In an exclusive interview with Essence.com, comedian, actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur and radio personality Steve Harvey gives his two cents on the highly publicized altercation between singers Rihanna and Chris Brown. The father of seven(from (L) to (R): Jason, 16, Lori, 11, twins Brandi and Karli, 26, Steve 17, Wynton, 10, and Morgan, 21) says, “First to Chris, any young man or my sons, I’d say there is no reason to ever put your hands on a woman. Unless you’re defending yourself because your life is in jeopardy—like a guy who called my show and told me his girl stabbed him, then okay, I believe you have a right to defend yourself if you’re under attack that could possibly be fatal.”
ESSENCE.COM: Court documents allege Rihanna began hitting Chris Brown first while he was driving, so some might argue that his life was in jeopardy and he could have lost control of the car. Do you think he had a right to defend himself if this is indeed true?
HARVEY: It’s not right for a woman to ever put her hands on a man either, because that way she doesn’t provoke him. But I tell my daughters all the time,“Everybody don’t have a daddy like me.” The first day I meet any young man or boy who dates one of my three [older] daughters (my twins are 26 and I have one who attends Spelman who is 21) I tell them: “You can talk to my daughter, yell at her, break up with her, have a falling out with her, tell her you never want to see her again, but if you ever put your hands on her I’m putting my hands on you and you’re not going to win and you better be looking over your shoulder because there’s not a place in this g*#damn country where you could hide. I really don’t understand how Rihanna’s father can respond the way he has, because if you touch one of my daughters, I’m whooping your a–, period.
ESSENCE.COM: Why do you feel so strongly about this?
HARVEY: I have been kicked and slapped by a woman, but I just walked away. I am 52 years old and I have never hit a woman, and it has never occurred to me to hit a woman—ever. Neither my father nor any of my brothers have ever hit a woman. I was raised by men and you just don’t do that, and I teach my sons the same: If a woman hits you, walk away.
ESSENCE.COM: What else do you tell your sons?
HARVEY: [I tell them] what happens is, if a man retaliates against a woman, it will be an unfair fight. As men, we have this thing called testosterone and when that rises up in a man and mixes with adrenaline, man, it’s a kind of strength and speed that no woman can fathom. Women don’t even know what they’ve tapped into and it’s a level of ferociousness that is unmatched. A fight between a man and a woman is an uneven match—there’s no contest, so again, fellas need to walk away.