“What? You like Chris Brown? Why on earth would you like him?” [Insert disapproving face suggesting ‘I clearly agree with domestic abuse.’]
The amount of times this has happened to me is too many to count. I strongly believe that domestic abuse is not ok. It is a crime. It is degrading. Frankly, it is disgusting. Yet, I am also a strong supporter and a fan of the controversial artist that is Chris Brown. I still purchase his albums and pay to see him in concert. Why you may ask? Because I am able to separate the person from the art.
In my opinion Chris Brown is one of the most talented male artists of our generation; not to be cliché but he is a triple threat; he can sing, dance and act. But the art is and will forever be shrouded by the crime he committed on February 8th 2009. I truly believe that had he not committed the crime of domestic abuse, Chris Brown, also known as Breezy, would be the next Michael Jackson. Yes I know; a big statement to make but I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it. Unfortunately both he and his fans will forever be frowned upon for a crime which he, by all accounts, regrets and has never committed again to any of his subsequent girlfriends.
I, unlike the majority of the public believe that if the victim cannot only forgive and forget, but voluntarily decided to partake in a relationship status with the man who previously beat her so violently, then it is time to move on. I think I can speak on behalf of all the Chris Brown fans when I say that, although we support Breezy that does not mean that we condone his past behaviour.
May I just mention that he isn’t the only celebrity who has committed such a heinous crime. Sean Penn, the actor, can be interviewed without any mention of the fact that he was charged for domestic assault after beating his ex-wife Madonna. I challenge you to find an interview with Brown where the words “domestic abuse” and “Rihanna” aren’t mentioned. Why is the criteria so different when both men committed the same crime? Why is one able to forget the incident but the other cannot promote his music without the nature of the crime being highlighted? After reading an article about Penn he was portrayed as the bad boy turned good. I wonder why Chris Brown can’t make the same transition. I am pretty sure Brown has done a significant amount to turn his past ‘bad boy demeanour’ around. Yes – I acknowledge that he has had some hiccups along the way, but there is no denying that he has made an attempt at redemption. He attends therapy sessions to ensure that his anger remains at bay and has established a charity called Symphonic Love. But apparently that isn’t enough.
Eminem is one of, if not the greatest, rapper in the hip hop industry. There is no doubt that Eminem’s following is huge, even winning the MTV EMA’s Global Icon Award. But has the world forgotten that Eminem beat his ex-wife Kim? But he is still and will probably always be considered the best rapper. Eminem even recorded and toured with a victim of domestic abuse; yes you guessed it, Rihanna herself. But still no one judged him for that.
Of course I am not excusing the behaviour of Chris Brown but I think most people would agree that the actions of an 18 year old boy should not define the rest of his life. No matter the good which Brown does in order to amend his ways or illustrate that he has changed, he will always be tainted with the events that occurred in February 2009. The media fail to mention his charity work because obviously the tabloids don’t buy any of that; but what they do buy is Brown stating that he is done with apologising. Perhaps the media and the public can’t forgive him because of the status of the victim. Rihanna is one of the most loved and most popular female singers in the game today. It is hard to simply forgive a man that hurt the music industry’s treasure.
There are some who are able to separate his art from the person and there are others who are able to forgive and forget his actions, taking into account his positive behaviour after the incident and the fact that Rihanna herself has forgiven him. Yet often I, and other Breezy fans, are yelled at and shunned for supporting his career. People, I think it is clear that no matter what you say to his fans, also known as Team Breezy, our loyalty will never back down. All I ask is that you keep YOUR OPINIONS about people liking Chris Brown to yourself. Please. And remember at the end of the day they are just your opinions, not facts. Believe it or not Breezy has a huge following, winning the Fandom BET award for the past 4 years. He’s also had 2 consecutive number ones with “Turn up the Music” and “Don’t Wake Me Up” in 2013.
When researching facts and information for writing this article I came across a webpage entitled “10 Violent Men Who Are Always Forgiven Because Everyone Loves Their Art.” Surprise surprise; Penn and Eminem were two among the ten. The word ‘redemption’ is constantly used when talking about the violent past of Eminem and Sean Penn. It makes me question what defines redemption and why Brown is constantly denied it. To some, the art of the likes of Penn and Eminem are enough to restore their position as a beloved entertainer. If one person’s art is so great that their bad actions can be erased, then as all the Brown fans would agree, Chris Brown’s music is great enough for us to forgive him for his past behaviour. Again however I want to highlight that forgiveness does not mean condoning the person’s behaviour.
I want to end by reiterating the main reason I decided to write this article; just because fans purchase Chris Brown’s album does not mean that they condone domestic abuse. And on that note I will leave you with this – if you are going to condemn and criticise me for being a fan of Chris Brown then please, when his music comes on in a club, do not dance to his songs. Hypocrisy will not help your argument.