I've Seen Chris Brown Dance, And I Totally Get It Now

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. TC mark

image – Shutterstock


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  • lefty

    What an original position to take on this issue… *yawn*

    • Alexandria Adair

      When what we’re talking about is the inexcusability of domestic violence, just how much “originality” do you want in the debate? …

    • Owlton McGee

      Really, kid? “I was against violence against women BEFORE it was cool.” Fuck you, dude.

    • Anonymous

      what an original comment to this original position. *YAWN AGAIN*

    • http://twitter.com/shoshkabob Shosh

      Do share what you’d call an “original” position on an issue of domestic violence. 

    • lefty

      Just seems to be “trendy” to hate on Chris Brown right now. It gets old hearing about it over and over. This is all just my opinion of course, by all means, you should have yours as well. I guess. If you have to.

      • Michaelwg

        It’s deuchey to comment on your own comment. You are, in essence, talking to yourself. What’s “trendy” is ragging on someone blog as if you are superior ultra-human being. So, shhh, quiet.

      • Sarah

        Yeah condemning domestic violence is soooo boring, I’m so sick of people people like, just hating on the idea of committing a horrendous act of violence on another person just because it’s the trendy thing to do. I mean God, have you seen him do back flips?

        Awesome, now I get to use the this is satire tag.

  • Date by Numbers

    I laughed, and then I immediately felt worried for how many people were going to chastise you.

  • Zara

    he still beat up his girlfriend, he seems like a total dickhead to me. His music sucks anyway and millions of people are good at dancing, nothing special about him

    • lefty

      sooooo wait, did you read this piece?

    • biteme

      Do you understand the concept of satire at all?

      • Zara

        its hard to understand sarcasm via writing ok jeez, i get it now…

      • http://profiles.google.com/speedracerx808 Ryan Takahashi

        Poe’s Law, it never fails.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christa-Gibson/845020320 Christa Gibson

    Tell em! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/amandacwood Amanda Wood

    I sincerely hope everyone understands the fantastic sarcasm in this post. If you need to Google what sarcasm means don’t read this article. Great post, thank you.

  • renata

    ewwww i just lost 3 minutes of my life 

  • http://newhandsweepstakes.com/contributors/brian-mcelmurry/ Brian M

    Pitt Bull likes him

  • Brandon h

    I thought it was serious at first. By the end the intent was clear. Good Job.

    Woe to you who only read halfway through and decided to express your rage.

  • Emallthetime

    This is overkill, if you want to address the very real issues of domestic violence it should never be as a joke, the bottom line is that the justice system let him off for beating up his girl friend address that, not the grammy’s they aren’t a governing body for society and they promote and support all kinds of crazy stuff. America is stock full of morally repugnant entertainers who get away with everything. This was written in poor form.

    • Elena

      This was pretty clearly a satire.  And if you still object while cognizant of that (not sure from your post whether you had indeed recognized it), satire is actually one of the better ways to attract attention to very serious issues.  Look up “A Modest Proposal,” by Jonathan Swift, and you’ll see what I mean.

      • future gopher

        That shit was from close to 300 years ago.  The world is probably a little different now.  

      • J.

        Sarcasm is soooooo 18th century. 

  • Sixlove3

    Wow what an idiot, lmbo, for that is just what Chris Brown is doing, laughing his but off all the way to the bank.  Come on dude are you serious with this article. He did more than a backflip, he is a very talented and gifted young man who deserves a second chance.  What Chris Brown did more than two years ago was wrong and sinful, but who are you to continue to judge and condemn him.  Sin is sin and no sin is greater or less than the next.  Therefore, if our father forgives us for our sins daily, who’s to say God has not forgiven Chris for his.  Move on and get a life and by all means get Jesus!  Be blessed!  

    • cumticocalico

      Since, you know, God and society are one and the same and society possesses the magnanimous grace of a deity.

