We’ve read all about the Rihanna incident. We’ve heard about the outburst on the set of ABC’s Good Morning America. We’ve (unfortunately) seen the infamous Twitpic. We’ve even heard from the man himself on Twitter, with both explanations and excuses about his actions and reactions.
Despite all that we’ve seen, heard, and claim to know about him, we still don’t really know Chris Brown — but we do know his image, and perception is reality in the court of public opinion.
With his debut in 2005, Chris Brown had been dubbed the “next Michael Jackson.” He had the charisma, charm, and moves of a young MJ; the swagger of Usher; and the bad-boy tendencies of a young Bobby Brown. After the whirlwind success of his first album, however, Brown became more Bobby than Chris. As far as the public knows, Chris hasn’t had the excessive flirtation with drugs and women for which Bobby was famous. But where there was Whitney for Bobby, Chris would find his Ms. Houston in a pop sensation from Barbados.
Little is known about Chris Brown’s relationship with Rihanna. Conflicting reports emerged about the couple, from stories of Rihanna’s alleged clinginess, to Brown’s temper. Those issues would come to light on a fateful night where two promising careers took divergent paths. Forget the hit singles, though. Forget the hip-hop collaborations and celebrity friends. Forget the legions of adoring fans and millions of Twitter followers.
For all that Chris Brown has done to repair his image, he is also gradually destroying it.
Consider the image that Chris Brown is crafting for himself in engaging in Internet beef with Frank Ocean, former B2K member Raz-B, and various detractors on Twitter. Brown says that he’s being himself, but he’s positioning himself as the new bad boy of R&B. Whether he’s merely manufacturing his new swagger or truly expressing himself, remains to be seen. What is noticeable, however, are the seeds planted in the public’s mind when looking at Brown’s angry tweets: the man has an anger problem, and it extends beyond 140-character posts.
The conclusion that Chris Brown has a problem doesn’t just stem from the Rihanna incident or the Twitter tantrums; it comes from his chair-throwing incident on Good Morning America and his various stand-offish responses to questions about his past — questions that are, mind you, expected of Brown or any celebrity with a recent controversy. As a celebrity, Chris Brown and his handlers should simply know better. And yet, his fans and Twitter followers serve as enablers; in the case of a recent trending topic, #chrisbrownneedsto, the majority of responses summarily tell Brown to “ignore the haters.”
Chris Brown doesn’t need to do anything his fans tell him to do. In fact, Chris Brown doesn’t need to do anything I’m suggesting. What Chris Brown needs to do is get his act together and worry about himself — and frankly, he isn’t doing enough of that.
After emerging from an abusive background to find a world of success, Brown has been allowed to do virtually whatever he wants — and that’s the problem: he’s doing what he wants, not what he needs. Brown needs to be concerned about his image, as that image not only affects his profitability, it reflects his character. Beyond that, Brown needs to understand that, while his fans love him, they won’t be there to support him when he’s old and gray. Celebrity, after all, is as temporary as time and money.
The drug of celebrity is destroying Chris Brown, and he doesn’t even realize it.
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