This time last year, pop sensation Chris Brown was on top of the world. His sophomore album Exclusive was still garnering airplay on every single radio station, he was readying his third album and he was embroiled in a mouth-watering, tongue-wagging relationship with fellow pop superstar Rihanna. He was every young girl's fantasy and the envy of every young man around. Combining slick dance moves, a high-pitched voice and a fashion-forward wardrobe, he was the new successor to the throne left vacant by once teen king Usher.
Then came the Grammys 2009. Rumors surfaced that him and Rihanna had been involved in an accident hours prior to the big ceremony, where both ingenues were slated to perform. The red carpet was abuzz with gossip as to what truly transpired and just hours later, the ugly truth surfaced....Rihanna had apparently been assaulted...by Chris Brown. Mouths dropped, eyes rolled and almost everyone took notice. Domestic violence is not just a music issue - it's an INTERNATIONAL issue. As questions swirled everywhere and anywhere, the public waited for official statements...but NO ONE was prepared for the pictures distributed by TMZ that showed Rihanna looking like she had been mauled for a horrible assailant. Not Chris! It couldn't be! The guy who seemed like the perfect gentleman - respectful, soft spoken and successful. Not Chris! The guy who every girl wanted to be with. Not Chris! The guy who didn't even kiss a girl in his first couple of videos because his mother wouldn't allow it. Indeed it was Chris, and everyone from your mother to Oprah chimed on what had to be done. The music world now seemed divided into pro-Chris and pro-Rihanna sections. Rihanna retreated to Barbados to avoid the paparazzi (come on...they're everywhere RiRi!) and Chris retreated to his home in Virginia. As more and more details were leaked, the situation continued to make Chris look like a monster with an incontrollable temper. He was now a villain in the entertainment business, cast with the likes of OJ Simpson and Ike Turner. As the court case date neared, everyone wondered if Rihanna would stick with Chris.
Hence the entertainment spin started. How could these two budding icons emerge from this mess unscathed? How could they both return to their multi-platinum careers without the issue of violence hanging over their heads? Rihanna has slowly come back to the world. Appearing in Kanye West's video for "Paranoid" was definitely a good look and she is once again popping up at the major glitzy events where fashion designers are awestruck by our awesome body and ever changing hair styles (now she's rocking a traditional mohawk...hmmm).
As for Chris? Well beside his YouTube post with Bow Wow, he's been silent...until now. He's released a new video where he officially apologizes to Rihanna and all the people he let down. The video has been scrutinized, dissected and criticized since it was released...is he genuine? Is he doing this to win female fans back? Is his career really over? Will he do it again? The answer to all of these questions is quite simple: "We don't know."
While I am not one to condone violence against anyone (and I will not get into my beliefs on the whole situation), I have been thinking of ways that Chris could jumpstart his career again. We, as a people, need to stop acting like we haven't embraced celebrities who have made questionable decisions before. Heck, who made Monica Lewinsky's book a best-seller? Who forgave Whitney Houston for her drug-addled years? Who made Elizabeth Taylor an icon, despite her very obvious plays for married men? We, the public, did! So what makes Chris any different? I don't model myself after any entertainers...I enjoy their craft and I admit I am a Chris Brown fan...I have all of his albums and the stuff is good. Yes, he's young...and he made a mistake. But it's not THE biggest mistake. And it is so ironic that his situation is being juxtaposed with Michael Jackson's legacy battle...the King of Pop was ACCUSED of several indiscretions but guess what? We still appreciated his music. Forget his personal life? The man made us JAM!
If I were Chris Brown's people, here's what I would do....
*sit down with Oprah or Barbra Walters - getting grilled by a respected newswoman will definitely allow us to really see how he feels about the whole thing
*come back slow - maybe feature on someone else's record...his stint on David Banner's "Stuntin Is A Habit" thrilled everyone...a similar move could definitely help
*after the interview, let this mess go. Don't discuss it. It's over. Judgements have been made. You were wrong. Move on.
Some people may say become the spokesman for domestic abuse...uhhh...that might be a tad bit too much. He doesn't want to be labelled the "Rihanna beater" for the rest of his life.
I say give the guy a chance! I may be in the minority...which I doubt because I've spoken to a TON of people who are not necessarily 100% siding with Rihanna, but I still think his best years are ahead of him. He may never reach MJ status (and the guy was definitely mapping out a career to be our next big King of Pop) but he can definitely continue to battle the likes of Usher, Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo and all of the other R&B/pop princes.