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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Bad Vibe - Chris Brown's Comeback
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

All Chris Brown wants is a second chance.

He’s read his apologies, tweeted about his community service, and hasn’t beaten a woman in almost ten months. The second chance he’s looking for, however, isn’t just at being a normal member of society. Brown doesn’t want to be a regular person, working a 9-5. He wants the fame again. He wants the limelight. He wants a second chance to be Chris Brown, the guy people talked about as the second coming of Usher. The guy who was on his way to being one of the kings of both R&B and pop music.

Brown would love it if we could all just ignore that whole history of violence against Rihanna thing and once again focus on his ability to sing and dance. He’s releasing an album, Graffiti, on December 8th; can’t we just focus on that? Oh, and ladies, he also still wants you to look at his toned body, just don’t think about the way he used those muscles against your favorite Good Girl Gone Bad.

He committed the crime of domestic abuse, but to hear a lot of people talk about it, it’s just a bump in the road for him (and a bump on the cheek, eye and forehead for Rihanna). Everyone deserves a second chance, right?

Well, I can agree that when someone who has committed a crime pays their debt to society, they, no matter how much we may have disagreed with, or been disgusted by, their actions, deserve the opportunity to attempt to live their lives and be a part of society again. Being famous, however, is something that I feel shouldn’t be a part of the equation. Fame is a privilege and privileges like that should be lost due to one’s actions.

I’m not saying Brown has to live the rest of his life as a shut-in, stuffing envelopes for a living, but once a person has done something like beat their girlfriend repeatedly, the spotlight should be permanently shifted away from them. There are literally thousands of other jobs out there and Brown also has the kind of bank account where he could simply go to college and get an education. At that point he could even make a return to the music industry in some other role.

Being a famous recording artist isn’t a God given right, and once you screw up as tremendously as Brown has there should be some real repercussions. My feelings on this, however, seem to be in the minority as Brown has already been accepted back into the good graces of the industry by many of his peers; just check the guest list on Graffiti. Lil’ Wayne, Swizz Beatz, Plies, Tank, Trey Songz, The Game and even a female singer, Eva Simons, are all featured on it, all ready to forgive and forget.

Should we attach the stigma of supporting domestic violence to these artists? Are we strong enough to look the other way from some of our favorite emcees and singers if they’re willing to look the other way at Brown’s crimes and record with him right after he committed them? It’s not like Brown is a fully healed man who has gone through years of therapy, he just took a couple months off to lay low hoping things would blow over. He even just recently commented that he felt Rihanna shouldn’t be talking about the abuse, saying it “should remain a private matter between us.”

I wasn’t alive back when it was revealed that Ike Turner was beating Tina, but last time I checked, those actions made him a pariah. Not only could he not release a guest filled album less than a year after they split, which happened in 1976, it would be over twenty years before he would regain his name in the industry, and he wouldn’t see the limelight again until 2001 when he was nominated for a Grammy. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be; you do a crime of that nature and the public is supposed to shun you. You’re not supposed to be able to read an apology someone else wrote for you, wrinkle your brow, and have everyone say “aw, I guess he’s an OK guy.”

There are hundreds of fantastic singers out there that could easily take Brown’s place. Singers that have never beaten up their girlfriends. Instead, we have Brown back on stage in the same calendar year that he committed his crime, currently living it up on his 19 city “Fan Appreciation” tour. The fact that he has any fans left is a sad reflection of the kind of actions people will accept from someone as long as that someone can sing well and knows how to smile for the cameras. Brown has even already found the first cameras to smile for, they belong to Vibe magazine, which will be featuring him as their cover boy for their relaunch in December.

It looks like Chris Brown will get his second chance at fame. Just don’t expect me to get excited about it.

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.

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