Sunday's Grammy Awards caused a flurry of discussion among the
media and general public. And I'm not just referring to the
eloquent tributes to Whitney Houston or the fact that Adele swept
the ceremony with six Grammy Awards; no, I'm referring to another
individual who stole the spotlight: Chris Brown.
Brown appeared three times on stage during the Grammy
Awards. He performed a single from his upcoming album, won an
award for best R&B album and was also involved in a tribute to
the late Don Cornelius of Soul Train.
In 2009, Brown was arrested for assaulting his then-girlfriend,
singer Rihanna. Since then, he's remained mum on the topic;
however, last year during a Good Morning America
interview he stormed off set shirtless when host Robin Roberts
questioned him about the Rihanna incident. He then allegedly
smashed a window in his dressing room.
Needless to say, Brown's time in the spotlight at the Grammy's
shocked and disheartened many, who took to the presses.
The imagery of Brown's Grammy glory was striking because it
was, literally, a return to the scene of the crime. On the eve of
the 2009 Grammys, Brown beat his then-girlfriend Rihanna, for which
he later pled guilty to a charge of assault and was sentenced to
five years of probation and six months of community labor.
The Washington Post:
He was arrested for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna
on the eve of the 2009 Grammys, but his acceptance speech after
winning best R&B album included no act of contrition. When
Chris Brown is getting more airtime than Whitney Houston, there's a
Sasha Frere-Jones of
The New Yorker:
Woman-beating rage-broccoli Chris Brown lip-synced his
single "Turn Up the Music" (without being threatened by Sir Elton
John) and danced roughly as well as a third-rate Chicago footwork
dancer. He ended his performance by back-flipping off the stage,
though sadly not off the earth. He returned to the stage one or two
or maybe eighteen times. It was one of the Grammys' weirdest
Most disturbing were some of the tweets from women that were
circulating about the artist and his domestic assault of Rihanna.
BuzzFeed collected the
"25 Extremely Upsetting Reaction to Chris Brown at the
Grammys." Below is just a sampling.
@steph_freddd32: "I don't know why Rihanna complained.
Chris Brown could beat me anytime he wanted to."
@kiebs: "chris brown can punch me whenever he wants
@MandaAlyssa: "I'd let Chris Brown beat me any day
From a communications standpoint, Brown's PR team did not
prepare or repair the artist's image enough for a "second chance"
comeback. As a public figure, Brown should have been speaking
in public more often against domestic violence. It was not
enough in the public's eye that he has gone through the legal
motions. This is evident from the backlash of criticism from his
role in Sunday's Award show.
Unfortunately, dating violence is not something in the past for
Brown. The Boston Globe recently reported an increase in
teen dating violence. The article is a sobering reminder that
domestic violence is a serious problem in our society.
Brown will never be able to walk away from his mistake,
especially without taking the platform he's been given to bring
awareness to the issue. Rarely do missed PR opportunities mean so
By: Delia DeBlois, account executive at Solomon McCown &