How Chris Brown remains popular

Sarah Barrett

Chris Brown started his musical career singing in a local church choir and participating in several talent shows. He signed to Jive Records in 2004 and released his self-titled debut studio album the following year, which reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

At the beginning, he flourished in the charts and attained impressive success, up until the incident with Rihanna in 2009 in which he was charged with assault. The domestic abuse case shattered his public persona and the media has cracked down on his public image ever since. Not one to be shy of controversy, he has been faced with multiple drug charges, he punched fellow artist Frank Ocean in the face over a car parking space, and most recently he was detained for a rape charge in Paris.

He has been involved in several beefs with other celebrities, including hip-hop sensation Drake. He has arguably become more synonymous for his beefing than for his music  since he went from superstar to media bad boy. The question remains, with all the negativity and heinous crimes, why has Chris Brown remained popular? Chris has been a central member of the Hip Hop and RnB community since the early 2000’s. Back then, one could not go in to a local nightclub without hearing one of his hits blaring through speakers like Kiss Kiss or With You.  He became an icon known for his use of autotune and style meshing Hip Hop, RnB and Dance.

During the aftermath of the incident with his then girlfriend, Rihanna, Chris maintained a loyal fanbase who flocked to defend him. He has had a number of celebrities rooting for him. He tweets irrationally and makes cocaine fueled content. Chris recently reignited his bromance with Drake having attended his New Years Eve party.

Focusing on his music, his lyrics are extremely basic and he never pens his own tunes. Last year in 2018, he featured on a song with Lil Dicky and starred alongside influencer, Kendall Jenner, who faced backlash for appearing in the video with him. With fans stating ‘’please don’t support an abuser’.

In June 2016, Irish fans of the singer watched him perform in the 3 Arena, onlookers reported that Chris was terrible vocally live, but an incredible dancer.  Has his career become invincible? That literally nothing will shatter his reputation, to the point his PR team declare it irreparable. These days he relies heavily on features on other artist’s tracks, and other collaborations to stay relevant and keep his name in the public domain. As long as he puts out content, he will always have fans. Careers don’t vanish just because consumers don’t like the artist or their wrongdoings. As long as he continues to put out music, people will keep buying it.

There are no moral police in the industry who regulate who is or who isn’t allowed to be famous in the entertainment industry. Brown has appeared in his own documentary on Netflix, Welcome to My Life, which features celebrities like DJ Khaled and Jennifer Lopez talking about him in a positive light.

As long as people continue to give Chris Brown a platform, he shall remain popular and relevant in music, continuing to win Grammys, release clothing lines, have nightclub appearances, rank at the top of the charts. A controversial character that still has appeal to mainstream audiences. Society will continue to separate the artist from his art.

Sarah Barrett

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