Chris Brown: Why we are forgiving a monster
With Chris Brown seemingly undertaking a comeback, we ask how we have forgotten his terrible crime.
To the public eye they were the perfect couple: young, talented and beautiful. Reigning over the R’n’B charts Chris Brown and Rihanna were seen by many to be role models and the beginning of a new power couple in showbiz-land. However, as we are now all too well aware, events soon took a turn for the worse for the doting couple, resulting in a highly violent altercation at the conclusion of a pre-Grammys party.
Rihanna has since revealed that the incident took place after she caught Brown receiving a text message from another woman, but refusing to admit the fact. Speaking to ‘Good Morning America,’ Rihanna stated that ‘I caught him in a lie. And he wouldn’t tell the truth… I couldn’t take that he kept lying to me. And he couldn’t take that I wouldn’t drop it…’This led to Chris Brown becoming extremely enraged towards the Bajan songstress, resulting in physical violence. Admitting that her mouth was filled with blood whilst Brown beat her, she went on to say that
‘…all I kept thinking the whole time is when is this going to stop? When is this going to stop?’
adding that she believed that Brown was not himself at the time of the attack, ‘[Chris] had no soul in his eyes. Just blank. He was clearly blacked out. There was no person when I looked at him.’ Whilst this is sickening in itself, Rihanna was forced to endure further hardship by making her own way to safety, commenting
‘I was battered, I was bleeding. I was swollen in my face…my next option was to get out of the car and walk. Start walking in a gown and a bloody face.’
Whilst Brown turned himself in to the LA Police Department on 8th February 2009, entertainment website TMZ posted a leaked photo of the beaten singer on its page, sparking huge public anger towards Brown. This led to several of his advertising campaigns being withdrawn, as well as various radio stations refusing to play his music, whilst the singer himself kept out of the public eye. After releasing several public apologies expressing his ‘deepest regret,’ Brown was sentenced to five years’ probation, with six months of community labour and one year of domestic violence counselling. He is now required to remain at least 50 yards away from Rihanna at all times, with the exception of public events whereby the distance is reduced to 10 yards. Brown was even refused entry into the UK on the grounds of his criminal actions against Rihanna, forcing him to postpone the UK leg of his tour.
However, it is clear that the tide of bad feeling towards Brown is beginning to subside, as the public not only forgive, but forget his actions as he embarks on a musical comeback. Stars such as Drake, Justin Beiber, Bruno Mars and Pitbull have already been signed up to work with Brown on his upcoming 4th album entitled ‘F.A.M.E.’ whilst his last LP ‘Graffiti’ has recently been nominated for a Grammy for ‘Best Contemporary R’n’B Album,’ although it did not scoop the prize.
In addition to such prestigious recognition, Brown has also been charting well commercially, with his Chipmunk collaboration ‘Champion’ entering the UK charts at #2, only beaten to the #1 by Jessie J with a margin of a few thousand copies, whilst his solo effort ‘Yeah 3x’ entered the UK charts at a respectable #6 and at #15 in the US. Friend and collaborator Keri Hilson has suggested that ‘People are already putting [Brown] back in their good graces ’cause they see his remorse…’ whilst it has been announced that Rihanna has agreed to lower Brown’s restraining order to a ‘level one,’ meaning that he will be able to contact her providing it is not seen to annoy, harass or molest her.
It would seem then, that Brown has successfully re-launched his career, despite the controversy that exists around him. By complying to everything asked of him by his judges, and by ensuring a plethora of public apologies and appearances at domestic violence counselling, Brown has been able to mask the terrifying crime of his past. Even those who were vehemently opposed to Brown after his attack have begun to forget their anger, accepting and enjoying his new musical releases without batting an eyelid and as a result effectively forgiving him. We must also remember that many stars have been involved in such cases, such as Ozzy Osbourne and his infamous attacks on his wife Sharon; however, he has largely been accepted back into the hearts of the public through his regret and his sobriety. Therefore, whether Brown should be forgiven or not is a question everyone will have a different view on, and is dependent on whether you believe that he has truly changed or whether it is simply as a result of outstanding PR. What is clear, though, is that talent clearly exceeds reputation, and as long as Brown continues to create popular music, his crimes will always be as good as forgotten.