Life Isn't Fair, and Chris Brown Is Here to Stay

There's a reason Brown isn't going anywhere. Click here for more photos.
There's a reason Brown isn't going anywhere. Click here for more photos.
Photo by George Martinez

Your dog, no matter how much you love it, is going to die — maybe peacefully in its sleep or perhaps twitching in agony on hot pavement beside a gurgling Ford F-150. Cookies go stale, and parents get divorced. The person in front of you in line — the rude, obnoxious one yelling into a cell phone — will buy the last ticket to that movie you’ve been dying to see. That girl you love, she doesn’t love you back.

Life, simply put, is not fair.

And there is perhaps no better living example of this fact, at least in the music industry, than Chris Brown. Since February 8, 2009, the 26-year-old singer has been one of the most hated celebrities on this planet, right up there with Lord Voldemort. Though, unlike Voldemort, Brown has persevered through it all, seemingly immune to any spell or potion the Dumbledores of this world throw his way.

We could go on about what he did to deserve the world’s vitriol, but surely you know by now. If you don’t, here’s a police report for you to read.

It’s been nearly seven years since the defining incident of Brown’s career. And he’s as big as ever.

On Thursday, September 3, Brown brought his friends along to the American Airlines Arena for his One Hell of a Nite tour. After the openers were done, the lights cut out and a video of Brown leading a backstage prayer circle played on the big screens behind and above the stage.

Then it was showtime, and as he was lifted slowly into sight, a row of flames flickered in front of him, an obvious metaphor. 

From the depths of the AAA, Brown emerges.
From the depths of the AAA, Brown emerges.
Photo by George Martinez

See, Brown knows that so many people hate him. Despite the album and ticket sales, he’s reminded on a near daily basis. His attitude toward the whirlwind of animosity can essentially be boiled down to this: Get over it.

"How much remorse am I going to be able to show?” he said in an interview on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club in February. “It's been damn near ten years. I just feel like, if you're not going to get over it, you're never going to get over it.”

And he has a point there. It’s a small malformed point, runny and uncertain, like an undercooked egg — but a point nonetheless. Brown did deserve a second chance. Most people deserve second chances. But what Brown doesn't seem to understand is that he did have his second chance. And third. And fourth and fifth, and I’m bad at math, but he’s on, like, his 73rd at this point.

Brown had the opportunity to turn his life around and show us this wasn't who he was. He could have worked tirelessly to rectify his mistakes, make the world a better place, and, as he promised in an apology video posted after he was charged with felony assault in 2009, “live my life so that I am truly worthy of the term ‘role model.’”

Instead, he found himself in violent altercation after violent altercation, fighting Frank Ocean and throwing chairs backstage at Good Morning America, scaring the bejesus out of national treasure Robin Roberts in the process.

But back at the AAA, Chris Brown has the near-capacity crowd in the palm of his hands. And this shouldn’t surprise you at all, because life — as we said earlier — is not fair. That’s why Joe Nobody in South Dakota can lead a kind, noble life and still get diagnosed with lung cancer at age 38 despite never having touched a cigarette in his life.

Fans pose with a cardboard Chris Brown.
Fans pose with a cardboard Chris Brown.
Photo by George Martinez

Bad guys win. Superhero movies have conditioned us to think the opposite, but in a more realistic alternate universe, Batman is face-down in a ditch while Gotham burns to the ground.

It’s actually an essential life lesson, the inequality of life, and it should be taught as early as possible. We should wheel Chris Brown into kindergarten classes and have him steal everyone’s apple juice before spitting on the class’ pet hamster and moonwalking out of the room, middle fingers in the air.

Brown’s shirt comes off at 10 p.m. sharp, about halfway through the show, and the crowd screams like they’ve just been poked with a hot fork.

At one point, his dancers, around ten in total, circle him like sharks while riding those hoverboard things that seem to be so popular these days. One of Brown’s male dancers then props the hoverboard up vertically and pretends to fuck it for a solid 15 seconds. I couldn’t decide what this really had to do with the article, but I promised myself I’d mention it, so here we are.

Brown can certainly dance, and his show is as fun to watch as it is conflicting. Talent is democratic and undeniable.

There’s a boy next to me who can’t be any older than 10. He was probably learning how to use a toilet when America encountered its first round of Chris Brown hullabaloo. 

Screams fill the arena with each dance move.
Screams fill the arena with each dance move.
Photo by George Martinez

He’s standing on his chair to get a better look, which still leaves him only a few inches taller than those around him. His mother bought a Chris Brown poster from a vendor who was hawking them up and down the aisle. Now the boy is holding it tightly against his hip.

On the poster, Brown is looking down at his near-perfect physique and massive penis (it is — Google it) like, Yeah, I can’t believe it either.

As the concert winds down, French Montana makes an appearance. Lil Wayne, wearing dark sunglasses and clutching his omnipresent Styrofoam cup, comes wobbling out as well, adding weight to my theory that he's just an elaborate Weekend at Bernie's-type scheme at this point.

Brown closes with his most infuriating hit to date, "Loyal." He leads into it by showing a viral video that's made its way around the web. It shows an outdoor class of children in what looks to be India learning English by repeating the chorus of the song over and over again. It's equal parts funny and disturbing.

The boy is back atop his seat now after taking a three-song rest.

"Loyal" ends, and Brown is the last to leave the stage. He bids us farewell, and there is no encore. We all flock to the exits, back to our humble homes, where we’ll sleep on sheets with modest thread counts, and toil away the rest of the days we have left until we all get zapped to a nuclear dust thanks to President Trump's World War III. 

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AmericanAirlines Arena - Waterfront Theatre

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