It’s looking like felony domestic abuser Chris Brown has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Without much effort on his part, the man who assaulted Rihanna in 2009 hitched a ride on his own redemption tour.
Last weekend at the American Music Awards, Kelly Rowland defended the singer against the audience’s boos as she accepted Brown’s award for Favorite Male R&B Artist on his behalf, telling everyone to “chill out.” Brown skipped the ceremony, likely because his tribute performance to Michael Jackson was pulled due to anticipated backlash. (Domestic abuser performs tribute to accused child molester? Who greenlit that idea in the first place?)
Since the awards show, Rowland has doubled down on her support for Brown, and Jordin Sparks and Ciara have chimed in with theirs as well.
“I believe that grace is very real and we all need a dose of it,” Rowland told TMZ. Sparks, who shares the 2008 hit “No Air” with Brown, told the outlet that Brown beating Rihanna in 2009 “shouldn’t even be a conversation anymore,” and instead, “Chris’ massive talent should be the focus.” Looks like we can declare Sparks as someone able to easily separate the art from the artist.
Ciara, who was scheduled to share the stage with Brown for the MJ tribute, lamented the cancellation in an Instagram post, calling him a “rare breed of this generation.”
While I usually agree with the plea to give room for redemption, Brown himself isn’t putting in much (if any) effort to show remorse for his violent history with women. In fact, he’s doubled—even tripled, nay quadrupled—down on the whole thing. Since pleading guilty to beating Rihanna, Brown has had multiple women file restraining orders against him, been accused of rape, and barely a year-and-a-half ago had another woman accuse him of attacking her. In 2011, the singer announced he was done apologizing for what he did to Rihanna. Even if we were to respect Sparks’ wishes to not “focus” on Brown’s 2009 attack, there’s plenty of other incidents to “focus” on as the American Music Awards is giving him a trophy.
One can’t help but compare this rallying support for Brown to the vacuum of support surrounding Megan Thee Stallion’s gunshot to the foot by Tory Lanez—especially considering Megan’s continued pleas for sympathy. Overall, the continued defense of and extended empathy for a serial domestic abuser feels like an exhaustive waste of time and energy that is only ever granted to supposedly “canceled” men. And, sure, people deserve grace, but no one deserves a performance at the AMAs.