A Few Thoughts about the Chris Brown & Drake Fight… When Do We say Enough’s Enough?

By now all of us have heard about the nasty brawl that went down inside a Manhattan club the other night involving Chris Brown and Drake over Rihanna.  How could we not hear about it? It’s been the lead story on damn near every newscast from Entertainment Tonight to TMZ to Good Morning America.

We’ve all seen the pictures of the club littered with broken bottles along with people from their respective entourages including basketball star Tony Parker along with innocent club goers nursing nasty cuts and bruises. By now most of us have seen the picture taken by Chris Brown himself exposing a ghoulish looking gash under his chin.

News of this fight have not only been in the headlines, it’s completely overshadowed many of the positive things folks with Hip Hop are doing. For, example, this is opening weekend for Ice T‘s stellar documentary Art of Rap. Instead of celebrating its release and its shattering of long-held stereotypes,  all of us are being peppered with questions about Hip Hop beefs and violence. Thanks Chris, Thanks Drake for keeping such insidious thoughts alive and well. I wouldn’t put it past some who brought into misinformation who are now wondering if this movies, concert and other gatherings will incite more beefs resulting in similar drama as displayed the other night..

Chris Brown shows off the ghoulish  injury he got in his brawl with Drake the other night

The other day there was a historic march and protest in New York City to bring an end to New York City’s infamous Stop-N-Frisk policy. So far some major inroads have been made. Last year over 680k people were stopped on the streets and searched by NYPD. This year NYPD was on target to stop and frisk over 800k. Studies have shown 85-90% of those folks stopped by police are young Black and Brown males with less than 10% being in violation of any law, major or minor. These numbers have caused an outrage resulting in lawsuits and demonstrations like the one the other day.

New York City police along with Mayor Bloomberg who famously supports the policy, have not been shy about justifying this practice, along with its racial profiling aspect. Bloomberg and company have been crafty about keeping the climate of fear alive and well, using incidents like this Chris Brown/ Drake fight as prime examples of ‘how bad’ it really is out there.

Club after the Chris brown-Drake Fight

Ideally one would’ve hoped that these two superstars would’ve been amongst the masses who stepped out to help end this policy, after all it impacts them and definitely their fans. Their popularity could certainly helped heighten awareness. Instead whether intended or not, this incident and their juvenile violent behavior becomes the rationale as to why such a policy needs to exist in the first place.The Logical or illogical the thinking unfolds as follows; If celebrity millionaires can’t keep the drama and beefs at bay then how can we expect  cats on the block who have considerably less do the same?  Like it or not the Chris Brown/ Drake fight does not get limited to them.. It becomes a burden all of us wind up shouldering.

It’s obvious that Chris Brown who went from being this clean-cut squeaky clean personality who could sell you chewing gun, to being a brutish, quick-tempered women beater has not learned to stay out of trouble and keep his temper in check no matter how many chances given. Drake who is not known for violence, by most accounts him or folks in his entourage were initiators. In the latest update, Drake is now being sought by police to be arrested for throwing the bottle..

In either case it matters not..The question we all need to be asking is what’s gonna make this stop? How many more slaps on the wrists do they get? Why should a Chris Brown stay out of trouble, when its more than obvious his bad behavior keeps getting rewarded. Him and Drake will be on the next award show? They’ll be at the next Summer jam concert. They’ll be played 85 times a day on the radio..What message does this constant rewarding send to our youth when they see adults co-signing or ignoring bad behavior?

Clive Davis

These artists aren’t stupid. They know the lines within the industry of what they can cross or not cross. For example, do you think Chris Brown would ever been giving a second or third chance if he went and publicly dissed a major radio station playing his song? Instead of Rihanna, lets say he went up to MTV and lost his temper and beat on one of the VPs of Viacom which owns BET or MTV?  Better yet lets say this altercation between Drake and Chris took place at industry executive, Clive Davis‘ pre-Grammy party, what do you think would be going on then? They’d be banned. Records removed etc.. There’d be zero tolerance for this sort of bullshit behavior.

