Will Chris Brown's apology to Rihanna put him back in awards' good graces?
Chris Brown has apologized to his one-time girlfriend Rihanna in a two-minute video released by his record label Monday. At the start of the statement, Chris Brown says he was told by his lawyers to keep quiet until his legal case was settled. He goes on to say, "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."
On June 22, Chris Brown pled guilty to the charge of felony assault for an altercation in February which left Rihanna battered and bruised. Brown must complete six months of community service in his home state of Virginia. And he is serving five years on supervised probation with quarterly California court visits and must complete a domestic violence counseling program.
Addressing his fans, Brown says, "As many of you know, I grew up in a home where there was domestic violence, and I saw first-hand what uncontrolled rage could do. I have sought and I am continuing to seek help to ensure that what occurred in February can never happen again."
Brown closes his video statement by saying, "I intend to live my life so that I am truly worthy of the term 'role model.' " With his admission in court last month, Brown tarnished his carefully cultivated image as a teen idol. His core fans were young girls who swooned over his boy-next-door good looks and charm.
Soon after the Feb. 8 incident, Brown was in contention for the third year in a row as favorite male singer at the Kids' Choice Awards. However, in the face of mounting negative attention, he eventually withdrew from the race. Brown won the award last year after losing to Justin Timberlake in 2007. This year he was nominated against 2006 winner Jesse McCartney, Kid Rock and T-Pain.
Brown and Rihanna were the top male and female pop singles artists in America last year and both were nominated for multiple Grammy Awards, even facing off for the second year in a row in a collaboration category. Their relationship ended just hours before the Grammys Awards ceremony.
The pair had spent the preceding evening together at the star-studded party thrown annually by recording executive Clive Davis. Then early Sunday morning, Brown assaulted Rihanna as they drove home. Brown canceled his appearance on that night's kudocast where he was scheduled to perform "Forever."
The Grammy Award – the music industry's highest honor – has eluded Brown. Last year, Rihanna and Jay-Z won the best rap/sung collaboration Grammy for "Umbrella" over, among others, Brown and T-Pain for "Kiss Kiss." This year, they competed against each other for the pop vocal collaboration Grammy. Brown and Jordin Sparks were nominated for "No Air" while Rihanna and Maroon 5 were up for "If I Never See Your Face Again." Both duos lost to the night's big winners Robert Plant and Allison Kraus for "Rich Woman."
Brown remains a Grammy loser despite five nominations. Besides those two collaboration defeats, he also lost R&B male vocal for "Take You Down" to Ne-Yo ("Miss Independent") this year while last year he also lost best contemporary R&B album for his self-titled debut to Ne-Yo ("Because of You") as well as best new artist to Carrie Underwood.
Now tinged by scandal, can Brown ever win with the Grammys? The recording academy represents the more conservative wing of the music industry. As such, it doesn't like to give awards to people who reflect poorly upon the profession. An antiestablishment spirit is tolerated in certain genres – such as rap and rock – and sometimes even celebrated, because edginess drives mass music sales.
But the Grammys remain wary of the more rebellious recording stars. The rap artists who win with the Grammys are of the Will Smith and Jay-Z variety (four Grammys each), rather than the likes of Snoop Dog or Notorious B.I.G. (none). When gangsta rappers do triumph, they tend to be of the establishment kind like Dr. Dre (four).
Just a few years ago, music critics widely hailed 50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Trying" as the best disc of the year, but its music couldn't break into the top Grammy races. 50 Cent has been nominated for Grammys but only in second-tier slots. He's never won any of these bids. And when he was nominated for best new artist of 2004, he lost to Evanescence.
Photo: Zomba / Jive Records
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