I have just one and very much sincere question for those responsible for guiding Chris Brown’s career:
Do you still actually like him? Yes? No? Circle one.
I’ve watched the trailer for Brown’s upcoming documentary, Welcome to My Life, and if I were in Breezy’s circle, I would advise him to take the tape, destroy it, bury it, and pretend it never happened. Beyond the optics of the doc itself (its production value recalls afterschool specials I used to record on my mama’s VCR) I think if Brown has taught us nothing else, it’s that for him, silence is golden.
In the film, we hear the narrator claim, “He went from being America’s sweetheart to public enemy number one.”
Yes, we know much of that has to do with him physically assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. Some people will never forgive him for that — even if Rihanna herself has. That may strike some as unfair, but for others, Brown has continued to show himself to be a volatile and often vicious figure, thus incredibly unlikable.
Consider the reported physical altercations with Frank Ocean and Drake. There are also stories floating around, like say, him getting in shouting matches with his former girlfriend, Karrueche Tran. Then there are his combative social media habits, which ultimately prove that Brown needn’t talk to us anymore about anything besides his music.
Chris Brown has engaged in online battle with comedians, talk show hosts, bloggers, ex-girlfriends, actors, and other recording artists. Brown has also shown made statements that are sexist, transphobic, and give the distinct impression that he is, well, not a particularly nice person.
The reality is you don’t have to be an especially nice person to be successful – especially as an entertainer, but of course there are limits to what folks will put up with in the public eye. The documentary seems intent on two things: telling Chris Brown’s side of the story about his life in a more intimate way, which is designed to make him more appealing to the masses. However, we’ve long known Brown’s story. Perhaps too long.
I distinctly remember Brown’s interview on former Tyra Banks’ daytime talk show in which he described the abuse he witnessed as a child. It’s evident how much that shaped his life, but while many can understand how a Chris Brown is made, Brown himself has not done a whole lot to display that he has tried to take full control of his anger issues.
To that end, what good would yet another “inside look” into his life do? Does anyone on Team Brown remember his “The Real Chris Brown” video from 2012 in which he declared, “I’m a little drunk, so I’m going to be honest. You don’t all really get the real Chris Brown. I like to be honest.”
If you remember, you’re probably shaking your head as Brown went on to explain his love triangle with Rihanna and Tran, noting: “You share history with somebody, and then you tend to fall in love with somebody else — it’s kind of difficult. Is there such thing as loving two people? I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s possible. But for me, I just feel like that. I don’t want to hurt either or. It’s me. I’m not trying to be a player. My momma raised me differently.”
It was a Tumblr post that should have not been recorded. I’m getting similar vibes from Welcome To My Life.
Until Brown learns to relax, relate, release, it would behoove him to do the following in this order: pop, lock, release more albums like X, tour, design, paint, pop and lock somewhere. Brown can get Jennifer Lopez and all of his other celebrity friends to talk about his talent all he wants, but we, too, know he has skills. That ain’t the problem.
His best bet is to just life his life, and hopefully, grow as a human being. Once he does and feels ready to show the world that new side of himself, I’m all in. That would be a documentary I’d gladly pay to see.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem, and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him @youngsinick.