Chris Brown: Young Fame’s New Lightning Rod

So people are up in arms on the fact that Chris not only performed at the 2012 Grammys on Sunday twice, but also won a Grammy. Make no mistake, as an entertainer, Brown has some talent and had a monster 2011.Anytime I’m in the office on the 9-5 and the teens have the radio on, a Chris Borwn song gets played – no matter what station is on. If it were music alone, the year he had should and would be celebrated.

The problem though is why he’s become a villain in some circles. He got convicted for a well document of interpersonal violence on then girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, which led to  among other things the 2 year award show bans. Then you add the Robin Roberts interview where he had the throwing-stuff, storming-off-the-set outburst. When you add it all up, it’s been a very roller coaster for Mr. Brown with a concerning glimpse into his image and persona.

To this day people have mixed views though – some say he should never be allowed to perform and ply his trade again – especially since a large portion of his fans are female. Others say he did the crime and has done the time both in both courts of law and public opinion and that he should be left alone to ply his trade.

Here’s the scoop though: not all crimes are created equal, and nor should they be viewed as such. Not because he did what was required of him that it means that we should blindly ignore that facet of his persona. We saw the pictures: Rihanna got it handed to her, just as many who are the victim of interpersonal violence do across all walks of human society. What he did was one of those things where one time was one too many – there is no justifiable reason interpersonal violence under ANY situation. Should these perps of interpersonal violence be vilified as much as Brown has? At minimum, they should be held accountable for their actions certainly.

The biggest part of the firestorm around Chris is the newest goof on Twitter and how some of his female fans have responded. Look, what makes him good at his craft of entertaining is his ability to channel his music into hitting chords many folk can relate to. Does he have a right to be angry at people he perceives hating on him and wishing him ill? Sure. Everyone has a write to their feelings. Does it make it ok for him to express himself like that? Absolutely NOT.

Still, Brown has become the poster child for the neo version of a fallen celebrity. This is not a story of true perseverance; in fact the people who are really persevering are the victims of interpersonal violence. Some don’t get out and succumb to the violence; some stay because well, the situation is more complicated than just leaving. It just feels more like a pseudo perseverance story, a matter of bouncing back from what is a mere inconvenience for him.

Yes, our views of celebs have changed somewhat…when we see the human flaws we might find it easier to relate to them. The trouble is that many folk are confusing acceptance with tolerance. Does it mean that we should accept his behavior? No, we cannot. But the response of some of the female fans on Twitter about making themselves “available for Brown to beat on them” is a serious sign of how tolerant and thus accepting we have become.

I’m not sure who his handlers are. But at some point someone may want to tell Brown that no matter how many earth shattering performances he gives, his Twitter antics, night with Rihanna and the Robin Roberts interviews are tied with him forever. For as long as he is around, he’s gonna have to answer those questions and address this issue. I suppose it’s hard for him to be more sensitive to what the consequences for the night with Rihanna have been. When you’re that good and have that much fan support behind you, and are that young, you’re too busy staying on top in this uber competitive music field.

Maybe people want Chris Brown to just go away. Maybe people are looking for a sign of something clicking – a level of maturity where he can use his experience and reach to affect his fans in a positive, subdued manner. But with the way neo fame is, there’s not time in doing the right thing when the spotlight that shines at its brightest is on you for a short period of time than before.

I cannot completely defend him, nor can I completely crucify him either. I guess that’s how a lightning rod acts; and it goes to show you how complicated the issue of interpersonal violence really is.


2 thoughts on “Chris Brown: Young Fame’s New Lightning Rod”

  1. I was SHOCKED wen he won…but who am I 2 judge…Rihanna said she has moved on n as far as I c it we can move on 2…every1 deserves a chance 2 redeem his/herself…I read she’s doing a remix with him…if that isn’t moving on then I don’t know wat is…n if he hasn’t learned his lesson then all I can say is POOR BASTERD!!!!

    1. We both know that the issue is more than them both moving on. Especially in Brown’s case, if you have women on your Twitter account as followers saying you can “beat on them anytime” and yet you say nothing to address it (for commercial reasons – you want them to keep buying records, etc), that’s a problem there. A big one.

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