The long shadow over Chris Brown's Grammy win
Chris Brown gave two spirited performance at the Grammys, but was his extended stage time too much? (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)
The Grammy Awards are three days in the past, but the Twitter-verse still has Chris Brown on its collective mind. The performer, who was convicted of a February 2009 assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna, was welcomed back to the awards gala with open arms. He won a Grammy for best R&B album for F.A.M.E. and was given two performances slots by organizers.
That kind of exposure, in front of 40 million viewers, was too much for many people concerned about violence against women. Country singer Miranda Lambert is among the celebrities chiming in. She tweeted: "He beat on a girl...not cool that we act like that didn't happen." She also suggested Brown listen to her song Gunpowder and Lead , which is about avenging domestic violence.
Lambert is just one of myriad social media users -- regular folks, celebs, media -- debating Brown's high-profile appearance at the Grammys. Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic tweeted: "I don't look for the Grammys for moral clarity, but, really? Do the words 'felony assault' mean anything at all?" Others, including Brown's Team Breezy fanbase, are defending their favourite singer-dancer.
Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich also defended Brown's appearance on the telecast. On Monday, he said he was "kind of rooting" for the young star. "I just believe people deserve a second chance."
Of course they do.
Brown offered a moment of contrition in his gracious acceptance speech, thanking God and his fans, and put on two high-energy performances of Turn Up the Music/Beautiful People and I Can Only Imagine with Dave Guetta.
However, when the critical tweets began to flow, suddenly the guy who threw a tantrum after a Good Morning America interview in 2011 -- as he struggled to overcome the shadow of the abusive incident -- was back.
"Strange how we pick and choose who to hate!" he began on his Twitter feed on Tuesday. "Let me ask u this. Our society is full of rappers (which I listen to) who have sold drugs (poisoning). ... But yet we glorify them and imitate everything they do. Then right before the worlds eyes a man shows how he can make a Big mistake and learn from it, but still has to deal with day to day hatred! You guys love to hate!!! But guess what???" he continued. "Hate All U Want Becuz I Got A Grammy Now! That's the ultimate F*** OFF!."
His tweets were quickly taken down, but not before they had been captured and shared online.
A concerted campaign to rehabilitate Brown over the last few years is easily overturned by such flashes of temper. Rather than play the victim, better to do as Kanye West does in the song All the Lights and address the personal loss that comes with domestic violence and abuse. Perhaps Brown can find a way to sing powerfully about love and the male ego in songs without violent imagery and actually do something positive for both the music industry and millions of young, female music fans.
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