This brings us to Chris Brown.
Pretty much everyone knows who Chris Brown is. It’d be nice if the sole reason for that was music, but that’s not the world we live in. No, we know Chris Brown primarily because of the violence he displayed toward then-girlfriend Rihanna a few years back. In the months following the attack, Brown seemed contrite. He apologized and did everything the legal system told him to do. Slowly, people began to forgive him. Not everyone - some of us will never forgive and forget - but many folks out there decided to give the guy another chance.
That appears to have been a mistake.
The Chris Brown who has been making the rounds in the last month or so bears little resemblance to the guy who seemed sorry for what he’d done. Ever since his appearance at the Grammys earlier this month - where he not only performed, but actually took home the award for Best R&B Album - he has been on a bit of a tear, especially on Twitter.
Country star Miranda Lambert, a fellow 2012 Grammy winner, took to Twitter to voice her personal displeasure about Brown’s appearance, saying “He beat on a girl…not cool that we act like that didn’t happen.” She followed that up with a suggestion that Brown listen to her song “Gunpowder & Lead” (a song about avenging domestic violence) and “be put back in his place. Not at the Grammys.”
In a stunning display of absolutely zero self-awareness, Brown responded to Lambert and the multitude of haters with “HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate [BLEEP] OFF!”
Not content to just anger the entire music world, Brown crossed entertainment genres for his next beef. WWE wrestler C.M. Punk expressed his own feelings about Brown (again, through Twitter), saying that he wants to “curb stomp” Brown someday at a WWE event because he wants Brown to “fight somebody that can defend themselves.” Brown’s response? He implied that Punk was just looking for some publicity before going on to disparage the functionality of Punk’s man-parts.
Pretty sure that’s it. For now, anyway.
The smug punk thinks he’s bulletproof. And in the eyes of the music establishment? Maybe he is. What other explanation can there be for an admitted batterer to be trotted out and celebrated for the entire world to see? He knows that his talent, which I admit is considerable, makes him valuable. Too valuable to let go. So he goes up to the dais and accepted his award with a self-serving attitude and simply refused to acknowledge the elephant in the room. And he got away with it.
Sure, people like Lambert and Punk expressed their outrage at the free pass Brown appears to be getting. But for every Miranda Lambert and C.M. Punk, there are dozens of people out there who simply don’t care. Even worse is the sadly stunning number of “Chris Brown can hit me anytime” tweets that swarmed the Internet during the Grammys. It’s a sad statement both on the power of celebrity and the state of the culture in general.
Chris Brown is a reprehensible human being. I feel comfortable saying that now. I might not have a month ago - our tendency is to try and forgive, to give people second chances. He seemed like he regretted his mistake. Turns out that’s wrong - he only regretted the damage it did to his image and career. Now that the Grammys folks have essentially told him that it’s all better, he has once again set loose his inner asshat. He’s not sorry and he never was sorry. He was trying to fool us, but then he found out he needn’t bother. Apparently, a lot of people are ready to embrace him in all his epically glorious douchebaggery.
What can Brown do for me? Shut his damned mouth and go the hell away.