Almost two weeks after Rihanna was allegedly assaulted by boyfriend Chris Brown, Rihanna's representative has released a statement on the singer's behalf. Basically, it's one of those statements that acknowledges the endless speculation and need for information, but gives away nothing: "At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown," says the statement. "She wants to assure her fans that she remains strong, is doing well, and deeply appreciates the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time."

The statement, released on Rihanna's 21st birthday, comes a day after TMZ ran a photo of a beaten Rihanna in what is alleged to be a Los Angeles Police Department photo taken shortly after the Feb. 8 incident. The picture is shocking and tremendously disturbing. For anyone on the fence about whether the incident was a career killer for Brown, the photo can leave no doubt. It is impossible, at least for me, to look at the damage done to Rihanna in that photo and conceive of a case where I would feel it is okay to give a dime of my money to Brown again by buying one of his CDs or going to one of his concerts.

That's a kneejerk reaction, to be sure, and one made without full command of the facts. And it leaves me sad for both Rihanna and Brown. Rihanna's story will always now include this incident. With time, it will go from a headline to a footnote, but just as with Halle Berry and the abuse she suffered, it will be part of her future.
On the other side, without making any excuses for Brown, he's only 19 and extremely talented and so full of promise. It's my hope that he gets the help he needs to exorcise whatever demons he has that caused him to act this way.

In a total aside, possibly as a result of all the publicity, sales of Rihanna's "Good Girl Gone Bad" increased 6,000 copies over the week before. Brown's album fell off the Billboard 200 before the Grammy incident.

 

Want more music news and analysis? Sign up now for HitFix Blog Alerts and get The Beat Goes On in your inbox every day.

Don't stop the music! Click here  to add The Beat Goes On to your iGoogle, My Yahoo or My MSN experience today.

Not part of the HitFix Nation yet? Take 90 seconds and sign up today.