Opinion: Should Chris Brown Take a Break?

Dude can’t be this utterly clueless. That’s the first thought that popped in my head as I tried to make sense of Chris Brown’s latest media manure storm. There was the embattled R&B superstar sitting before a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Wednesday (February 6) on allegations that the 24-year-old deliberately failed to complete 180 days of community labor stemming from a felony assault charge for his shocking 2009 beating of girlfriend and pop princess Rihanna. The entire scene was a tabloid junkies’ wet dream. Seated behind the singer was RiRi herself—continuing her defiant, middle-finger run of support for the man who once turned her gorgeous face into a bloody Jackson Pollock—and just days after the platinum it-girl voiced her thoughts to Rolling Stone on the flurry of criticism she has endured for reuniting with her seemingly contemptuous ex.

“He doesn’t have the luxury of fucking up again,” Rihanna said of her future with the troubled performer. “That’s just not an option. I can’t say that nothing else will ever go wrong. But I’m pretty solid in the knowing that he’s disgusted by that. And I wouldn’t have gone this far if I ever thought that was a possibility.” As if we needed more proof that the Unapologetic beauty had become the Millennial personification of Tammy Wynette’s 1968 anthem “Stand By Your Man,” Brown’s lawyer Mark Geragos told a reporter, "[Rihanna] thinks it's utterly ridiculous what they're doing to him,” adding that his client has been “tortured” enough by the LA district attorney’s office. Cue the violins.

While Brown doesn’t face any serious prison time for his perceived fraudulency, one thing has become emphatically clear: the Virginia native needs to disappear. Not witness protection-gone…but a self-imposed exile for a young man who seems to be drowning in a sea of persecution complex. A chorus of incredulous snickers could be heard when Brown posted an Instagram photo of Jesus nailed to the cross following widespread rebuke for allegedly jumping Odd Future vocalist Frank Ocean at a Los Angeles recording studio after a reported argument over a parking space. “Painting the way I feel today…Focus on what matters!” a woe-is-me Brown expressed.

Ocean refused to press charges against Brown. However, once again, many observers were left to ponder why someone with probation charges hanging over their head would be so foolish to allegedly threaten to shoot a fellow high profile recording artist and call him a “faggot” (Ocean had admitted to having a romantic relationship with a man in 2012)? This took place less than a year after Brown was involved in a NYC club brawl last June with Drake in what was described as a “bottle-throwing” melee. Good times. Indeed, If C-Breezy was set on proving to his detractors that he was indeed a L'enfant terrible eager to flex his bad boy status at the most inopportune time, he was more than living up to his end of the deal.

Yet Brown’s rabid contingent of fans have remained loyal to the brazen singer, who has managed to re-invent himself as a Euro pop dance act working with the likes of omnipresent French DJ David Guetta.

Follower @Missy_Breezy wrote, “@chris brown hope they fin out the truth u finished your community service , because I believe u did and other Breeezy fans as well! one love. @Breezyworld railed against the singer's negative media coverage: "TMZ are sick fans. They have all Chris Brown events programmed in their scheduler. They must be ready for Cinco De Breezy too." @CuriousBreezy lauded, "loving breezy: Heading to court."

Of course, not everyone shares his followers’ warm and fuzzy feelings.

“He’s been involved in many instances of douchebaggery,” influential celebrity blogger Perez Hilton told me. “Like the time he was simultaneously dating Rihanna and Karrueche Tran. That was one of the things that left a bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouths. His incidents with Drake, Frank Ocean, comparing himself to Jesus…it’s all unapologetic. Chris Brown seems to lack any sort of comprehension that he’s behaving in ways that he shouldn’t. Everyone deserves a second chance, but he really hasn’t given people a reason to support him after he did something so unsympathetic when he viciously attacked Rihanna.”

But if there was ever a moment when it felt safe to publicly root for Chris Brown it was back in late November of 2012. The controversial song-and-dance man—who still found himself headlining a redemption tour following those life-changing events that took place after that infamous Grammy night—was yet again on the other end of a public dressing down for his perceived asshole behavior. This time it was via Twitter at the hands of comedian Jenny Johnson.

Following a general, lighthearted tweet in which Brown posted, “I’m old as fuck! I’m on 23,” Johnson responded, “I know! Being a worthless piece of shit can really age a person.” And the surreal exchange continued:

Brown: “Take them teeth out when u Sucking by dick HOE.”
Johnson: “It's "HO" not "HOE" you ignorant fuck.”
Brown: “I should fart while ur giving me top.”
Johnson: “Your mom must be so proud of you.”

When Johnson posted a link to a past online report of the Brown scandal, it was yet another reminder that the turbulent singer was still viewed by many as a tatted-up, out-of-control pariah; the sort of pop culture boogeyman that was the amalgamation of vapid celebrity excess and stereotypical racial fears. Nevermind that Johnson gleefully provoked the nasty back-and-forth. The headline on the Huffington Post summed up the media’s reaction to the uncomfortable incident: Chris Brown's Vulgar Twitter Attack On Jenny Johnson, Comedy Writer. It might as well have been code for OH LORDY…MENACING BLACK MAN INSULTS THE HONOR OF INNOCENT WHITE WOMAN!!!

I’ll admit it. I was pulling for Brown to rise above the tide of unmitigated scorn that seemed to follow him wherever he went. But fair or unfair, the sobering truth is the same artist that first exploded on the scene in 2005 as a wide-eyed 15-year-old hailed as the next Usher faces an arduous task of erasing the scarlet letter of violent abuse. If Brown wants to function positively in a world that understands that a then 19-year-old should not have to continue to pay for such a disturbing transgression for the rest of his natural life, here’s some advice:

*REPEAT…take a long, reflective vacation away from the spotlight and Twitter. Give people a chance to miss you, Chris.
*Two words: anger management.
*Stop rubbing your rekindled relationship with Rihanna in our collective faces. That means no gratuitous duets professing your undying love for one another; and no coupled-up, just-finished-going-10-rounds-in-bed Instagram photos. In fact, you and RiRi don’t even have to explain yourselves. As your brazen anthem goes, it’s truly “Nobody’s Business.”
*No more songs detailing your victimhood. You know the worst part of listening to your last album Fortune? Being subjected to such bold, what-nerve? proclamations as, “You heard about my image/But I could give a flying motherfuck who's offended.” It’s called humility. Try it sometimes, homie.
*Grow up.

Hilton, however, has its own piece of advice for the performer. “I would tell Chris Brown to release a new album as soon as possible,” he said. “Like tomorrow…so that you could distract from all of unsavory media attention, and hopefully put some focus back on the music. Chris puts himself in these predicaments. He is beginning to become a broken record like Lindsay Lohan.” --Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)

**The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the author**

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