Chris Brown is a multi-platinum artist, father, and Grammy Award Winner, whose music has been an R&B staple for nearly two decades now. However, amongst all of that, he is also a serial assaulter and criminal who has been having major legal troubles since 2009. Yes, his music is good and catchy, but I wonder if that is reason enough to continue supporting a musician that has been publicly proven to make terrible choices?
To give background, in 2009, news surfaced that Chris Brown had beat and assaulted his then girlfriend, and fellow award-winning artist, Rhianna, after getting into a public altercation. His public image was then tarnished, and he continued to get involved with the law after pleading guilty to a felony in June of 2009, 4 months after the assault. After being sentenced to community service, 5 years of probation and domestic violence counselling, Brown was denied visas from the UK and Canada after scheduling tours overseas. Since then, he has been involved in many serious public clashes with fans and fellow artists like Drake and Frank Ocean, some of which have left people hospitalized. He has broken probation rules because of fights, possession of weapons, and drug use; been kicked out of multiple rehab facilities that were court appointed; been sued for millions of dollars; and has been served at least two restraining orders from previous partners actress Karrueche Tran and Rhianna, whose he violated by attending the same parties she was at. In total, Brown has been sentenced hundreds of days in jail, but has only served a fraction of the time because of him being able to post bail.
I question then why, after all this information has been released and made easily accessible to the public through a simple google search, Brown’s music career continues to thrive. In 2009, Brown released his third album Graffiti which was a flop in comparison to his previous works, but in 2011, his music bounced back up the charts with his album F.A.M.E. which ended up being his first number 1 on Billboard’s top 200 and is one of his biggest successes to date. This was only 2 years following the assault of Rhianna and the album was released in the midst of even more run ins with the law. F.A.M.E. sold 270,000 copies of the album in the first week of its release. Since then, Brown has had 5 more albums reach the top 5 on nationwide charts, and top 20 in others around the world. His 6 most recent albums have all reached platinum status, and his career seems nearly unaffected by his actions.
Every time Brown has a misstep go viral, he is publicly scrutinized by people from all over, and people petition for him and his music to be “cancelled”. People say that they want to stop supporting his career, and even have criticized other well know celebrities like Ed Sheeran and Kendal Jenner for being a part of his music videos. However, every time Chris Brown releases music, people flock to Spotify, Apple Music, and any other place they get their music, to download his songs in attempt to be one of the first people to hear it. We often times get so distracted by art and good music that we forget the people who are behind it. Is it wrong for us to enjoy good entertainment at the cost of supporting a man who has been shown to disrespect not only the people closest to him, but also his fans and the authorities? I struggle to find a concrete answer to this question.