What penalty are we consciously extracting from them?  Does it mean boycott? Not buying their music or not allowing it in the home? Does it mean demanding that venues or deejay you hire not spin it? Many of us who work in professions especially one where we engage the public where would be suspended if not fired if we had some sort public transgression or altercation. I’m not for censorship or ruining people permanently, but at a date and time where we are struggling to keep youngsters from embracing destructive nihilistic behavior, it falls on def ears when the people they look up to and listen to and watch are pulling crap like this with impunity. The same way a Michael Bloomberg and NYPD go about their business of creating a climate of fear to justify more police and the implementation crazy police tactics, we’ve got to create a climate that makes it uncomfortable when you’re artist engaging our community and you act irresponsible.

Lastly what got me thinking about this was a an incident involving Cypress Hill some years back.. The group headlined a show at the Bill Graham Civic auditorium in San Francisco.. It was a packed house and everyone was hyped and eager to see B-Real, Sen Dogg and DJ Muggs catch wreck. As the show got underway the hype man from one of the opening acts got on stage and tried to get the crowd going.. Frustrated by the lukewarm response, the hype man yelled; What are y’all Fags or what?.. If ur a fag be quiet.. The audience erupted and yelled with enthusiasm to make sure they were heard..

I recalled thinking at the time, that was pretty bold to be yelling out something like that in San Francisco which has large gay population, but didn’t think much more about it afterwards.. Cypress Hill eventually took the stage later that night and tore the house down.. The next day when we got to the radio station KMEL.. we were informed under no circumstances were we or any other mixers would be allowed to play Cypress Hill.. All station drops were removed. All recordings were packed and taken out of the studio. We were told that Cypress made offensive remarks at the concert during their show and people complained. When it was relayed that it wasn’t Cypress, but in fact their opening act that uttered the offense, we were told it didn’t matter Cypress Hill brought the act to town and thus was gonna pay the price, end of story..We were told there would be zero tolerance.

Drake is set to be arrested for throwing the bottle at Chris Brown

For almost a year we could not play Cypress Hill and on the few occasions a song slipped through the person who programmed it was checked and steps were taken to ensure it not happen again. It wasn’t until the group wrote a letter of apology for something they did not do that we were allowed to lift the ban.

I reference this story to indicate that in an industry that claims that what it presents for the world to consume is based upon popularity, ‘requests’ and overall public demand, doesn’t really matter when the powers that be decide that for whatever reason they’re on a shit list.. I referenced Cypress Hill because at that time they were enormously popular.. Popularity be damned. Major label backing be damned. They weren’t being played.

Over the years I seen this happen with numerous artists from Buju Banton to Turbo B of to a host of acts who brought songs to competing stations, all be banned.  Over the years I’ve seen the powers that be including local police departments step to radio stations, concert promoters and venue owners and dictate who can and cannot appear on the stage.. It ranged from Run DMC to Tribe Called Quest, popularity didn’t matter. If it was deemed they were a problem for whatever reason, they weren’t allowed on.

We should keep this in mind, next time we start hearing about some of the craziness artists who we support.  After a certain point enough is enough.. We have to stop being enablers and co-signers for some of the things they are pulling. Time to start shunning some of this..

That’s Food for Thought..

Davey D

Thembisa Mshaka: Forgiving Chris Brown

Forgiving Chris Brown: Re-post & Update

By Thembisa Mshaka

Peep the Breakdown FM podcast we did with Thembisa on this topic http://bit.ly/axcjDL

I am on record as being one 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 with the media in the aftermath turned the fury way up, as he looked far from remorseful—especially in contrast to Rihanna’s composed, deliberate testimony on 20/20. I understand the fury; I was furious about his assault of Rihanna on Grammy Night 2009 too.