    • Michaelwg

      No sin is greater or less than the next? Are you for real? So if Chris Brown ate a baby, but because he’s “Talented” we should for give the eating of said baby?
      Even the baby thinks you’re a deuche…

    • Anonymous

      This is the dumbest response to this article that I will probably read tonight

    • Wow.

      You are pathetic. Also, you are probably no older than 15 years old.

  • http://twitter.com/jessgrahamcrckr Jessica Graham

    Well written and beautifully sarcastic. I completely approve of this entire post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TomSmizzle Tom Smith

    hahaha, I love the “THIS IS SATIRE” tag.

  • Anonymous

    This is the best satire I have read on TC for loooooong, well done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/iammrself Nik Fury

    I guess if Brown were sharing his bed with little boys, then the hammer would fall? Ironic to me how we praise one guy for his dancing skill when the guy who inspired him to dance that way never could catch a break. And he was the KING of pop. Chris Brown is just an entertainer, not a legend. Personally, I don’t think people care about Rihanna enough to hang this dude out to dry. If it were say Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, then I’m sure everyone would be upset.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen Josh Gondelman write, and I totally get it now.

  • http://www.goradde.com Goradde

    i prefer milk.

  • kait

    thank you

  • Anonymous

    drop it already… I’m getting sick of people who keep bringing up his past.. if you’re so concerned of beat up battered women then go help out and volunteer at the domestic violence shelter. I’m not a fan of Chris Brown but I do think he’s talented. So what now? is he suppose to never show his talent again to the world because of what happened in the past? then that should apply to all men who beat up women.. those with a regular 9-5 job who have beat up their wives and girlfriends should never be allowed to work again nor breathe in this world.

    Yes… a man should never put his hands on a woman.. but I also believe a woman should never put her hands on a man too. Come on.. obviously Rihanna is no angel… long before the whole fight with Chris Brown she has mentioned in an interview before that once she got into a fight with her brother and smashed a glass into her own brother’s face. She ain’t no chick you can just beat up easily. I’m sure she probably did throw punches to Chris in the car that night.. and for all of you lame ass who’s going to say “well even if a woman hits you you shouldn’t hit back bullcrap” imagine your girlfriend punching you in the face what the hell would you do? if one day I have a son.. I will definitely teach him to never put his hands on a woman… but if a woman violently attacks my son.. then no doubt.. he better beat her ass. Well.. say whatever you want… I’m sure there will come a day in Rihanna’s next relationship with other men where we’re going to hear another case like this.. the woman has issues. Diss Chris Brown all you want.. the man has talent… making millions and trying to move on with his life while you are still here focusing on old news which happened in 2009… wow… yeah.. you’re a better human being than Chris Brown.

    • ashlyn

      Victim blaming. 

      • Anonymous

        more like  “playing the victim” blaming.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003197905700 Alix Harvey

        Women who think like you make me mad beyond belief.

      • Anonymous

        yeah.. and women like you who think it’s alright to smash a glass into her own brother’s face and violently hit a guy without expecting to be hit back makes me mad beyond belief.

      • Melissa

        oh you are so, so disturbing.

      • LitNit

        Yes, Chica, that’s exactly what she said. And you know what? Your cousin should never have laid a hand on that woman, vile as she might have been. He should have extracted himself from the situation well before that. And since he didn’t? He was wrong to hit her, push her, slap her. There’s no moral high ground for him to stand on there. You are taking an incident from Rhianna’s childhood and saying that it justifies abuse at the hands of her significant other? You know what? My sister and I got in some very violent fights as kids. But we grew out of it. You don’t know how she’s grown (or not grown) as a human being. 

      • Melissa

        oh you are so disturbing.

    • Joshgondelman

      If a famous and talented person commits a crime, then he should probably fulfill his punishment for the crime and show that he is remorseful and committed to changing.

      Everyone deserves a second chance, but I’m suggesting that maybe I’ll be ready to give that second chance once his probation is done and he’s done some sort of public anti domestic abuse outreach.

