From Bobby Brown To Chris Brown: The Grammy’s Domestic Violence Amnesia
1:51 pm, February 13th | by Amy Tennery
The Grammy’s executive producer Ken Ehrlich was on the defensive this morning. His choice to bring controversial singer Chris Brown on to perform during the awards show last night — not once, but twice! — has drawn considerable ire for obvious reasons.
And how did Ehrlich defend his choice? By telling CBS “This Morning” that Brown “deserve[d] a second chance.” How Ehrlich decided he was in a place to make that call is anyone’s guess. (For what it’s worth, as one columnist for the Philly Mag noted, Ehrlich has some seriously whackadoo attitudes about Brown — like his belief that the Grammys “were the victim of what happened” during Brown’s assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna three years ago. I think one or two people might beg to differ.)
Ehrlich also noted that he was “rooting for” Brown, who (by the way) is still on probation after pleading guilty to felony assault in 2009. Perhaps, as Brown’s probation officer noted three days ago, Ehrlich is pleased to know that Brown has completed half of his court-assigned community service, the result of his assault that, according to a police report filed at the time, “caused [Rihanna's] mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter over her clothing and the inside of the car.”
But while everyone knew about Brown’s scheduled performance beforehand, the tragic death of Whitney Houston the day before the Grammys added another layer to his controversial appearance. And the decision to follow Jennifer Hudson’s stirring tribute to Houston with a electro-dance performance that included (yep) Chris Brown suggests a willful amnesia among Grammy organizers.
Did it occur to no one that following the memorial performance for Houston — a woman whose own husband was arrested in 2003 for allegedly striking her in the face and threatening that he was going to “beat her ass” — with a performance that included a guy who’s currently on probation for domestic violence maybe wasn’t a such a great idea? Or has everyone forgotten the day Houston showed up to Bobby Brown’s ensuing court appearance with a bruised face?
Yes, Houston stayed with Brown (for a few more years) and yes, Bobby Brown was “very apologetic” at the time about his altercation with his then-wife. But where are the boundaries of second chances? The juxtaposition of those two performances, one mourning the tragic loss of an icon, the other celebrating the resurrection of Chris Brown’s career, is shocking.
Would it have been that difficult to put more than a handful of minutes in between those two performances? Or, heck, even a few more years?