From the moment Chris Brown came onto the Grammy stage and began his auto-tuned lip syncing shenanigans, so many thoughts came into my head. Here are three of them:
1) I am “not over” the atrocious and horrid incident that happened three years ago.
2) I realized that he has truly not “repented” for his actions publicly in the way that I would have liked.
3) Having him on this exact program, where three years ago to the day everything went down is saying something really huge about the perception of violence towards women, about the fickle quick fix entertainment industry, and about the general public as well.
When he proceeded to win a Grammy (in the weakest Best R&B Album category I can remember), and then perform yet again that night, my feelings became more uncomfortable. How did this happen,I kept thinking to myself. How did we all let this happen.
I actually used to really like Chris Brown a lot – his music was catchy and fun and sweet, definitely in stark contrast to the person revealed three years ago. Ever since the news of his violent outburst on Rihanna, I couldn’t listen to him anymore – I couldn’t separate the music from the man. I think that is something we all do or have done before with the likes of Roman Polanski and Woody Allen, but somehow I couldn’t do it with him.
He has stayed off my iPod for the last three years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
The Grammys Executive Producer, Ken Ehrlich has said:
“I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened. What he’s done and what he’s done to reclaim his career and seemingly the kind of person that he has become makes him — I don’t even want to use the word eligible — but you know, it’s time,”
Well, I don’t think it’s time. I really really don’t.
Since the assault, Chris Brown has proven to be a real volatile presence both online (his tweet after the Grammys is a perfect example) as well as in person (his anger got the better of him last year on Good Morning America, where upon being questioned about the incident with Rihanna he proceeded to throw a chair out the window of the television studio – nice.)
He has not shown enough remorse, nor has his apologies and his wanting to rehabilitate been effective or quite frankly, genuine. Rewarding him by giving him some primo spots during the telecast and a trophy to boot? Well….not cool, Grammys….not cool at all.
Mara asked me whether I am living by a double standard – that why is it ok to reward people like Amy Winehouse, someone who had her own share of issues and find it easy enough to separate the art from the person where she is concerned. Hmmm, I thought – what is the difference? I had to think about that one.
I think the difference is that as a society we view drug abuse or addiction in a different way than physical violence. And it might sound sick, but I think there is a weird romanticism when you hear about a famous person succumbing to drugs. We romanticize their pain, their final moments and somehow canonize them as martyrs in some way. However, I think that, in the case of Amy and the other entertainers and musicians who struggled with drug addiction before her, this is clearly the example of one inflicting pain onto themselves, crying for help, not being able to deal and struggling with their own living.
Chris Brown inflicted pain on someone else. Bottom line. He put another person’s life in danger.
When it comes to physical violence, it is a huge elephant in the room. We always clumsily need to find a way to deflate that elephant as quickly as possible because it makes us feel awkward and uncomfortable. And I think we feel as a general record buying public that violence is something that is easy to shake, that we can move on from and ignore.
Well, I think this isn’t the case at all. And I think that we all should be more vigilant and aware of what message it sends out when we put a person on a pedestal like this. Chris Brown is a role model, and by sweeping his behaviour under the rug, we as a society are saying that what he did isn’t really a big deal so let’s move on so that we can see what cool dance moves he can do now.
And might I add the tweets from young girls while his performing was going on is a perfect example of how we are failing when it comes to this. Young girls SHOULD NOT be saying things like Chris Brown can beat me up anytime. The very typing of that sentence brings a knot to my stomach.
As a man, I am revolted. And I think that we need to see the deeper message going on here.