      Also, even if Rihanna did hit him, he is basically a professional athlete and and adult person. He can remove himself from the situation without viciously beating her face. He has every right to not be hit as well.

      It’s a big deal because it’s a chance for people to become aware of the abuse going on from CEO’s and folks with 9-5 jobs, but instead people are sweeping it under the rug and saying because Chris Brown is talented, he should get a free pass.

      No, I don’t volunteer at a woman’s shelter. I’m a writer, so I write about it.

      I’ve never said Chris Brown doesn’t have talent, isn’t rich, or doesn’t want to put his legal troubles behind him. I’d just like him to use those talents and money to work towards making the future better rather than bullying people into forgetting the past.

      • Joshgondelman

        I could also volunteer, and maybe I will in the future. But it’s a ridiculous argument to say that’s the only way to help.

      • Anonymous

        Well.. good for you if you want to volunteer… I applaud you (and no I’m not being sarcastic) my problem with this whole thing is everyone is out to get Chris Brown and Chris Brown ONLY. There are many male celebrities who have been involved in assault/domestic violence yet nobody says anything about it… but would raise such a commotion with Chris Brown as if he’s the only male celebrity human being on this earth who has punched a woman.

        So what if he experienced such a groundswell of support around the Grammys? So did Glen Campbell the audience also gave him a standing ovation. May I remind you that he too at one point was known to beat up his then girlfriend Tanya Tucker she even wrote a book about it.. but of course.. nobody is going to make a big deal about Glen Campbell because he’s an old WHITE country music star. It’s easier to lynch Chris because he’s BLACK.

        I personally have known a few guys who were assaulted by their girlfriends.. a close male cousin of mine had a very violent girlfriend. Physical wise my cousin is bigger than her.. he’s well built and an athlete. For 4 years everytime they get into an argument she would punch, slap, scratch and do whatever she can to hurt him… he never fought back. One day they got into an argument at a party she started punching him he couldn’t take it anymore slapped her and pushed her away she tripped and fell down the stairs . I was there with several of my girlfriends and tried to help her up and separate her from my cousin while he tried to walk away to cool down it didn’t stop her.. she continued to run after him, punched him and once again my cousin snapped punched her and pushed her away. She eventually played the victim role.. went to the police and accused my cousin of domestic violence… when  in fact it was only that one night at the party where he finally fought back after all these years of her assaulting him. Yeah… it’s EASY to say that even if Rihanna did hit him, Chris can remove himself from the situation
        without viciously beating her face… he has every right to not be hit as
        well. IF you were in the same situation you wouldn’t be saying that.

        I’m not saying that Chris should be given a free pass because of his talent but he has fulfilled his punishment…  but of course for those who keep wanting to remember the past… whatever he does is NEVER enough.. and even if he wants to continue with his talents that’s still wrong. Rihanna forgave him.. so get off his nuts.. if you want to get on this Domestic Violence bandwagon then at least be fair and start writing about all celebrities who have been guilty of this then you can raise more awareness. Chris Brown is NOT THE ONLY ONE.

      • Anonymous

        Come on! People aren’t treating Chris Brown differently only because he’s Black. I think that Chris is talented (and cutee) and it’s a shame that his career has been sidetracked but boo hoo! That’s the price that he has had to pay for assaulting someone. 
        He didn’t help himself by acting like a moron after the event and getting angry whenever asked about it, he started to act like HE was the victim of the situation. Remember, he could’ve KILLED Rihanna. If some guy did that to your sister or someone that you loved, you’d probably want him to be up on an attempted manslaughter charge! ‘he’s NOT THE ONLY ONE’ is the dumbest reasoning ever. SO? Should we let every murderer or rapist out of prison if they say sorry because well, they’re not the first and they wont be the last? Get a bloody grip. Yes, everyone does deserve a second chance but he’ll have to continue to earn it just like anyone else would. I think he deserved his Grammy but does he deserve total forgiveness yet? That’s for people to decide for themselves.

