourself. And scaring the cat.

          2. What you are saying is that we should leave them alone since it their own business.

            What everyone else says is that why should we since they are public personas and the fact that she forgave/forgot does not make past behaviour less … (insert something).  

          3. They are public figures. Whether we like it or not, many people look to celebrities as role models. Every time a beautiful, talented, popular person goes back to their abuser, they send a very powerful message to all their fans: even I with all my advantages do not believe myself worthy of decent treatment at the hands of a “loved one”.

            So yeah, we the public have a right to add our objections to the public record in the hopes that more than one side of the  message will be broadcast.

      2. Talentless? Really? I’m not a big fan of Chris Brown, but even I acknowledge his talents.  Like the man or not, he is an entertainer.

          1. Next? You want another? Is this like some effed up tryout for American Idol? Well, there is that guy that shits on cop cars, he’s pretty entertaining.

  2. That NPR music article is really interesting, the writer of it explains more fully what Rihanna could potentially be expressing in this song.

    As for those that say it’s nobody else’s businees: they are either unfamilar with domestic violence or are in denial of the domestic violence they have suffered. You do not go back to a person that beats you, rapes you, verbally abuses you. Victims often do go back, repetitively, which we could dismiss as crazy. Logically thinking, though, abuse and pain are not enjoyable, so the victim goes back for something that is more important and vital to them than the pain they will suffer from their abuser. Victims go back because they are dependent in some way.  Which is why they need help.

    Abuse is awful. I hope she gets free.

  3. Hi everyone, I’m a co-creator of this “parody” (for lack of a better word) video. I’ve been flabbergasted by the apathy and justification that followed the 2009 beating of an influential idol of so many girls, the lack of sincere regret from her attacker and then this collaboration between them both. It seemed like a good idea to put something out there that counteracted the apathy by juxtaposing the ill-considered collaboration song with details from the horrific police report.

    To me, observing a situation of abuse like this and shushing concerned onlookers by saying “It’s their business as a couple, give them privacy” is reminiscent of an earlier era when domestic abuse was almost considered the purview of a man over his woman and neighbors were “nosy” if they interfered.

    I’m a zany comedienne and musician, but I’m also a thoughtful artist very concerned about violence against vulnerable people. Andrea and I felt so moved by this that we created the music and video in less than 48 hours. Andrea can speak for herself quite well, but I just wanted to put in my two cents here. I consider this a performance art piece, and any laughs it elicits are unintentional. 

    1. talking about this issue is gonna change things, just by the fact that there is overt communication. silence has killed enough people. I’m glad you’ve created this bit!

    2. Thank you for this. My niece tried to play some Chris Brown in my car recently, and I told her that music performed by people who get away with attempted murder isn’t allowed in my vehicle.

  4. You all obviously haven’t read the book, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as long as they’re talking about you.”

  5. I live under a rock when it comes to “celebrities,” and for good reason. You can basically think of me as “being from Mars” when it comes to Hollywood and wherever pop music comes from.

    Try to imagine my perplexity at encountering this whole Brown’s-fists-v-Rihanna’s-face business through this parody video. And there are defenders of the original “work of art” in this thread.


    1. I had to search on YouTube for the original “work of art”… what, how this can be called “music”? What is this shit?

      I mean, music isn’t dead, go listen to The Cranberries’ new album. These “artists” just use the name “music” for their, hmm, strange sounds anyone can make in GarageBand on an iPhone…

      The cake is a lie.

      1. …or listen to Jay Brannan’s new album when it drops. meanwhile listen to “Beautifully” or “The Spanglish Song” (I’m not getting paid for this, don’t worry). Listen to other stuff you find inspiring and moving, that touches you and let’s you get in touch with yourself.

  6. I think the point is not whether they are celebrities, but the public’s relationship to the incident. About 5 years ago, an assistant teacher at my children’s school was murdered by her husband. I seemed to be the only person in my whole community who would speak to the press about the situation although many people knew her a lot better than I did. Even after the man was convicted, I seemed to be the only person who would speak up and say that his killing her was a bad thing. I found that intensely disturbing.

  7. Wow, really? This may be meant to draw attention to the ridiculousness of that abomination of a song but it feels like it’s just making a mockery of domestic abuse. Also would love to see Boing Boing start using “trigger warning” when posting about abuse, trauma, rape, etc. 

    1. Also would love to see Boing Boing start using “trigger warning” when posting about abuse, trauma, rape, etc.

      The title includes the words “police report for 2009 beating.”

  8. I perceive it a bit differently:  the cause of the trauma is revealed there is a chance of healing. Within THIS work of  art here.  This track here mirrors the other track and creates a resonance that at least caused people to not just turn away but face the music. And I also think the idea of a “trigger warning” is a good one.

      1. I apologize. I mixed up some things. the title is complex but you would figure out what it is about. agreed.

  9. The inclination of some domestic violence victims to stay with their attackers, even defend them, is one of the most frustrating things for me to ponder. I admit, I find it hard to muster much respect for them.

    1. The inclination of some human beings in a relationship, to attack the human beings they are in a relationship with, and to remain unrepentant, is one of the most frustrating things for me to ponder. I admit, I find it hard to muster much respect for them.

      Abuse is a many-faceted problem, not least because often those who are seriously abused in adult life were exposed to the cycle as a child. Further, most abusers’ treatment of a victim is designed to keep the victim as a victim, and never an escaped victim. Erosion of self-esteem, the calculated elimination of a support-system, it goes on and on. 

      Furthermore, victims of domestic violence often end up being stalked and worse when they begin to escape. “Leaving” isn’t an instantaneous process, and is haunted every step of the way. For Rihanna, fame is probably a very, very small place. Chris Brown was probably never very far away. People reading these articles feel free to lambast her and disrespect her for being ‘weak’, for continuing to take it. But I highly doubt that she’s getting support like that, considering how Chris Brown is playing at the Grammys again and the organizers consider it a ‘loss’ for him to have not been there the last two years.

      Much like shaming overweight people is more about the shamer, shaming an abuse victim does nothing for the abused and generally makes it worse. Low self-esteem- the kind of low self-esteem preyed upon and exacerbated by a bully- isn’t improved by people sneering about how Rihanna should set a better example, and isn’t she pathetic, and how could we respect that.

      I find it telling, that when the discussion is about a collaboration between an abuser and a victim, that you immediately tailor your response to the actions of the victim, rather than the abuser. I find it very hard to muster any respect at all for you.

        1. Indubitably. Not around often, but I occasionally get an urge to kick someone in the seat of the pants. I don’t think I ever signed up to this Disqus monstrosity before with my usual.

      1. As I see it, Rihanna is setting an example for the kind of delightful young girls who twitter about how they would let “hottie” Chris Brown “beat them up any day”. She is celebrating and even sexualizing the abuse in their musical collaboration. This, to me, reeks of an attempt to present physical abuse as a way to empowerment of some kind, for “being able to take it” and I find it infuriating.

        My response was written in an emotional state. I realize there are women (and sometimes men) in such relationships who don´t have the mental or even financial capacity to easily walk away, and to them it was unfair.

        No, my response was not “tailored” to the actions of the abuser, as the abuser, like so often, is unrepentant and perfectly content with the way things turned out for him. Now what does that “tell” you about me?

        For what it´s worth, I was almost ready to thank you for a well thought-out answer until the pretentious last paragraph.

        1. “Delightful young girls?” Are you intentionally being snide about a generation of young women who have been heavily influenced by a patriarchal society into believing that abuse is romance?

          From childhood,  they’re told that the little boy on the playground who pinches them and pulls their ponytails ‘likes them’. As youths, they’re preyed upon at an early age by older men, and quickly learn that male attention, and a semblance of ‘respect’, is only allotted them if they maintain a neat balance between modesty and slut-dom.

          They’re taught that attracting the male gaze is ’empowering’, and in fact, it’s one of the few ways they can get much power at all. It doesn’t matter how clever they are or how capable of boys’ club skills they are; they have to be sexually relevant, too. They’re taught to accept casual sexual harassment, and not-so-casual sexual assault. Rape victims were asking for it, even if they’re pre-teens attacked by gangs of men.

          In adolescence, the lessons have taken root, and “Twilight” is the most popular true love story. It’s no wonder that they’re willing to be abused for a “hottie”; it’s all they’ve ever been taught they deserve.  It’s all Rihanna thinks she deserves, evidently.

          What your response, and your follow-up, tells me is this: That you are capable of compassion, that you worry about those young girls. It also tells me that you are victim-blaming. You are levelling the accusation at Rihanna for her behavior after her abuse, and expecting, like the majority of society, that she somehow respond like a phoenix. It would be nice if she did, of course. But the expectation that she should, and the belief that she is somehow falling short because she’s behaving in a way that is perfectly rational for an abuse victim, is unreasonable.

          1. I´m not blaming any victims for being abused. I fully blame the coming about of any abusive situation on the attacker, but I´m blaming Rihanna for glamourizing her abuse.

            Maybe it´s too much to ask for her to rise like a phoenix above her abuser, but recording a track charged with violent sexuality with him is a bit much. She has a considerable level of influence and therefore I think, even as a victim, a certain level of responsibility for the message she sends out. She has even acknowledged as much herself in interviews before, stating that she left Brown for the responsibility she herself feels she has to her impressionable fans. What she does is her choice of course but I don´t have to like it or respect it.

            Anyway, thanks for some food for thought.

          2. “Health counselors are specifically concerned with teenagers’ views of the controversy. Of the teens questioned, more than half said both Brown, 19, and Rihanna, 21, were equally responsible for the assault.
            More than half said the media were treating Brown unfairly, and 46 percent said Rihanna was responsible for the incident.”

            Wow, this is seriously fucked up. I don´t know any teenagers where I live but I would be interested if they think the same way. Sure hope they don´t.

    2. Best not to judge until you’ve been there.  It’s a pretty hellish thing, and there are a lot of reasons people stay with their abusers.  One of the hallmarks of abuse is that the victim is literally made to believe the abuse is deserved, or not that bad, or a sign of deep-down love, or only happens if…

      You get the idea.  It’s easy to say you wouldn’t let that happen to you…  but hell, most of us think we wouldn’t shock someone just ’cause a guy in a lab coat said to, but Milgram showed us otherwise, you know?  

      People with the resources, both internal and external, to leave abusive situations generally do so, often pretty early.  If they don’t leave early, leaving later is very very hard, and often dangerous; leaving an abuser sometimes means risking literal death.  

      Sometimes the only way people survive is convincing themselves it’s the best they deserve.

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