Two years ago, Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend. His famous and well-liked girlfriend. This should really be a career death sentence for a guy who sings lyrics like “I need you boo/I gotta see you boo.” Given that we can’t really rely on the criminal justice system to take care of these problems (Brown pleaded guilty to his felony charge and got community service and probation, so it’s better than it could be but not great), shouldn’t we AT LEAST get the satisfaction of his career going down the toilet, such that even “celebrity” reality shows won’t touch him with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole?
But no. One viral wedding video, one “emotional” performance of “Man in the Mirror” at the BET awards, a few marginally catchy singles, two years of forgetting, and Chris Brown appeared on the verge of a comeback. His new album F.A.M.E dropped today.
And so did Chris Brown’s chance of a career resuscitation. Appearing on Good Morning America to promote his album, Chris Brown was asked some “tough questions” by Robin Roberts. “Tough questions” just means failure to ignore that Chris Brown beat up his famous girlfriend. Because, you know, Robin Roberts is a journalist and she would not really be doing her job if she pretended that never happened and made the whole segment all about the redeeming power of a catchy hook. Chris Brown evaded the questions on air: “it’s not really a big deal to me now, as far as that situation, I think I’m past that in my life.” He redirected attention to the album, offering a second translation for the title of his album (“Fans are my everything,” slightly less provocative than “Forgiving all my enemies.”). Full video here, I haven’t found a transcript yet (please link me if you do!)
This obnoxious dodge and inexplicable martyrdom (Brown mentions “being able to go through everything I went through”) would be enough to re-up my hate of Chris Brown, but his fans already bought this line, so it wasn’t going to change his trajectory.
But then, allegedly (do I really have to type “allegedly?” ugh. Fine. Yes.), Chris Brown had a violent outburst backstage, yelling loudly enough to prompt GMA staffers to call security, and breaking a window in his dressing room with a chair.
And THIS is what will be the undoing of Chris Brown. You’re not going to see t-shirts that say, “The window deserved it.” Beat your girlfriend, and fans will find some way to sympathize. Break a window, and you just look unhinged. And that position has been filled in the universe of celebrity gossip, but thank you for submitting an application. [Brown is aware of this conundrum, tweeting, "I'm so over people bringing this past shit up!!! Yet we praise Charlie sheen and other celebs for there bullshit." [sic] although promptly deleting the message. Dude, the problem with the media coverage of Charlie Sheen is not that you haven’t been given the same allowances for beating women. Yes, there is hypocrisy here, and it is safe to say its because of racism, but let’s not try to fix it by making the world any more broken.]
So bittersweet celebrity news today: on the upside, ding dong, Chris Brown’s career is dead (at least I hope, but I never expected this much of a comeback). On the negative, that’s because a window is a more compelling victim than a human woman. And on the double negative, even that might not be enough if Chris Brown starts offering potent quoteables about tiger blood. Deep. Heavy. Sigh.