Chris Brown is about to star in a movie about female empowerment.
And that is not ok.
Last week it was announced the singer had landed a plum role in the Nick Cannon-produced movie, She Ball – touted as a film of female empowerment focusing on a women’s basketball team.
And to me, casting guy who’s not got a great (or even mildly good) record when it comes to women is a bit off, non?
Much like Carrie Bradshaw, later that day I got to thinking: in general, how is this guy still earning millions in the entertainment industry?
Brown started his long list of assaults and alleged assaults in 2009 when he viciously attacked then-girlfriend Rihanna after a Grammy Awards pre-party.
I remember when I first saw the photos of her face, beamed across the world showing her beaten, bloodied and bruised; looking distraught and defeated.
Brown was given five years’ probation, a five-year restraining order, that was lifted, conditionally, in 2011, and ordered to take domestic violence counselling.
With a clean slate before that altercation, violence and anger then spilled over into his career.
There was the time, in 2015, he forcibly removed a woman from a bus during a video shoot, while his former tour manager alleged he threatened her with violence.
Then a year later when he was accused of pulling a gun on a woman, after police were called to his home. During the stand-off, which ensued after Chris said law enforcement needed a search warrant before entering, he posted videos to social media, claiming he was the victim in the saga.
Earlier in 2016 he was also accused of punching a woman in the eye after she tried to take a photo with him at a private party in Las Vegas.
There wasn’t sufficient evidence to lay charges, however, in response to the allegations, Brown said she was “probably too ugly” to get into the party.
Which is a delightful response.
Even as recently as June this year his ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran was granted a five-year restraining order after she presented a string of threatening voicemails and messages from her former partner.
In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, the model stated Brown ‘threatened to kill me, to take me out to others,’ ‘threatened to kill me over text messages,’ ‘threatened to harass my friends’ and ‘threatened to shoot me.’
She added: ‘Around the second week of February, he told a few people that he was going to kill me. He said if no one else can have me, then he’s gonna “take me out.”’
Then, only last week it was alleged by transsexual socialist Chris Lopez, that Brown ‘shouted at and pushed’ her she stood outside club The Abbey.
Oh, by the way, guys, Brown, 27, has a three-year-old daughter, Royalty.
Following the Rihanna charge, we held out hope he might learn something from all of this, after he told Larry King: ‘It’s probably one of the worst moments of my life. And I always wish like I could take it back. And every day, it’s just something that sticks in my mind.
‘And I’ve said countless times how sorry I am to Rihanna, and I just accepted full responsibility. But it’s just one of those things I wish I could have relived and just handled totally different.’
But nothing seems to have changed, and in a year of women, men, companies and the wider world pledging to no longer turn a blind eye to assault – sexual or otherwise – it’s time we asked the question, ‘Why the f**k is Chris Brown still employed in Hollywood?’
For those who scream, ‘He was punished! Give the guy a second chance!’ I say he’s had it. Then given a third, fourth…. And they’re all shot to shit now.
Sure his career hit the skids for a hot minute following Rihanna’s assault, as radio stations stopped playing his music and commercial deals were dropped, but then he released a couple perceived bangers and all seemed to be forgiven.
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He’s since won a Grammy as well as 17 BET and BET Hip-Hop Awards, plus he’s been invited to perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and on Saturday Night Live.
It would be different if he truly tried to make amends, to show us – the people who buy his records, who have elevated him to the status he enjoys – he took responsibility for his actions, but after violating his parole for the original charge, it’s clear he has no respect for the consequences of his actions as he lays the blame on people being ‘out to get him’.
I know I’m comparing two different kinds of assaults here, however when men like Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey et al are fired from their companies, replaced in roles and shunned by the Hollywood community in which they used to reign, it’s clear the same level of scrutiny and consequence is yet to hit the music industry.
Heck, even calls are being made for Matt Damon to be dropped from an Oceans 8 cameo over comments he made in regards to the aforementioned men.
Chris Brown has not only been able to keep going in his career (now worth a reported £22 million), now he’s been cast in a flippin’ movie about women!
Was there no one else Nick Cannon could cast? I doubt the character is that layered Chris Brown was the only actor who could fit the bill.
Sure, the kid’s got talent – but talent doesn’t excuse his actions.
And until he gives us a reason to believe the man is reformed, he shouldn’t be making money in Hollywood and he definitely shouldn’t be making money in a movie that’s meant to be all about female empowerment.
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