Chris Brown: Good Boy Gone Bad?

A few qualifiers to start:

I do not condone domestic violence, no matter who starts it.
I love and have had the privilege of working with Chris Brown.
I love and am a friend of Tina Davis, who manages Chris Brown.

Tina Davis, Founder - TDC

Tina Davis, Founder - TDC



I love Rihanna. My heart aches for what she must be feeling.

The incident is still under investigation, so only a few people really know what happened on Grammy night in Hancock Park. I am not addressing any rumors here; this is not a tabloid blog.


Okay. The trouble with celebrity is that we as consumers and end-users start to feel we own them because we buy what they sell. I’m hearing and reading all this chatter about how Chris Brown is done. So, it was all good as long as he was squeaky clean, right? We can claim him, but at day’s end, Chris is not ours to throw away.

Chris Brown

Chris Brown

This guy is 19, came up famous. His first real relationship is on display with another global superstar. How often do you think it is reinforced to him that he can do whatever he wants?


Let’s look at the modeling available to Chris from Black male entertainers: R. Kelly, who is widely believed to be a pedophile regardless of what the court says. Miles Davis, who abused Cicely Tyson mercilessly. Ike Turner, whose abusive record with Tina is legendary. Biggie, who had no problem takin’ it to Faith or Kim. Dr. Dre, who threw Dee Barnes down a flight of stairs over an interview.

A Bitch Iz a BitchBitches BrewTeflon Kels



Flex and Steph Lova settled out of court after he allegedly choked her. Need I go to the sports world? Allen Iverson allegedly tossing his naked wife from an apartment. I could go on. Are those infractions more tolerable because the perpetrators were ‘bad boys’? What about the impact on women who suffer anonymously?! Is it only worse because Rihanna is hot and famous?

The Alledged Victim

The aforementioned men all went on to have continued success in their careers. Chris Brown can too–if the aftermath is handled correctly. Chris Brown’s future is up to God and Chris Brown. I don’t smell a ploy to shore up a hardcore image from Chris on this one; I honestly think he went too far too fast in that moment-and never saw the impact waiting for him at the corner of celebrity and controversy. Turning himself in was the smart thing to do.


We may feel shock and betrayal over this, but I would like to see some compassion exercised here. Chris may need counseling, support, guidance on how to handle his emotions and a safe space to look within for an understanding of what triggers him. This is serious work that we rarely see our men do publicly. Kevin Powell confessed his transgressions of abusing women and mismanaging anger openly and has recovered in a powerful way, helping his brethren in the process with books and workshops. In addition to working through the trauma of this event, Rihanna may need some help too, working on insecurities, recognizing when she may be caging her partner, and setting boundaries in her relationship. These are no guarantee against violence, but fundamental to preventing situations from escalating. It’s not like tutorials are being conducted for young famous people in love (or heavy like). We don’t know what we’re doing half the time either, we just have the luxury of anonymity to cloak us as we eff up. We each have much to learn from taking a hard look into our families of origin, our emotional issues, our barrier to authentic communication.


The camps for the couple aren’t talking because of the investigation. Which may explain why we have no apology from Brown to date. I applaud the alleged victim, Rihanna, for taking a stand and cooperating with the authorities. That act singlehandedly blows the lid off being silent when met with abuse for women of all ages. Even Chris Brown has consequences to face for his actions. The ripple effect remains to be seen, but damage control is most definitely in order. Dyana Williams, where you at?! As the media specialist who has masterminded preventive and post-disaster PR strategies for everyone from Lil Kim to Usher, I have to quote some of the wisdom she shared in Put Your Dreams First here: “you must be prepared in your personal and professional life to meet all the demands of being an artist.”


I admire how both have handled their entertainment business thus far, and wish them both the best as they handle their personal business during this difficult time.

19 Responses to “Chris Brown: Good Boy Gone Bad?”

  1. Octavia Says:

    Perfectly well said.

  2. JW Says:

    Great article on domestic violence and how we let many of our celebs get off scott free,

  3. Carmelita Says:

    I, for the most part, agree that there is work to be done on both of their part, an I certainly don’t consider Chris Brown a lost cause like some of your other examples. The one thing that does stand out for me is the force of the attack. Having worked with young women for the past 10 years, two things stand out for me in this whole mess. !. It has been my experience that when a woman has suffered the kind of beat down that Rihanna received it is almost never the “first time” that man has laid hands on her. It doesn’t escalate that quickly, in other words, I fear that she may have experienced Chris’ anger before, this may have been the worse. 2. This is an amazing opportunity for two young people to speak up about an epidemic that is happening today, right now. Young women are being hurt by their partners in an alarming rate. That’s real. If this happened to these two, can you image the hell thousands of “ordinary’ girls are living through daily?

    These two need help, and along the way, hope they can help others as well.

  4. Kerika Says:

    If R.Kelly can molest and pee on young women and still be receive an NAACP Award and sell millions of records then Chris Brown’s career will be just fine. After all, all he did was beat and disrespect a sister–and clearly no one really cares about that when there is money to be made. I wouldn’t be surprised if he get’s a reality show out of it!

  5. Mimi Says:

    I think Thembisa is on the money about this situation. I knew from close association with those close to their camps, that we don’t know exactly what happened, how it happened, who threw the first punch or what happened to either one of these barely out of their TEENS, young people with big public lives.

