Men/Redemption: How Crying at Awards Shows Doesn’t Heal All WoundsPosted: February 24, 2011
Chris Brown has been on my mind for a long time. You know when it started – the night he and Rihanna didn’t appear at the Grammys because he was assaulting her in a car. When all the photos of her bruised face leaked, it seemed surprising (yet, not totally) that a person who had spoken about his own experience with his mother’s battering publicly would be guilty of the same disturbing acts himself.
But oh, it was true. And oh, Chris Brown was sorry. It unleashed a firestorm of MTV specials about abuse, fans defending him, fans disowning him, and his retreat out of the mainstream to get help, or whatever it is you do when you’re under 21 and you brutally beat your own girlfriend. He plea bargained out of jail time, and participated in a year long domestic violence course that, from all reports til recently, seemed successful.
In that year, two things happened that still rattle. The first was his appearance on the BET Awards, participating in a Michael Jackson tribute. While there are very few entertainers who had what MJ did, Chris Brown has some of the moves.
And if he had come out, danced, and gotten offstage, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me in the slightest. It’s when we get to ‘Man in the Mirror’ that I bristle. It’s the crying. It’s the crying and the panning to the women in the audience who are obviously feeling empathetic toward someone who hasn’t shown any true remorse about the crime he committed, but is relieved that there is still a way to salvage his career.
Then “Deuces” leaked. Written by Brown himself, Tyga, and Kevin McCall, the song talks about breaking off a relationship after failed attempts to make it work. On the surface, it seems like myriad other pop songs.
Then I listened to the lyrics. Hearing someone paint themselves as some kind of victim, calling a partner “nothing but a vulture” and demanding things be “drama-free” in light of his own personal life was nothing if not messed up. No, dude, the person who should be getting deuces chucked at them by a partner is YOU.
So, here we are, a year later, and news breaks that while Brown’s DV counseling has been going well, he can’t seem to keep his anger in check. I don’t think there are enough awards shows for him to cry this all away. On top of that incident, he is now allowed to meet and talk with Rihanna, after the court order barring both was lifted due to his progression through counseling. While the lift required Rihanna’s consent, I can’t imagine that his overall mental health has improved to the point of a stable relationship. Redemption for Chris Brown is going to require intensive counseling, and I don’t know if a 21 year old man is capable of that kind of commitment.