Since Chris Brown’s performance on the BET Awards last night, many fans, critics, and the media are talking about whether Chris Brown’s performance was sincere or if he has learned from the violence he assaulted Rihanna with previously (watch coverage on ABC). NO ONE can know that answer! Yes, no one – not even Chris Brown can answer yet whether he will or will not assault another person in the future.
The track record of abusers is often to go through long periods of not acting out violently and then suddenly erupting at a given moment or day. None of us will know if that will happen or not in this case.
If you want to judge last night’s performance, judge the performance – NOT whether a person who has acted violently has “moved on” or “learned from his mistakes” or was a “form of redemption.”
Last year, I was at the concert of Stevie Wonder in Wisconsin on the same the night of the BET Awards in Atlanta (from all reports, Stevie Wonder wanted to be with the rest of the music industry at the BET Awards). This was only a few days after the death of Michael Jackson. Yet, Stevie Wonder did a SPECTACULAR job of honoring his friend throughout the concert in Wisconsin (all without endorsing or ignoring Michael Jackson’s faults). You can honor artistic genius while acknowledging human faults. Too often, people in our society seem to be all or nothing. Take Chris Brown last night: suddenly according to many people he has “learned from his mistakes” because he put on a fantastic, emotional performance? A clear wanting of people to jump “All or Nothing” (the flawed notion that if you are a great performer, you must have fixed your faults).
A couple of questions:
1. If you believe one performance (such as last night’s BET show) can redeem a person who committed domestic violence, should BET have given Chris Brown the opportunity to honor Michael Jackson and potentially REDEEM himself so soon after the assault on Rihanna? And yes “1-3 Years” is SOON when addressing domestic violence. Personally, I don’t believe ANY number of artistic performances is what proves redemption or learning from one’s mistakes. Many people appear to disagree with me on this one and so if you are going to disagree, I would like to know your answer to the question I’ve posed a few sentences before.
2. On a very different note, why is the media giving so much attention to the fact Chris Brown CRIED? A man crying should be considered normal and a natural reaction to emotions (the same for all genders). Sharing he cried is one level of news coverage and leading with CHRIS BROWN CRIES in the titles of articles is putting the moment at a very different level of media attention. The ABC reporter questioned why Chris Brown didn’t leave stage while crying. Why should he? We should be able to see a man cry in public.