Chris Brown and the Grammys: Forgive and Forget?

The Grammy Awards did themselves a disservice last night.

On a night where a young woman triumphed, taking home the award for every category where she was nominated; on a night where the music industry mourned one of their own, a woman whose own demons — and those of her ex-husband — ultimately may have killed her, the Grammys instead of performing lasting tributes to these amazing voices instead chose to give the stage to a domestic abuser.

It’s notorious now. Chris Brown, on the eve of these same Grammy awards in 2009, violently assaulted his girlfriend Rihanna. The photographs of her injuries shocked and horrified all those who saw them. Brown initially denied all charges, including felony assault and making criminal threats, but eventually pleaded guilty. He is still serving probation for those attacks — the probation being, in fact, the “harshest” part of his sentence.  Brown has been denied entry into Britain due to this conviction in a serious felony case. He has previously claimed to “not remember” the incident, and also claims that’s “not who he is” as a person — two hallmarks of someone who has not taken responsibility for their own actions.

And yet last night, after dropping him like a hot potato in 2009, the Grammys rolled out the red carpet for him in 2012. He performed not once but twice, and took home an award. All in all, Brown got more scheduled airtime than Adele — who won six Grammys and who herself was a true comeback story after having risky throat surgeryor Whitney Houston — the soulful songstress whose power ballads romanced an entire generation until her downfall into a violent marriage and drug addiction sidelined what should have been a long and glorious career. Let me repeat that: the man convicted of domestic abuse got more attention than the woman who had BEEN abused, and got touted as a bigger comeback than the woman who nearly lost her voice but came back to win six Grammys.

The Grammys organizers, far from thinking that there was anything wrong with giving a domestic abuser center stage, actually welcomed him back with wide open arms — and amazingly, posed themselves as the victims. Executive Producer of the Grammys, Ken Erlich, incredibly told ABC news radio last week that “I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.”

Excuse me? Who, exactly, was the victim? You’re telling me you think that rich music executives and self-congratulatory awards show producers were the victims here?

I think Rihanna might have something to say about that.

And what of Rihanna herself? She performed admirably last night on the stage she — incredibly — had to share with her abuser. It must have been inconvenient for all involved, given they’re not permitted to be within 10 yards of each other at industry events. And maybe that restriction should have given organizers a little pause. Hmm… you really think this is a good idea, guys?

The Grammys should have taken a higher road. They should have sent the message that domestic violence is not acceptable. They should have figured out that showcasing a violent abuser while at the same time purporting to mourn a woman who was herself a victim of domestic violence makes no sense. They should not have asked a young female artist to share a stage with her abuser. And they should have a little more common sense than to pose themselves as the “victims” of anything except their own bad judgment.

The music industry: Where accidental nipple exposures will end your career, but domestic abuse felony convictions are no big thing — in fact, they’re a big joke.


Related Posts:

Proposed UK Law Would Help Protect Women from Serial Domestic Abusers

Judge Sentences Domestic Abuser To Take His Wife To Dinner

Love is Respect: February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month


Photo Credit: Christopher Macsurak on Flickr.


Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Brian M.
Past Member 6 years ago

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, "Three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day in America, on average."
( )

Please take a moment to support the Violence Against Women Act. "Republicans are now standing in the way of reauthorizing an incredibly popular and successful program that has reduced domestic violence rates by 58% since it was first passed in 1994." Sign the petition at:

Lidia F.
Lidia E F6 years ago

Interesting how all of you loath him for being an 'abuser',yet all of 'YOU' are 'ABUSING ME' for
that 'WITCH MARIE BROOKS'.What in 'gods' green earth is the frigging difference between what he and countless men and women do towards their partners,and what MARIE BROOKS has society doing to me?.All of us promote abuse on all levels,and yet for some,we tend to deny,and argue the point of some famous person being the victim.Shame on all of us.We are what we judge of another,and until you people face that what MARIE BROOKS has you doing towards me is..................'VERY WRONG',ABUSE WILL CONTINUE ON OUR PLANET,AND NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO SAY A DAMN THING ABOUT ...'HIM'.Harumpppppppppp......I smell a 'RAT'.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim6 years ago

Brown needs to leave the industry. I don't understand how people still like him...

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Brown is pathetic and so are the Grammy's. Don't watch or listen to either. I vote with my wallet. Won't give a dime to anyone I don't respect.

Jackie Agusta
Jackie Agusta6 years ago

I was surprised to Chris Brown on stage, I do believe in second chances though and lets face it, it's only a matter of time before he does it again :-(

Racquelle Pilon
Racquelle Pilon6 years ago

@Meredith S. Completely agree...well said

alissa a.
alissa A6 years ago

For those people who keep wanting to cut Chris Brown some slack because he was 19 when he nearly killed Rihanna, read the actual police report - a simple Google search will get you a link. There's some scary stuff there. He didn't just punch her (bad enough) or slap her, he did all that, slammed her head against the car window and put her in a headlock, while gripping her around the throat with his hands. In other words, choking her.

Just because he was 19 does not mean he should get off lightly. Just because he was 19 does not mean at some point, he wouldn't get counselling and learn to deal with his anger issues and express remorse for his actions. What it means is that he was given probation until 2014 and nobody seems to remember that except, apparently, the British government. No one seems to remember there is a VICTIM involved here. No one seems to care that there is a restraining order. And certainly, no one seems to care that this is not the type of person who should be held up as a musical hero to the public.

Jan N.
Jan N6 years ago

Forget? Probably not. Forgive? Up to the individual. I do have problem with the people who want to persecute Chris Brown for the rest of his life for what he did when he was 19. Rihanna appears to have moved on, perhaps they need to as well.

Christine Stewart

I read that some twitter follower of Chris Brown was disparaging Rhianna for pressing charges - saying that she (the twitter follower) wouldn't mind getting beat up by Chris Brown. Unbelievable! A man doesn't love you or respect you if he beats you up...