Heading into last Sunday night’s Grammy Awards ceremony, I was pretty skeptical of Chris Brown. His arrest and conviction for brutally assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna caused me to lose interest in his career. I didn’t understand the outpouring of support for Brown that came from “Team Breezy,” his steadfast fan base. It seemed clear to me. We shouldn’t be celebrating this guy. He’s a loathsome person. But then it all changed. Last Sunday night on the Grammys, I saw Chris Brown dance, and I totally get it now.
Watching Brown’s agility as he navigated the stage, I realized that he was a uniquely talented individual. He moved fluidly yet powerfully, always in full control of every muscle. Each of his movements unfolded like a brush stroke from a virtuoso painter. Every isolated kick of the leg or tilt of the head conveyed meaning and purpose. I imagine that even as he repeatedly beat Rihanna about the head with his fists, she felt breathless from not only the excruciating physical pressure on her body, but also the mesmerizing display of athletic prowess. I can only imagine the staff of Good Morning America felt the same last March when Brown pitched a fit and hurled a chair through a window. As much as the onlookers must have felt anxiety and fear, those feelings were probably tempered with awe at the grace and musculature of the young star.
How could the cast of GMA have dared to question Breezy about the domestic abuse incident of 2009? That’s old news. Didn’t they see his YouTube apology to his fans? Hadn’t they heard that he was sentenced to five years of probation almost two years ago? In my book, when someone serves nearly forty percent of his legal punishment for a felony assault charge, he has paid his debt to society. The Grammys get it. Get on board, the public! If those bat-person backup dancers can forgive him, you should too!
Remember when Michael Vick went to prison for his involvement with a dogfighting ring? And after he spent twenty-one months in jail and two months under house arrest, he began to rehabilitate his image and his football skills in an effort to rejoin society? This is just like that, except instead of dogs, it’s a lady, and we’re cutting down that boooooring lag time and demand for remorse. We’re jumping right to the fun stuff like backflips. Who in their right mind doesn’t love backflips??? And who am I to judge someone who can do backflips?
Look, a lot of people looked down on Breezy for those pictures of him riding a jet ski that were taken a month after the assault on Rihanna. But he had a lot of thinking to do. And you need to go somewhere peaceful to really contemplate life’s big questions. We can all agree on that, right? Well, jerks, what on earth is more relaxing than jet skiing across smooth, clear water? Chris Brown needed some time apart to reflect on his life choices. Yes, he was flexing in several of those pictures. That’s his thinking pose. It’s a mind/ body thing. Very yogic. Chris Brown is not a Rodin sculpture, he’s a flesh and blood man. A man who decided that after a two-minute video apology, he had no need for any kind of publicly acknowledged anger management counseling or domestic violence training. And, as we all know, decisions reached on a jet ski are the most rational, levelheaded choices we make.
Don’t you understand? We need Chris Brown. Once you hear his sweet, autotuned voice, no other nearly identically autotuned voice will do! Once you see his precise, graceful choreography, you instantly forget the earlier dancers whose work it is derivative of. When his album F.A.M.E. debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts last March, outselling Jennifer Hudson’s #2 I Remember Me by more than 100,000 units, it was like: “Look! All this guy does is beat women! Can you blame him for not being able to tell the difference between dominating the pop charts, and repeatedly putting his actual, physical hands on the face of a woman he purportedly loved to the point that she required medical attention?” Come on, people. He’s just an adult man with no reported cognitive processing disorders. Cut him some slack.
A few isolated outbursts of rage and violence are a small price to pay for all the joy Chris Brown brings. In fact, his dancing is so incredible, that there is little I wouldn’t excuse. As far as I’m concerned, he could beat up every one of his female fans individually, as long as he wrote a hit song about each one. He could set fire to a hospital if he did an awesome music video in front of the flames. Chris Brown could eat a human baby live on television after announcing he was joining the Miami Heat, and if he popped and locked continuously while choking down the tender infant’s flesh, I would have literally no qualms with it.
I mean, did you see his Grammy performance? Such poise. Such skill. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the well-deserved ovation he received actually roused my grandmother from the grave. I also wouldn’t be surprised if she tried to look at his text messages, and then he beat her back to death.
And she would have deserved it, because, seriously, that guy can do a backflip.