Troubled R&B star Chris Brown has recently checked himself into a rehabilitation facility in Malibu, Calif. for his anger issues. Atop his already tainted reputation for having a short fuse, stemming from the 2009 beating of then-girlfriend Rihanna, he was recently in an alleged altercation with a fan in Washington, D.C. A fan claimed that Brown punched him in the face after the fan attempted to photo-bomb a picture Brown was taking with another fan. The singer claims that the fan was attempting to enter his tour bus without permission. Brown was charged with a misdemeanor and entered rehab shortly after the incident occurred. So, considering his tainted reputation, the real question is this: is there any redemption in sight for Chris Brown?
The Root of All Evil
Brown grew up in a broken home. He once touched on the abusive environment he was raised around in Giant magazine in August 2007, saying he made a dark promise to his mother that he would go to jail by age 15 for killing his abusive stepfather:
“I just want you to know that I love you,” he told her. “But I’m gonna take a baseball bat one day while you at work, and I’m gonna kill him.” Brown’s parents had separated when he was seven. When his mother remarried, she moved her son and his new stepfather to a trailer park. Then his stepfather shot himself in the head. The shot went straight through the eyes. He survived the suicide attempt but was permanently blinded.
He further explained his fear of his stepfather, and the mix of emotions it raised in him:
“… he used to hit my mom….He made me terrified all the time, terrified like I had to pee on myself. I remember one night he made her nose bleed. I was crying and thinking, ‘I’m just gonna go crazy on him one day…’ I hate him to this day.”
Perhaps he could be harboring some of this anger and releasing it in the wrong ways while innocent people are caught in the crossfire.
Rise to F.A.M.E
When the 16-year-old Brown debuted his hit “Run it,” in 2005 off of his debut album, it topped the Billboard Hot 100, a feat not accomplished by a male artist since Puff Daddy in 1997. From there he had a string of hits and soon found his success continued to grow. He opened for Beyonce, landed a guest appearance on The OC, sang on Jordin Sparks’ single “No Air” and wrote a song for Doublemint gum, called “Forever,” which ended up becoming an international hit. It seemed as though this 16 year-old phenom was on the rise to becoming the next King of Pop. It wasn’t until that fateful night in February 2009, the night of the Grammys that the other shoe finally fell. Chris and then-girlfriend Rihanna were involved in a domestic dispute that left Rihanna with “horrific” injuries, and Chris found himself slapped with two felony charges of assault and making criminal threats. Not surprisingly, his ad campaign with Wrigley was suspended, and at least one radio station refused to play his music. From that point on, he continued on a campaign to attempt to save his career and his image. However, his actions only further cemented the public’s opinion of his rage issues.
A Rap Sheet a Mile Long
In March 2011, in an interview with Billboard, he claimed to be in a positive place, and basically said that he was done apologizing for beating Rihanna.
Later that month, angered by questions about his past, he threw a violent temper tantrum at the New York studios of Good Morning America, reportedly throwing a chair and breaking a window before leaving shirtless and angry.
In February 2012, Brown won a Grammy Award for Best R&B album. After the performance, some female fans tweeted: “Chris Brown can beat me all he wants.”
In January 2013, the singer and his entourage engaged in a fight with Frank Ocean and his entourage at a recording studio over…get this…a parking spot. A man named Sha’Keir Duarte, Frank Ocean’s cousin, claims he was injured in the altercation and sued Brown for assault and battery. Brown is now counter-suing the man claiming that he attempted to avoid the confrontation “with the aggressive and hostile Mr. Duarte.”
In June 2013, Brown found himself in a feud with rapper Drake, reportedly over Rihanna that ended with innocent people getting injured and lawsuits being filed. Reportedly the two were partying at W.i.P. nightclub in Manhattan when rude messages and bottles of alcohol were exchanged back and forth. Thing got really heated when it was suggested that Drake had slept with Rihanna. The heated exchanges lead to a glass-shattering fight that left Chris, Drake, bodyguards, fellow club-goers and basketball player Tony Parker injured, and the restaurant in shambles.
Turning over a new leaf?
With an extensive rap sheet, a handful of legal woes and a reputation for violent outbursts of anger, his recent altercation in Washington was seemingly the breaking point for Brown. Hopefully his stint in rehab can be his wake-up call. Personally, I was once one of his biggest fans, and I always kind of held a candle for him to turn over a new leaf. However, over the years I have seen the flame slowly flicker, and my faith in him dwindle. If he is found guilty of misdemeanor assault, stemming from the incident in Washington, it would be a violation of his probation and he could face up to four years in jail. I think that a stint in jail could be much more effective than a cushy stay in a Malibu rehabilitation center. What he really needs right now is to step away from all the lights and cameras of fame, change the entourage of people around him who won’t tell him no and go through some intense therapy to deal with the anger issues stemming from his childhood. Now I am no psychologist, but I do believe that no one can make him change. He has to really want the change for himself. This cannot be a shallow attempt at rehabilitation to save him from jail time, or to regain the public’s affection, because we can see through that. Only when he truly shows a change can he be on the path to true redemption.