      • Anonymous

        A lot of people apparently are getting their panties and boxers in a bunch over Chris Brown appearance at the Grammy… pretty much implying that since he has beat up a woman he should never show himself to the world again nor should he perform again nor should he even breathe and live on this earth.  Also, that  he did not deserved to receive the support from people at the Grammy. We keep constantly getting reminded that yes… Chris Brown got a Grammy… but don’t forget he beat up a woman.. don’t forgive him yet folks… don’t give him a free pass because he’s talented… YET the same people NEVER mentioned Glen Campbell who is a HUGE  country music star had a big standing ovation from the audience during the Grammy award that same night but NOBODY mentioned his abusive past that he used to beat up his then 
        girlfriend Tanya Tucker. To me.. that sounded like well… Glen Campbell is an old white man… let’s forget that he used to beat a woman too just like Chris.. he deserves that Grammy and standing ovation…. he constantly abused his girlfriend broke her jaw and teeth when he punched her.. but it’s alright he’s white and a country star… let it go… but that black guy Chris Brown.. yeah let’s keep talking about him.. I’m never going to let him off the hook.

        NO I NEVER SAID that we should let every
        murderer or rapist out of prison but if the law let them off easy who do we blame? the murderer or the court’s verdict? and if the victim forgives the murderer should we blame the victim?

        If the writer is concerned about the topic of domestic violence and wants to create some sort of awareness then why is he lynching ONLY Chris Brown and ignoring other people/celebrity who has committed the same assault?

        Yes… he will have to continue to earn his second chance.. but whatever he does won’t be good enough ever… any step that he takes to move on with his life people will never see it and will constantly try to punish him as if he’s the only person on earth who has committed assault. Even if he was on death row… people will say he doesn’t deserve total forgiveness yet while an old white man like Glen Campbell who’s still alive can be forgiven… get a Grammy and nobody makes a big deal about it.

      • Joshgondelman

        I think that race probably plays a factor, sure.

        But, I think you have to pick a side, here. You can’t say: “Why are we letting Glen Campbell off the hook but persecuting Chris Brown? Glen Campbell was a bad guy, too.”
        It’s either: “Time has passed and we have to forgive Chris Brown the way we forgave Glen Campbell.” Or. “Screw Glen Campbell AND Chris Brown.”

        Plus, you’re tagging “white” as the key word in “old white man.” I think another important word there is “old.” It’s been 20ish years. And, people still refused to stand as part of that ovation. It’s not like everyone has forgiven him. So, maybe you’re not willing to forgive Glen Campbell. I totally support you in that.

        I wrote about Chris Brown because no 15 year old girls are tweeting things like: “Glen Campbell could knock my teeth out any day! He’s so hotttttt!” That makes me really sad to see.

        That’s why, to me, Chris Brown is the bigger story.

      • Anonymous

        ahhh.. I see… so it is about race… I thought so.  You want the public to be aware of domestic abuse and say that you’re a writer so you write about it but the reality is you don’t give a shit about domestic violence. Well… you do care… only if it’s a black guy doing it. Typical white person response. Let’s just hope that your sister, future daughter or any female blood related to you doesn’t fall in love and marry a black guy or any other non-white person.

        I saw some of your stand up videos just to get some sort of  idea of you as a person from the topics you talked about live on stage. Seeing that the only people who laughed at your jokes were predominantly white folks I’m sure you’ll have a long successful career as a comedian and will have global international worldwide following like Russell Peters.

      • Joshgondelman

        Wait, hold on.

        When I said part of this was about race, I meant the public’s jumping on Chris Brown over Glen Campbell. I was agreeing with you. Not declaring myself to be an overtly racist person. I think that the public outcry against Chris Brown is partly racially motivated. He’s young and black and rich, and people who hit those three check-marks face a lot of scrutiny in this country, often unjustly.

        That said. I still think he’s not a great guy. And that’s based on the content of his character, not the color of his skin.

