We were all witnesses to Charles Hamilton catching a right hook during a freestyle battle... with his girlfriend. The viral video lit up gossip blogs and hip-hop forums, as the Internets watched in astonishment. But there was someone closer to the bout than anyone else—and not the Panther clinging to Charles' forearm. It was Hood News VJ Claudie Jones, who'd moderated the entire ordeal. One year after the fray, Jones looks back on the incident that rocked Hamilton's cranium and career. —John Kennedy
VIBE: Where did the Charles Hamilton viral video take place?
Claudie Jones: That was out in Hollywood. We were going to [see] my homeboy perform at a club.
Were you scheduled to interview Charles?
We went to the club to do some videography [for my boy]. [Charles and his girl, Briana] were in front of the club and I hollered at them, [but] they looked like they had some shit going on. Charles was laid back but Briana—she’s a real pitbull. She’s like, ‘Yo, get on this’ [and] made him do it.
She made him get on the camera?
Yeah, she pretty much pulled him around [and] made him do the interview.
You had the front-and-center view, just how hard did she hit him?
She fired on him. I was like, ‘Oh, shit!’ She really got him good. They was poking at each other [but] then she messed up when she tried to battle the kid. How you gon’ battle Charles Hamilton? Come on now. He really demolished her with those two little low-blow bars.
"She knocked the shit out of him, but I guess she knocked some sense back into him... If [domestic violence] broke Chris Brown’s career, this should make [Charles']."
What were your thoughts as she was spitting her poem?
I thought they were on drugs, dog. I’m thinking this is some Rihanna shit all over again. So I ain't know where they was at mentally. The shit was crazy.
Could you tell her patience was running low?
Nah, it went from 0-60. Really, I was trying to get my mic, I didn’t want them to break my mic from fighting and shit. I’m out here hustling. I can’t get my mic broke.
What happened off-camera, after the blow?
A lot of shit. [Laughs] Charles is a nut! He’s crazy, man. Actually, they’re both crazy. I instigated a little bit, but after it went that far, I broke it up. We both turned the camera off immediately and it just went down. I’m like, ‘Hey! Police are passing, we don’t need all that.' So my boy was close to pressing the delete button—I don’t like throwing people under the bus—[but] Charles said, 'Nah, keep it.' He wasn’t trippin. Homegirl punched him and he was calm.
He wasn’t hesitant at all about keeping it?
He was non-egotistic, like ‘Hey, it’s life, put it out there. I don’t give a damn.’
So they were still brawling?
They were about to fight. She was about to Rihanna him, but we broke it up. They was saying all kind of shit. I don’t really want to put their personal shit out there, but they was really going at it.
What were the following days like for you?
It blew up everywhere. My phone’s blowing up, we’re on every website and they’re making cartoons of it. It was overwhelming for me, but it was nothing compared to [what] Charles [experienced]. Everybody was taunting him. But I’m like, ‘Dude, you gotta take this and run with it.’ Briana’s parents were calling her like, ‘What the fuck?’ He could’ve easily whooped her ass. A lot of dudes were like, you should’ve [done that]. I think he’s a Buddhist or something. She punched him and it was like he didn’t react, it was just all peace. But it was getting to him, because everybody in the streets was fucking with him. By the time we went to the club together he was really ready to fight, but I’m like, ‘Nah, keep your cool and be that example. You don’t want to be like Chris Brown. His career sucks.’
Damn, so you went to the club right after that?
Yeah, two days later. We was back there chillin. Drake, Teyana Taylor, Tyga, all of Young Money was back there and that’s when we did the part two.
The apology tape?
Yeah. Him and Briana hit me up to do an apology to clear the air. They were still dealing with each other after that night. They made up, kissed and went on. They just decided to let everybody know that they’re good folks. Drake was showing him love, everyone was showing him love. [But Charles] really should’ve been more vocal, it was a platform.
Do you think a Charles Hamilton comeback is likely?
Absolutely. Right now, every woman should support… just everybody with morals should support Charles Hamilton. I was really impressed. He didn’t react with emotion or nothing. She knocked the shit out of him, but I guess she knocked some sense back into him because right after that, he apologized. If this broke Chris Brown’s career, this should make [Charles']. He’s a good dude. I think he should be more vocal about not hitting women. He definitely still has a pedestal to be looked upon as an honorable guy.
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