Chris Brown arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on September 1 sporting a new tattoo of what appears to be a woman’s half-beaten face. Though Brown’s camp claimed to TMZ that the ink depicts a “sugar skull [associated with the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead] and a MAC cosmetics design … not Rihanna or an abused woman as erroneously reported,” the image draws an unsettling parallel to the infamous leaked 2009 photo of Rihanna taken by police after Brown assaulted her.
An earlier Instagram photo from the Fortune artist shows the image looking more like a lady with terrible face paint.
Brown took to Twitter late Tuesday (Sep. 11) to clarify the design’s meaning.
I’m an artist and this is art. Dia de los Muertos.
— Chris Brown(@chrisbrown) September 11, 2012