        I don’t appreciate your projecting large-scale virulent racism onto me. In fact, your “typical white guy response” comment is far more incendiary, racially speaking than anything I’ve said. I would love for my sister to marry a person of any race. But if a man of any race put his hands on her, you can bet that I’d be furious and not forgive him in three years or want to celebrate his career successes.

        In terms of my standup videos, there are somewhere between zero and one videos online that show the audience I’m performing for. That sample size is small and not representative of all the audiences I perform in front of.

        I’ve tried really hard to have a reasonable discussion with you, but now you’re making personal attacks.

        I don’t know if I will have as fruitful a career as Russell Peters, but here’s hoping!

        Please consider that you are defending a convicted felon right now against someone who has only (and is only continuing) to be polite and reasonable with you. Even after you accused him (me) of some pretty vile things. Please think about that for a while before you tell me who I am and what my opinions are next time. Thanks.

        Once again, thanks for reading!

      • Alskf

         Hey I think you should turn your comments into the next Great American Novel, because that’s about how fucking long they are.

      • Melissa

        not only fucking long but fucking STOOPID.

      • Anonymous

        yeah.. you don’t give a shit but comment anyway LOL! :D

      • Man tits

        Obviously a Chris Brown.

      • Anonymous

        Only idiots like you try to change the subjects on how long my comments are instead of focusing on the real issue.

  • Guy

    After seeing the title, I am so glad this was satirical. Absolutely true and fantastic.

  • ojake

    Not sure if the best way to punish Chris Brown is to attack him (however hilariously) or just ignore him. Celebrity is a function of publicity, and the guy gets more of that free for what he did to Rihanna than for what he does on stage or in the recording booth. If you think he should disappear, don’t buy his albums, don’t watch his performances, and don’t write about him, even if no one should be afraid to give domestic abuse the attention it deserves. Condemn it, quietly and democratically punish the guy dollar-wise, and then let him go away forever.

    • Joshgondelman

      I gave that a lot of thought. I rarely right about things/people that I hate, because I don’t want to perpetuate their popularity. On the other hand, I think Chris Brown’s popularity is not abating, and doesn’t seem like it’s going to run it’s course anytime soon. Of course I don’t spend money on his music or his concerts, but I felt that he experienced such a groundswell of support around the Grammys that I had to say something. Because, sincerely, I don’t care that he’s in the spotlight if it’s for the purposes of furthering the public’s awareness of domestic abuse.

      Thanks for reading and commenting thoughtfully!

      • Halima

        Josh Gondelman, I love your writing. But seriously, it’s write, not right. Yay! I got to correct you. And also, reading this article totally made me get the god that is Chris Brown. I believe this is what every person who worships him thinks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003197905700 Alix Harvey

    I am amazed by the amount of ignorance I have seen on the internet it only ONE comment thread. good job with the victim blaming or not understanding satire dudes.

  • Melissa

    good work, josh gondelman. true, disturbing, and very funny in certain places.

  • Anonymous

    Josh – this is very poignant. Thank you for writing this. There is actually a very, very interesting monologue written in Eve Ensler’s “I Am An Emotional Creature” that came out 2 years ago. It discusses this phenomena of punishment, love, forgiveness and self-worth. I wish more girls and women would have read that book before proclaiming to the world, and supporting the notion that punishment and love go hand in hand.

    On a different note, one thing I actually enjoy and admire about the industry is that recording artists like Kanye or Akon or TI actually come out and give a legitimate apology, while Chris Brown has not. I think this dialogue is as much about what we as a collective people believe justice should be and how we correct social behaviors.

    It would be really great if everyone were super loving all the time and when people F*d up, we just forgave them without asking for an apology or rehabilitation. Unfortunately, the way our society is constructed does not leave room for that. Inappropriate and hurtful behavior is not acceptable – and as a collective people we are forced to correct social behaviors by asking that penance or some sort of atonement takes place.

    I think you’re right in your comment about Campbell. We as a collective people have to decide together whether a thing is wrong or it is right, and whether the appropriate punishment has taken place.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

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