Rapper Chris Brown is getting no peace from critics, despite his impressive performance at the Grammy Awards and his win for Best R&B Album for F.A.M.E. Does he deserve a second chance?
It was three years ago on the eve of the 2009 Grammys when Brown violently assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna, leaving her battered and bruised while he fled the scene.
He was later convicted of assault and sentenced to five years on probation. He was also required to perform six months of community labor, which included picking up roadside trash.
Brown was also forced to attend anger management classes.
His career took a severe hit afterward. He was sidelined by the bad press for almost two years. His behavior since then hasn’t been perfect. But he fulfilled his community service oblations without a hitch.
Although he still remains on probation, he is under a less restrictive restraining order that only requires him to stay 10 yards from Rihanna at music events, instead of the initial 50 yards. They were seated on opposite sides of the room during the event.
Brown was only 20 at the time of the assault. While that doesn’t excuse his behavior, there is something to be said about youthful indiscretion. This year’s Grammys were viewed as more than a return to the scene of the crime. The ceremony also marked his return to music.
Neil Portnow, president of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Grammys, defended Brown’s performance. “That’s really where the judgment comes from: music professionals listening to the music of other professionals,” he said. “Clearly, our voting membership rated highly Chris’ musical work this past year.
“If we’re going to get in trying to personally evaluate artists in terms of their personal lives, that’s a slippery slope that we wouldn’t want to get into,” he added. He’s got that right. There’s not denying his talent.
His fourth studio album includes three No. 1 singles, “Look At Me Now,” “Deuces” and “No BS” and is an unqualified hit.
Of course, Brown isn’t helping himself with Tweets to his critics like” “HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate F**** OFF!”
He later added: “IM BACK SO WATCH MY BaCK as I walk away from all this negativity #teambreezygrammy.”
He also tweeted and later deleted: “People who make mistakes and learn from them are ROLE MODELS too. I’m just happy to inspire growth and positivity.”
America is a nation founded on second chances. Brown’s actions in 2009 were reprehensible. But he was convicted and punished for them. And, he’s fulfilled most of his sentence.
He has to remain on his best behavior; a probation violation would likely send him to jail. Only he can determine which path he takes. But he should also remember that in America, three strikes and you’re out.