Chris Brown never ceases to amaze and disappoint us. Some of us wish he either would man up or just disappear altogether as his constant involvement in violence have been more at center stage than he has at any concert or awards show.
It’s gone past the point of caring with many people (myself included). It’s hard not to understand why. Breezy’s plunge into bad boy status began the moment the public heard about the beatdown heard ’round the world with his lover Rihanna. His new dark image accelerated when he threw a chair out of his dressing room at ABC studios over questions about that incident. People were disgusted when he cursed out his haters, a.k.a. the people who criticized him on his failure to publicly show remorse and take responsibility over his beating of Rihanna. Add in his run-in with Drake and his crew that decimated a New York club, his explosive twitter rage where once he deactivated his account after comedian Jenny Johnson poked the bear, his recent scuffle with Frank Ocean and his entourage, and all kinds of other bullshit, you can’t help but conclude that this is one of the most troubled singers in the world since Rick James.
Chris Brown has yet to understand, in the public eye at least, why people are always on his case, especially when it comes to Rihanna. Part of it is the coddling by the music industry that endorses (and forgives) misogyny against women, hyper-masculinity and the blatant inability to hold those responsible accountable. Another part is this society’s treatment of women and women beaters overall. Even after his numerous fuck-ups that end up with someone getting hurt, many of Breezy’s fans continue to not only support him but see nothing wrong with his violent episodes. Breezy will continue to end up in trouble as long as he continues to hide behind his anger mismanagement in the guise of being positive.
As far as the public and some Hollywood stars are concerned Breezy not only doesn’t seem a bit worried about his debaucheries, but he deserves to get his just desserts. Some people are not cool with any male abusing women, and Breezy became that male in 2009. And even though that’s the one and only time he physically assaulted a female, his songs, twitter fights and even body art shows that he harbors ill feelings toward women.
Even Jay-Z had a few choice words for Breezy when he got back together with Rihanna. I have doubt he will effectively end this career if his Edward Hyde side reappears. Even so, it will be another chapter in Chris Brown’s slow downfall.
It has been said that Breezy has a drug problem, another cover he uses to hide the fact that he is broken. We may be witnessing the slow self-destruction of a young star who is unable or unwilling to handle stardom especially since he came from a dysfunctional home. We are watching a young male trapped in an endless cycle of violence from childhood to adulthood just like many men, especially black men, in our white patriarchal society.
There are young black men, even famous ones, who have been witnesses or victims of violence. While some live, the ones that do hardly get the help they need based on the stigma about black people and mental health and the cost of getting adequate help. Instead, like anyone else, black men find other methods of “treatment” from church to drugs, among other things. There are some unstable brothas that are walking around with a deep wound in their minds and souls. One wrong move or word triggers an outburst of extreme emotions which could put more people at risk.
Chris Brown may be getting some kind of help behind the scenes. It seems unlikely considering his record or violence. Then again – and I’m no psychology expert – I know these things take a hell of a lot of time and effort, both of which Chris Brown desperately needs.
It would’ve been responsible on his part (and everyone around him) to put his career on hold to get himself together. Still, we see that he’s still making songs. We don’t see how he’s getting any help, if he’s gotten any. And so, we shake our heads at the whole thing, especially if he uses his chaotic past as a crutch.
But we can not ignore the fact that while we vilify Breezy, domestic violence – especially in Hollywood and the music industry – has never had as much attention prior to or after Brown’s 2009 incident. In some ways Chris Brown has been the one and only extreme example of gender violence due to the leaked photo of Rihanna’s injuries and the police report of that gruesome night. Men like Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson and musicians like (again) John Lennon, Axl Rose and Sid Vicious have been placed on a higher pedestal due to white male privilege. Still, all kinds of men with privilege and violence issues are easily forgiven no matter how many times they screw up.
To be a man you’re expected to be violent or else you’re considered weak. If you’re a famous man, being violent is no big deal to some. Many of your fans will still follow you and your work which is hardly impeded unless it was really bad. They will see your talent is something more important than the problem of social violence. His acting, singing or even his good looks and cool pose will always excuse him.
A man doesn’t even have to have any talent. He may simply be rich and overprivileged. You may still be highly respected if you slap a woman or two. “Who cares? He has money!”
The Chris Brown saga well always be at the forefront of the subject of Hollywood violence and violence against women. I believe that even if Breezy sincerely apologized, took a hiatus from the music biz and did all he could to truly earn forgiveness, he would still be reminded and vilified to an extent. Sadly, he has taken his bravado and ran with it in 5th gear in the public eye hiding his true pain in the form of arrogance, ignorance and anger. As he deals with yet another violent moment through which only he and Frank Ocean truly knows what happened, we can only sit and watch how this plays out.
We can write as many open letters to Breezy concerning his behavior, but none of the will reach him or some of his fans. We can continue to use his past as an explanation, but his antics will continue unabated. Again, if he is getting some kind of help and support, long-lasting and effective reformation will not happen overnight, and it should not just consist of praying. Yes, we can forgive him, but it’s exhausting when the person shows little signs of change or responsibility.
Yes, he’s still young, but he’s still an adult and is still responsible for his actions. Those around him, including his mother who’s a victim of domestic violence herself, should do whatever it takes to help him for the sake of not only his career but his life as well.
We must also be aware that Chris Brown is not a unique individual. While we hate him or love to hate him, he is the reflection of a world that devalues women. He was produced by us, and we produced him.