Yesterday New York magazine’s Vulture blog had a post explaining singer Chris Brown’s comeback after he assaulted ex-girlfriend Rihanna nearly two years ago. Brown has had a slew of chart-topping songs in the past year. Vulture writer Amos Barshad noted that Chris Brown never really apologized in any profound or sincere way for abusing Rihanna, and that perversely helped his public image: “Counterintuitively, the less Brown tried to nail an apology, and the more he focused on reclaiming his former persona-basically, a ruthless pop-star cad, aggressively seducing and cycling through women-the better off he was in the public eye.”
With that in mind, let’s look at Brown’s meltdown on this morning’s Good Morning America . Robin Roberts asked him a few relatively mild questions about his domestic violence charges, and about how the restraining order Rihanna filed against him has recently been loosened. Brown basically dodges the questions-he offers some platitudes about positivity and moving on, but you can see the anger in his glistening eyes . Afterwards, Brown reportedly screamed his head off at the GMA studios and broke a window in rage.
Basically, Chris Brown is already imprinted in the national imagination as a violent jerk, and, as Barshad pointed out, embracing this narrative has served him well. If you look in the comments of this TMZ post about Brown , there are as many Brown supporters as there are Brown deriders. Here’s a typical comment defending Brown: “I THINK ROBIN ROBERTS IS SUCH A *** FOR GOING THERE, THEY NEED TO STOP TRYING TO PUT HIM DONT MOVE ON. EVERY BODY DESERVE A SECOND CHANCE. THERE IS SO MANY MEN OUT THERE THAT IS A REAL DAM ABUSER AND THEY PRESSURING THEM LET THEM LEAVE CHRIS BROWN ALONE!!” And so on.
If Charlie Sheen’s continuing popularity has taught us anything (ratings for Two and a Half Men went up after his Plaza Hotel hijinks in November, and a proposed one-man show may net him $7 million ), it’s possible this outburst will not hurt Chris Brown. In fact, it might make his new album F.A.M.E . sell even more copies. Of course, this is pathetic-what has to happen for Americans to take the casual violence of these stars seriously?