But this rigid, visceral approach to such a layered issue is neither humane nor realistic. Endless castigation does not break the cycle of relationship violence. If we want young men, especially young men of color, to stop abusing women, we must condemn the behavior, and support the full rehabilitation of the person. Ron Artest has shown us that therapy can help anyone rise to become a champion in work and in life. Chris must seek help from psychological professionals, spiritual counselors, and anger management experts. Chris is going to be atoning and reconciling for years to come. That process is well underway.

The part we as consumers, fans, and members of the media can support him with is the revitalization of his career. Chris Brown is a gifted young performer who deserves to make a living at what he is passionate about. BET provided Chris Brown with the opportunity of a lifetime on the 2010 BET Awards: to pay homage to his mentor Michael Jackson with a powerful medley of the King of Pop’s hit songs and signature dance routines. True to form, the media looked for the worst from a heartfelt and otherwise technically flawless performance–until the part where Chris broke down emotionally in an effort to sing “Man In The Mirror”. His sincerity was questioned. His tears, snot and hoarse voice were called ‘staged’. Just another signal that the path of least resistance, further vilification of the young Black male, was being tread yet again. A brother can’t even emote!

But the audience on their feet at the Shrine and millions on couches across America knew that what he was feeling was very real: the overwhelm of Michael passing and finally being able to commemorate his idol’s life; the passage of the hardest of his own 21 years; the energy of the room singing when he could not, crying with him, releasing with him. This is what it means to be human. This collective catharsis was an important step in the healing process for everyone who empathizes with Chris and wishes him well. It’s exactly why that moment was the one everyone was talking about the morning after and well into this week.

The crime will not be forgotten, but the man needs to be forgiven.

We say we want him to take a look at himself and make a change; change is hard. Let him do it.

I’ve re-posted my essence.com commentary for reference. I look forward to your comments.

As posted by essence.com July 24, 2009

Thembisa S. Mshaka

This past February, Chris Brown shocked the world. In the wee morning hours of the Grammy Awards, he brutally assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna. On June 22, 2009, Chris Brown pled guilty. The judge handed him his sentence, convicting Brown of felony assault, mandating him to keep his distance from Rihanna (50 yards for five years), and to serve 5 years of probation including 180 days of community labor. Brown was also ordered to enroll in a domestic violence counseling program. Brown’s face registered remorse and relief that day in court; looked like it dawned on him how close he came to prison time. But was he truly sorry?

It was hard to tell. Brown’s camp released a tepid statement: “Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired. I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones and I am committed, with God’s help, to emerging a better person.” Meanwhile photos of the 19-year-old partying hard in Miami contrasted those of a sorrowful Rihanna in the days that followed. His silence was as palpable as his absence from television and radio. Suddenly the freckle-faced crooner resurfaced and sent a video message to the world while bowling with rapper Bow Wow on May 26: “I’m not a monster… I got a new album droppin’.” Five months after his love quarrel-gone-awry, Brown released another video apologizing: “I take great pride in me being able to exercise self-control and what I did was inexcusable.”

Was his gesture too little too late? Not only for his victim, Rihanna, but for his fans and critics? I conducted an informal poll on Facebook and Twitter. While the media was castigating him, I blogged [hyperlink to original post here] back in February that the public was too quick to dismiss him and predict his career’s end. That compassionate condemnation was in order, not excommunication.

Perhaps the apology is a hard pill to swallow because Brown seemed so cavalier after the debacle. Judging by the many responses I received, I gleaned that his silence, while understandable at the advice of counsel, allowed the negative perception of this young man to fester into the selling of T-shirts emblazoned with his image and a striking slash through his face and dubbing his namesake a slang term synonymous with a “beat down” as in “Don’t get Chris Brown-ed.”

The Twitterverse had much to say about Brown’s remorse. “Why not release the video the day after the verdict?” asked one Tweeter. Another said Brown’s apology would have been deemed more sincere and set a strong example to his young fans about facing consequences if he’d done so immediately after the final verdict. Some believe his public remorse opens the door for fans to begin liking him again with one female tweeter professing: “Chris Brown, I love you more than ever.” But it was a male respondent who expressed the optimism that forgiveness should render: “He’s young enough to change.”

