Friday, February 17, 2012

My Thoughts on Chris Brown

The above-named artist has been getting a lot of attention this week - some good (a Grammy win, and two Grammy performances, as well as it becoming clearer and clearer he's back in the good graces of his ex-girlfriend, Rihanna, who he so brutally beat on the eve of this same awards ceremony three years ago) - some not so good (responding to haters with the hate of calling his Grammy win the 'ultimate F-off', and his new apparent pickup line of 'Can I have your number? I promise I won't beat you.'). FULL DISCLOSURE: he denies having used that line. But it wouldn't seem so out of character for someone who, the last time his ex-girlfriend was brought up to him in an interview, upon completing said conversation, threw a chair threw a backstage window and walked out of the studio.

When just today the police report of the infamous assault was released in all its gruesome detail to remind us all just how badly he hurt the one he supposedly loved most, it is no surprise that responses to Brown have been fast and furious in recent days. Some rightfully criticize him. Others, while abhorring his behaviour (or ignoring it), still choose to praise him as an artist. And to be fair - he is an extremely talented young man. Although, mind you, so was Chris Benoit in his chosen field (look it up if you aren't familiar with professional wrestling's darkest moment). Even a select few (I am assuming teenage girls who either have never been in an abusive relationship and have no idea what they're saying, or who have in fact been far too exposed to violence so as to be desensitized to it), have said that Chris Brown could beat them anytime, he's just so sexy/talented/rich. To which all I can do is shake my head and say ... is that how little you value yourself?

Yes, he is attractive ... I suppose. And he is certainly talented and rich. And I have no problem with him being recognized professionally as such. But if we aren't going to allow his personal transgressions overshadow his talent, nor should we allow his talent to overshadow that this is an entitled, angry, spoiled young man who - perhaps more to the point - refuses to address any of those issues. For me personally, I can't deny his talent. But the fact is, true art is supposed to take us away, reel us in, make us feel something. And I have a hard time believing someone who has been exposed as so violent and hateful is really sending 'Hearts all over the world tonight'.

Much as - to use my earlier example - I can still objectively see Chris Benoit's talent any time I see one of his matches, somehow, the enjoyment of them is now dampened by realizing the sheer enormity of what he did to his family. And as a result of those actions, he will never be recognized professionally by his peers ... which is perhaps sad, but which I will also never argue with. So it is with Chris Brown. Objectively, yes - he is good. Very good. But his skilled R&B work will never again quite have the power for me it might have. And while he has yet to kill anyone - I find myself wondering if those who would overlook his personal behaviour in favour of enjoying his work - or would in fact even willingly be subjected to it themselves to be with someone so talented/sexy/rich - would feel the same way if that was how that story had ended that night in 2009 - because no mistake ... hitting and choking in a moving vehicle ... it well could have. And with no learning seemingly being done on Brown's part ... let's be honest ... it still might.

And do they give out Grammys for THAT?

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