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Leave Chris Brown Alone

Ebony Turner, Opinion Editor

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It is almost as if Chris Brown can’t even move on not because he doesn’t want to but because the rest of the world doesn’t want to. From twitter comedians provoking him into e-fights to thought pieces delving into the psyche of a man they will likely never meet, we can collectively agree that is more than time to leave Chris Brown alone. Whether he still has the potential to repeat the events of four years ago is a fate that does not affect us.

That is not to say that the events of that evening were not unfortunate.  It was a domino affect of photos and leaked police reports. Chris being photographed riding a jet ski with a menacing look, Rihanna’s interview with Diane Sawyer – it was the makings of an Law and Order episode which is probably why it will be interpreted on the television show this Thursday. The soap opera didn’t last for long once the dust had settled and both parties involved were broken up indefinitely. But once the relationship ended the crucifixion of Chris began.

Even with the widely publicized community service hours he served, the probation he is still under and the apologies he has made, Chris is relentlessly bullied. Who is to say that he doesn’t remember that night just as vividly as Rihanna herself? Who is to say that he doesn’t feel guilty for bringing her to the brink of death? What he did was inexcusable and he knew that, but the public refuses to give him the chance to be better when all they expect him to do is the absolute worst. It is no coincidence that Black men have always been seen as violent, tyrannical animals by the mainstream media. They are demonized at the first sight of any major mistake, especially one involving a mainstream darling. Kanye endured the relentless torment of the media after his interruption of Taylor Swift, and the judgmental guise of the media has left a stain so irreversible he refuses to do press.

What worries me most about the stress Brown is clearly enduring due to the four yearlong backlash, is the toll it’s taking on his body. He is noticeably gaunt and sickly in the face. His frame is skinnier than it has ever been, and he is smoking weed heavily. The last celebrity I saw go through this big of a transformation physically was Michael Jackson. His family knew he was abusing drugs and self-medicating, but why he started in the first place has always been debatable. What the public can’t deny is that after the child molestation accusations – the most devastating accusations you can ever make toward anyone – played a large role in why Michael self medicated.

Michael began to look frail, gaunt in the face and noticeably warn down from the media that praised him up just to bring him down. Not only were the allegations false, but Michael was near bankrupt from the lawyer fees and having to pay off the families who only wanted money anyway. Michael was seen as being in a vulnerable position and people seeking out money consistently preyed on him using the one allegation that the public did not see as too far off against him. I felt for him, because I knew he wasn’t a child molester and that the media and society love to beat people while they’re down, especially Black men.

Chris is no different than his idol in this respect not only because they both have been taunted and provoked by the media, but also these once American darlings were now villains. Chris lost every endorsement deal, and it took years for him to sell an album and rebuild his marketability. It’s a feat that is still hard to overcome and his choice in friends, entourage’s and overall circle is not helping his transition. His fight with Frank Ocean and Drake proves that the people around him do little to diffuse the situations that often lead to the headline news he generates.

As a society, it’s difficult to come to terms with this reality but we love to see people fall and struggle to get back up. It won’t be until Brown dies that we all take time to actually appreciate the fact that he truly was a talented young man. He is flawed and has a lot of maturing to do within his own personal life, but the choice’s he makes are his alone. If we are saying collectively that we do not want to see him get better, than I understand the constant dialogue and jokes of how he is a “woman beater.” But if we really do want to ensure he will not ever repeat those actions, the media and society have to let him breath. Give him a break and stop allowing him to live in a past he does not wish to live in anymore.

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