Sure, the execution could have been tighter, but I challenge anyone to recall an apology that felt smooth as silk following an egregious action. Taking a slice of humble pie and expressing remorse is usually awkward and delayed, requiring time. Reconciliation takes patience and work and Brown has taken his first step. Some might argue that Brown’s timing is off, but I believe an apology has no expiration date. Brown deserves forgiveness. What if Chris Brown was your son, nephew or brother? Assuming a zero-tolerance policy on abuse is fine, but judging someone unfairly and withholding support can interfere or jeopardize the healing process and ultimately redemption. We can stand against violence by looking its perpetrators in the eye and demand that they be and do better, but remember, it’s never too late to choose forgiveness over judgment.

Thembisa S. Mshaka is a 17-year entertainment industry veteran and author of the mentorship and career guide, Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business

Chris Brown Needs to Fall Back & Stay Out the Spotlight for a While



Chris Brown needs to fall back for a while and take more time before returning to the spotlight
Chris Brown needs to fall back for a while and take more time before returning to the spotlight

Its sad that we live in a day and time where common sense is always trumped by the need to make a quick buck. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means suggesting that Chris Brown is trying to make a quick buck, but I have to agree with the folks who are calling for Chris to fall back, take a breath and get some help. His seeming eagerness to return to the fold and repair his image seems to defy common sense.

 Should he be the poster child for domestic violence? Of course not, but like it or not he is… And just like he’s was able to rise to the occasion and be a breath of fresh air by being a clean cut viable alternative to the raunchy, in your face, over the top, crass persona that has dominated so much of urban music, Brown should rise to the occasion and be a shining example of how one properly atones and handles a troubling situation. He should rise to the occasion and be the poster child of a man who doesn’t beat women. That’ll take some time and deep soul searching that is ‘felt’ by his fans not simply seen and heard.

Right now there are some missing steps in the process Chris Brown is taking as he returns to the spotlight. What those missing steps are, I can’t say… I guess I feel he shouldn’t be in the spotlight right now. Next time I see Brown in public, I don’t wanna see him in a club partying with a bevy of women. I don’t wanna see any more Youtube videos. The one he made where he apologized was suffice.

The Larry King interview? It was a disaster. Brown seemed uncomfortable and not quite ready for primetime. The time to reflect and really deal with what he has done didn’t come across in that interview. He looked more angry than contrite.  I found myself getting upset because his mom was on there sitting next to him crying as she recalled her own abuse. 

Leading up to the interview and now afterwards,  Brown will have to deal withg the realization that he doesn’t control the media and the way things are being manipulated and the way his quotes are being chopped up and taken out of context a particular tone is  and was  set. Many of us came into the  CNN Interview with arms folded and several layers of cynicism.  Sadly Brown’s demenanor reinforced those perceptions. The only one who benefitted was Larry King who probably got a nice ratings boost to catch up up to MSNBC.

I think people are looking for action and no more talk. Brown didn’t just slap or shove Rihanna, he beat her down without mercy. He didn’t do this one time. He did it on 3 different times. Hence I agree with those who are calling for him to chill. Its too soon for him to return.

Maybe Brown should take a full year off, leave the country, or go underground for a bit. Whatever he does he should definitely be out of the headlines and allow himself sometime to grow and better mature. When I see all these appearances it reeks of big business trying to callously repair its image and not of man trying to help himself , the person he victimized and people he disappointed heal.

Personally I’d like to see him embed himself in the lives of young people who really could use a helping hand. I’d like to see him take time and maybe write a book reflecting his time away from the spotlight and showing how he’s grown from this mistake. In any case I wish Brown much luck.. From what I’m seeing and the sense I get I don’t think this Larry King interview helped him much.

something to ponder

-Davey D-



Chris Brown needs therapy, not media redemption tour

A sorry sight

By Lauren Beckham Falcone

Chris Brown needs to quit his redemption tour.

