Exactly one year ago, Chris Brown was undeniably one of Pop music’s most prolific young stars. From monster hit singles to sold out tours, it seemed that everything this energetic entertainer touched turned into gold (or platinum). Heralded as Billboard’s ‘Artist of the Year’ in 2008, the star was primed to dominate the charts once again in 2009. However, 12 months later, Brown’s name has become synonymous with everything but success.
Embroiled in a highly publicised controversy surrounding allegations of domestic abuse with his equally famous former girlfriend, Rihanna, Brown has unceremoniously fallen from grace; cast out of the court of public favour. Furthermore, the countless apologies issued by the singer through the mass media have fallen on deaf ears; his efforts ridiculed and his words mocked by audiences around the world.
Nevertheless, Brown continued to pursue his music career, releasing his 3rd studio album, ‘Graffiti’. This too, however, failed to sway the public’s opinion of the singer. Despite rigorous attempts to promote the project with his sold-out ‘Fan Appreciation Tour’, double-single releases and big-budget videos, his album was the worst received record of the year by critics and debuted with the lowest sales of his career to date. It seemed that no matter how hard the young performer tried, he was unable to separate his personal life from his professional endeavours in the eyes of the public.
In light of this, the following questions are raised: should Brown be blacklisted because of his past indiscretions? Should his personal life dictate the direction of his career? Countless singers, including Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and Whitney Houston, have faced career-crippling problems in the past yet have managed to regain their place at the top of the charts. In contrast, given the gravity of Brown’s situation and the increasingly powerful influence of the mass media, the odds of audiences appreciating his music, regardless of his personal issues, are quite slim indeed.