Chris Brown is problematic, and it’s time for Black women to stop uplifting him
OPINION: Many people believe the 2009 assault of singer Rihanna is his only offense, but it’s not. He has a track record of being abusive toward women and others — including his own mother.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Chloe Bailey — one half of the singing sister duo Chloe x Halle — and woman-beating, backflipping R&B singer Chris Brown dropped a new video Friday for a duet they recorded together called “How Does It Feel.” Have you heard the song or watched the video?
I have done neither. I saw a small snippet of the video that Chloe posted to her official Twitter feed, but I am as unmoved now as I was when she announced the song was coming a week ago.
That announcement, which she made on Twitter, caused her to go viral on the social network, with many people — especially Black women — questioning why she would do a song with Chris Brown.
“Usher was right there,” many people lamented, confused by her choice in singing partners. The new song reportedly includes an Usher sample, leaving people even more confused as to why Bailey would choose Brown over the beloved Mr. Raymond.
In her defense, Chloe is young, and her solo career is really just getting started. It is no surprise that she would want to make music with a high-profile artist, but why was Brown the choice in this instance?
Bailey is also not the only Black woman to either actively or passively uplift the problematic Brown.
Kelly Rowland famously went viral late last year when she came to Brown’s defense after the American Music Awards ceremony where she accepted an award on Brown’s behalf and received boos from the crowd in response.
“I believe that grace is very real, and we all need a dose of it, and before we point fingers at anybody, we should realize how grateful we are for every moment we get,” Rowland said at the time. “We all need to be forgiven for anything that we could be doing — we all come up short in some sort of way. Grace is real, and we are humans, and everybody deserves grace, period.”
The word “grace” is doing a lot in Rowland’s statement as it pertains to Brown. We usually give grace to people who have transgressed but then made obvious strides to be better. Brown has done none of that.
Since the 2009 incident in which he assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna — an incident to which he pleaded guilty and received a felony conviction — Brown has remained an unapologetic jerk on all fronts. Last month, People magazine published a timeline of all his legal troubles since the 2009 conviction, and the list is long and full of examples of Brown being unable to control his temper and keep his hands to himself.
The 33-year-old is obviously very troubled and would likely benefit from long-term professional help, but what is not helping is all the people enabling him — most especially Black women.
We don’t know whether or not Chloe Bailey had a strong enough voice in the decision-making process that went into the choice to use him on her new song, but anyone involved with her and her career should recognize how problematic he is as a choice, especially considering the immediate backlash she received on social media after announcing the collaboration.
And while at 24 she may still be too young to understand the gravity of what it means to have him on a song with her, so many other grown-ass women defend Brown on a daily basis, and enough is enough.
If you search his name on Twitter, you will see Black women of all ages defending him to one degree or another, and it is always disheartening to me because I wonder if these women are simply uninformed and willfully ignorant.
During a stint in rehab 10 years ago, Brown was in a family counseling session with his mother. She said during the session that she believed he needed to remain in treatment for his problems, and Brown became so angered by that, he went outside, picked up a rock and threw it through the window of her car.
Brown was subsequently kicked out of the treatment center for that violent behavior.
And that’s just one incident.
We won’t even get into how Karreuche Tran said Brown continued to stalk and threat her for two full years after their relationship ended — a relationship in which she contends he physically abused her multiple times — reportedly posting comments under her Instagram posts in which he made snide remarks about the new man she was dating and sending her threatening text messages. He even recorded a video in which he said that because he loves her, no one else was going to have her. He was going to make her miserable.
I wrote a lengthy Twitter thread about it at the time:
Tran was awarded a five-year restraining order against Brown.
Making violent threats against others seems to be part of his M.O. If you look at all the cases against him, even cases where the lawsuit was dropped and settled out of court, a common refrain is that Brown makes threats against the lives of his victims.
He is not OK.
He is not OK, and he won’t be OK until he gets a very specific type of long-term help to sort out whatever trauma he has that causes him to act out in this way.
Until then, he continues to be a menace to society as well as himself and anyone around him.
And that’s not anything any Black woman should be uplifting.
Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.
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