Question: Is the general stance that Chris Brown has not done enough penance to be forgiven for his sins, or is the general stance that he is unforgivable? One of those things seems OK, while the other does not.
Hmm. Yes: I totally agree. It might be rhetorically fine to say ‘fuck someone for life’, and you might even feel that way. But, I do think that saying someone is categorically unforgivable — especially if it’s a public figure because, well, for what should be obvious reasons — then there’s a philosophical sort of problem. So, allow me (please?) to quote myself:
After his recent post-performance meltdown at Good Morning America, in which he allegedly threw a cooler at a window, shattering it, Chris Brown has put up an apologetic-yet-defiant front. On 106 & Park, he said he’s sorry, but also that he was put off by GMA host Robin Roberts’ questions about Rihanna. He said he had to release his anger over the interview.
Although he claimed on GMA that the assault wasn’t really “a big deal” to him anymore, Brown has yet to put it behind him. His guest verse on Diddy Dirty Money’s “Yesterday”alludes to the event: “Today feels like my funeral / I just got hit by a bus / Shouldn’t have been so beautiful / Don’t know why I gave my heart.”
The effect is hardly flattering. In the context of his violent relationship with Rihanna, it’s ironic and unfunny that Brown views himself as a victim.
At his 106 & Park appearance, Brown exhorted his fans to “be more positive and kind of focus on the real issues in life and the real positive side of things.” That makes it all the more surprising that Brown reacted with violence at GMA. (He claims that GMA promised his prior charges would be off-limits, while the show says otherwise.) In some ways, Brown is in an impossible position.
While he sees every public event as an opportunity to promote his new album—which seems to be working; F.A.M.E. is set to debut on top of the Billboard chart—the media is not always complicit in the promotion game. Brown would understandably like the media to focus on his new music. To get to that point, though, he’ll likely have to continue to discuss Rihanna, even if to just apologize again. Acknowledging his violent feelings and outbursts with words would make him a sympathetic character. Placing creepy references to Rihanna in his songs and reacting with violent outbursts to interview questions only shows he’s not ready to move on.
I have not honestly followed The Chris Brown Story much since this point because it seemed clear he was still in the “everyone’s a hater / I’m a victim” mode, the mode of feeling and thinking that occurs to people who’ve had little chance to examine themselves in a position of powerlessness. So, when he was rightfully chastised, even a little, he felt the novelty of powerlessness. It seems to me. I mean, in the words of Chris Rock, you don’t feel racism until you try to accomplish something. I’m sure Brown has confronted shit in his life. But his behavior on the release of his album was, for me, beyond acceptable.
The timing with Whitney Houston’s death, and the complete silence on the etiology of her downfall, was too much salt in a fresh wound, and Brown’s presence at the Grammys was like a McDonald’s Biggie Size Fries.
It’s not that Chris Brown is categorically unforgivable. It’s more that he’s no longer an acceptable vehicle for corporations to use to sell products to young adults. On a human level, I’m more than willing to eventually forgive Chris Brown, once he seems genuinely remorseful and changed (which, at this point, he definitely does not). But there’s no obligation to continue supporting him as a pop star. Chris Brown would not exist without millions of dollars of production and marketing and styling and whatever else. He’s not some troubled genius that exists on his own, creating pop music in a corner. He’s just a handsome and fit guy who can dance and sing pretty well. There are plenty of other people who are more than capable of filling that role and who haven’t beat a woman into a state of unconsciousness. Why not give one of them a chance to be rich and famous instead?