The 20-year-old r & b singer, arrested for bloodying, beating and biting former girlfriend and pop star Rihanna in February, spent his first week on probation doing the media mea culpa thing, appearing on “Larry King Live” tonight and in People magazine Friday.

But instead of appearing contrite, he comes across as a classic abuser.

In a clip released Monday by CNN, Larry King asks Brown, “Do you remember doing it?”

Brown: “No.”

“You don’t remember doing it?”

“I don’t. I don’t. It’s like crazy to me. I’m like, ‘wow.


Brown, in a matching blue sweater and bow tie ensemble, looks like a toddler on his way to the Sears Portrait Studio – and is about as articulate.

Flanked by his mother, a victim of domestic violence, and celebrity attorney Mark Geragos, who was last seen representing baby-and-wife-killer Scott Peterson, Brown sinks even lower, taking the passive view of the assault that turned him into the Millennial generation’s Ike Turner.

“When I look at it now, it’s just like, wow, like, I can’t – I can’t believe that – that actually happened.”

“That,” by the way, is shorthand for back-seat beatdown.

Meanwhile, Toni Troop, spokeswoman for Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, wasn’t surprised by Brown’s convenient amnesia.

“We have heard all too often the denial, the dismissal, the lack of taking responsibility, the turning the tables, the justification of the outbursts,” she said.

What Brown can’t seem to recall is pretty unforgettable:

“Brown … shoved (Rihanna’s) head against the passenger window of the vehicle … punched her in the left eye,” according to the police report. “(He) … continued to punch her in the face … (causing) her mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle. Brown … stated “I am going to beat the (expletive) out of you when we get home … placed her in a head lock … bit her on her left ear … punching her in the face and arms applying pressure to her left and right carotid arteries causing her to be unable to breath … she began to lose consciousness … bit her left ring and middle fingers … continued to punch her on legs and feet.”

By the way, this was the third such incident.

Brown issued a statement yesterday claiming CNN took his words out of context. Too late.

In both the statement and the “Larry King” segment, Brown’s sincerity is like, crazy to me, it’s like, wow.

Brown should take a break from the talk show circuit, get some therapy and return to the spotlight when he has something meaningful – and sincere – to say.

Anything else is just a slap in the face

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Chris Brown Publicly Apologizes to Rihanna & His Fans



Chris Brown offered up what appears to be a sincere and heartfelt apology to Rihanna and his fans

Chris Brown offered up what appears to be a sincere and heartfelt apology to Rihanna and his fans

In a video that appeared online late Monday afternoon (July 20), Chris Brown has apologized publicly for the first time about the domestic altercation that took place between him and Rihanna earlier this year.

In the clip, obtained by MTV News, Brown, dressed in a red long-sleeve shirt with buttons on the front, spoke directly to the camera and apologized to his former girlfriend and his fans.

“I’ve told Rihanna countless times and I’m telling you today, I’m truly, truly sorry that I wasn’t able to handle the situation both differently and better,” Brown said.

At the beginning of the two-minute clip, Brown explains that his attorneys advised him to not speak about the situation until the legal ramifications were settled. But Brown said that ever since the February incident, he’s wanted to speak about the matter. The singer expressed his “deepest regret” over the fight and said he “accepts full responsibility” for the incident.

According to the police report, on the eve of the 2009 Grammy Awards, Brown and Rihanna engaged in an altercation that left the “Umbrella” star with facial contusions. Just last month, Brown pleaded guilty to one count of felony assault. The singer will attend anger-management courses, seek therapy and perform community labor as a result of his plea deal.

Toward the end of the apology, Brown continues to express remorse. The singer said up until the incident, he was living his life in a way that would make those around him proud. Through soul searching, he said, and help from his minister and mother, Brown intends to work on himself and gain forgiveness for his actions.

“I only can pray that you forgive me, please,” he said to his fans.

Below is the video:

source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1616575/20090720/brown__chris__18_.jhtml 

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner