"In my mind, it was just music"
The world may have issued a collective WTF when Rihanna and Chris Brown teamed up for a pair of remixes earlier this year, but Rihanna thought the pair's reunion — their first musical collaboration since ex-boyfriend Brown was convicted of assaulting her in a car after a 2009 Grammy party — was no big deal. Rihanna was forced to address the issue in an interview with Esquire U.K. (via Hollywood Gossip) and revealed she was "caught a little off-guard" by reactions like ours.
"It never occurred to me how this was going to be a problem, you know. It really didn’t," Rihanna said. "I thought people were gonna be surprised that we finally did a record together, but I didn’t see how people could think it was a bad thing, you know? In my mind, it was just music." When Esquire's writer suggested the collaboration "sent the wrong message," Rihanna went on the offensive:
Rihanna: [Angrily] What was that? What message would that be?
Esquire: You’d gone back to someone who put you in the hospital.
Rihanna: [Getting angry] Oh really? Did I?
Esquire: Well… yes.
Rihanna: Did I? Did I? Did I?
Esquire: You went and recorded with him, yes.
Rihanna: Okay. In a completely professional environment. And on a complete professional note. I mean, if I went back to him [as a girlfriend], then that's a whole different discussion. And if I ever do, then that’s something that y’all have to talk to me about when — if — that ever happens. Until then, look at it for what it is. I think a lot of people jumped to an assumption that was incorrect and they ended up looking stupid.
When pressed further to discuss her 2010 collaboration with Eminem on the domestic-violence-themed song, "Love the Way You Lie," Rihanna insisted there's a different between a pop star and a character in a song. "There’s a lot of shit y’all can’t get over. Y’all holding your breath on a lot of stuff that doesn’t matter."