As Chris Brown's Album Looks Set To Top The Charts, We Ask: Why Are Fans Forgiving Him?

05 July 2012 by

Who could forget the picture of Rihanna taken after she had been beaten up by Chris Brown? Bloodied, swollen and tear-strewn, it was a horrible shock to see a familiar, famous face in such an awful state. It was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons, and yet Brown's fans appear to have wiped the incident from their collective memory. Guardian writer Rosie Swash asks how his fans can forgive and forget such an act...

Brown's latest album, Fortune, is on course to go to number one in the UK charts next week, and the army of young women that make up his hardcore fanbase have been tweeting like crazy about their 'idol', calling themselves #TeamBreezy. But why would anyone idolise a man who hit a woman? Well, despite being only 23-year-old, Chris Brown has been around for the best part of a decade, and his fans have been with him since day one. Some of them were barely into their teens when he first hit the pop scene and they're barely out of them now. As his career has grown, so it has become more apparent that he is unrivalled in pop - much as it kills me to say it, no other black male R&B singer of his generation has been able to compete with his commercial success (except perhaps Drake, who infamously became involved in a fight with Brown earlier this year). In terms of his position in the pop world, Brown is the male Rihanna. With his career legacy and a pop market lacking in other options, his fans stick to Brown like glue.

And when it comes to defending him, those fans will tell you everyone makes mistakes. They'll tell the media that critics ignore the talent and make personal jibes over an incident that, they may also tell you, was partly Rihanna's fault. Be prepared to be labelled a 'hater', a defence tactic the R&B star has stuck to since day one (day one being that time he repeatedly punched Rihanna in the face and promised to 'beat the shit' out of her when they got home), and a tedious but convenient way for the Team Breezy fans to be galvanised into unquestioning support for the singer.

Personally, I find it depressing that the language and the mindset employed by Brown's fans mirrors that of many domestic violence victims who defend their attacker.

One record industry insider I spoke to compared the media handling of his relationship with Rihanna as providing an almost 'fictional narrative for his young fans to cling on to', one that seemed far removed from the realities of domestic violence. That seems plausible when you take into consideration Rihanna's own father has told journalists he thinks his daughter should give Chris another go, an attitude so mystifying you can't believe it's real. But the terrifying thing isn't that his fans have forgiven him, it's that they never stopped believing in him in the first place.


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Alexis Brown (Thu Jul 05 17:31:09 BST 2012): You are still living in the past lady.and you are definitely biased.Pick on someone else or better still go to Africa and cover an issue about the drought epidemic.
Lonan Jones (Thu Jul 05 18:55:23 BST 2012): Cheryl Cole was #1 and assaulted someone. ignorance
Benny Williams (Thu Jul 05 19:11:37 BST 2012): Dear Grazia, what you're basically talking about in article is what happened in 2009 with Chris Brown & Rihanna. Yes, he made a huge mistake when he hit her, we get the point. But the thing that you and the other article writers I've seen on google still don't understand to this day, is that Chris Brown said he's sorry many times for his mistakes. He's still trying to rebuild his career, but he can't if people like you are still judging him. If you want to talk about male celebrities who hit women in the past, talk about Jay-Z in 2004, and again in 2006 in africa. Maybe Sean Penn, Eminem, Charlie Sheen, or O.J. Simpson. Each and everyone of these men hit women, but they been forgiven by millions of people on god's given earth. Now if they could forgiven for the mistakes they made, why can't Chris Brown be forgiven? Rihanna forgave him, and so did everyone else. He deserves a second chance just like everybody else in the world. So what I'm saying is stop the negativity and hate. - B.W.
Tatyanna Brown (Thu Jul 05 19:25:04 BST 2012): Well said!
Shaima Islam (Sun Jul 08 11:26:52 BST 2012): Wow I have never seen any pictures and Cheryl did some damage!!
Mikelina Hourdas (Wed Jul 11 06:01:58 BST 2012): cheryl cole or chris brown...don't give a shit. I admire them for their music and performance abilities. therefore I will respect them as artists and entertainers. the same way I did with MJ when he was accused of being a pedophile. if you're a true fan, you stick by the artists because they delivered what makes you a happy consumer :) no matter what, I can only dream of having as comfortable a life as they do in terms of finance and luxuries. that's why I use them as examples because they didn't get anywhere with a silver spoon in their mouth :) Breezy forever <3 :)
Skefos Tsoukalis (Wed Jul 11 07:33:19 BST 2012): Isn't this the guy that beat Rhianna up and put her in hospital... Yep the guy is a true inspiration...
Mikelina Hourdas (Wed Jul 11 07:35:14 BST 2012): every day fella is also a wife beater...point made. i like his music and his talent. never said i would love to be his besty lol