    They both deserve our compassion and they seemingly both need some counseling. They can both grow from this situation, and come out better and stronger in the future. I don’t think either one of them should be discounted and we should take this situation to show our own children how not to handle stressful situations in our love or as Thembisa so thoughfully stated (heavy like) relationships.

    Thanks for the wonderful insight Thembisa, as usually I think you’re magical!

  6. Cynical Says:

    Yesterday I found myself saying it was over for this kid, and only because the media has been incessantly bashing him. He’s 19, which doesn’t excuse him for his behavior, but does mean there is chance for him to grow.

    Thembisa, thank you for writing a well balanced piece on the situation.

  7. Taura J. Says:

    Looks like a classic case of GUILTY until proven INNOCENT. The media is a cold, cold piece…one day you’re flying high and the next you’re gasping for air. So to answer your question, yes…I think that the Chris Brown as we know him(the sweet, innocent all american boy) is gone, but God knows the truth and He will eventually vindicate the falsely persecuted. I am praying for both of them, Tina Davis and their famalies. If he did it, let him not be judged in the court of public opinion…and the same goes for Rhianna. If what the media is saying comes out to be true, I hope that Rhianna re-emerges as. VICTOR and not a VICTIM.

  8. Norastine Says:

    Honestly, I have so many feeling regarding this sad turn of events. As everyone in or close to music insiders, am trying to gather information and make sense of it all. What I am realizing is that violence often doesn’t make sense. I tried to look at it from both sides. How do you lose such control to make you simply risk throwing it all out the window. Then I wonder, what was said or done that could provoke such an incident. Of course NOT blaming her, but wondering what it must of looked like from her end. I am hard pressed to believe that this was the first incident, but I am sure if that is the case, it will come out later in court. However, it is my feeling that if it wasn’t brewing, it simply wasn’t the first time. You just don’t jump up and allegedly beat someone down.

    Do I think is career is over? Absolutely not! I think this may be a time for him to sit down and re-evaluate his actions, get help, and make amends to all those he let down by his behavior. I don’t think we as a community or industry should judge him. Clearly there are deeper issues going on here. I am not saying he does not need to atone legally and spiritually for his actions, but this could also be an opportunity for healing. As for Rihanna, there needs to be help made available to her as well.

    As a community and industry, we are very forgiving. Beat downs, murders/manslaughter charges, drug use/abuse, child molestation cases, rape, peeing on people-no peeing on minors, and finally domestic violence has all been forgiven in time. I don’t see why this is any different? What I don’t appreciate is that they are treating him like “OJ Jr.”

    If anything, I think whatever your faith we should keep them in our thoughts and prayers, and be less willing to throw the baby out with the bath water. Also, remember that there our thousands of women who are getting abused by their mate as I type this, and no one cares. They are regular people who work regulars jobs, and live otherwise regular lives. Think about that woman who is off work, and dreads going home and sits at the bus stop lets her bus pass because she dreads going home. Think about that woman who has been home all day and wonders if today is the day she is going to be hospitalize or killed at the had of her partner. There is a bigger issue here, and maybe it took this incident to bring our attention to it. The world has no shortage of “causes,” but clearly it effect us all.


  9. Combat Jack Says:

    Looking at the bright side, Rihanna ’bout to make some classic ass records!

  10. honey Says:

    i don’t think Chris Brown should be persecuted in the media, but i definitely think he should not be coddled by the system or the public. what he allegedly did is not OK. a clear message needs to be sent that what he did was wrong and not acceptable for his own sake and for the sake of other young men and women in similar situations. there need to be consequences, because anything less would be confirmation of the modeling you mentioned.

  11. Diana Says:

    No! What’s gone is his good boy image. Kobe experienced the same thing. This is a business of bouncing back and America has always loves a redemption story. He will have to play it low key for awhile. He will need to go on Oprah and talk about his mistake and how he grew up around violence and how he is now talking to young men about not making the choice he made etc. etc. He’ll work on a new album that’s a banger and a b4 you know it young girls and boys will be supporting him again! What he did was wrong. Men do not hit women period. One thing he will do is learn his lesson!

  12. Linda Says:

    This is the way in which this type of subject matter should be delivered — with patience, tenderness and understanding. Thank you!

  13. Miss Blackman Says:

    Thembisa, this piece is so well-written, well-said that I don’t know where to start with my own thoughts. I agree with Mimi, they both deserve compassion. The world is at a critical stage of development. There are so many possibilities for growth right now. So many people have something to learn from this. Anger doesn’t make a person a ‘bad person’, it makes them an ‘angry person’. I know a few ‘good guys’, who in their 30s and 40s are much older than Chris Brown and just now acknowledging that they’ve got issues with ‘rage’. Unfortunately, there are no courses in school where we learn how to relate to others, we don’t learn how to be in relationships.

  14. Combat Jack Says:

    Cat’s out the bag:

  15. Forgiving Chris Brown: Re-post & Update « Thembisa Mshaka Says:

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  16. Thembisa Mshaka: Forgiving Chris Brown « Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner-(The Blog) Says:

    […] who advocated for the forgiveness of the multi-talented, multi-platinum Chris Brown as far back as February 2009, when the most media and much of the public wanted to banish and boycott him forever. His missteps […]

  17. Thembisa Mshaka: Forgiving Chris Brown | Hip-Hop & Politics Says:

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