Dear Chris Brown: People Will Get Over You And Rihanna If You Allow Them To Get Over You And Rihanna

Michael Kovac/Getty Images
Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Hey Breezy. How are you today? I know you didn't ask, but I'm doing fine. It was cold as balls last weekend in Pittsburgh, but it seems to be warming up, and I'm enjoying this nice fall day. BTW, why do we say "cold as balls"? Aren't balls typically warm? I mean, even when it's super cold outside, I at least know my balls will be warm. My balls are like an electric blanket or a Megabus bathroom.


Anyway, I'm not writing to you to talk about testicle heat retention. Instead, I'm going to ask you do to something for me. Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to play the New York Jets. The Steelers are on a roll and the Jets suck, so the Steelers should win, but forget about that. Instead, I want you to focus on the guy who began the season as the backup quarterback to Geno Smith, but is now starting: Michael Vick. I want you to watch the pregame shows when they preview this game. I want you to pay attention to the play-by-play guy and the color guy when they talk about Vick. I want you to scan the crowd for their reactions when Vick does something positive. I want you to listen to the sideline reporter talk to Vick. I even want you to watch the postgame show.

Most importantly, I want you to pay close attention to what none of these people will talk about, mention, hint at, or even allude to. Michael Vick's arrest, suspension, and imprisonment seven years ago for his role in creating a multi-state dog-fighting.

Now, all of these people — each of the analysts, fans, and reporters — are aware of Vick's history. They know most of the sordid details, and were likely disappointed in and possibly even disgusted by him. But now, seven years later, he's just a backup quarterback on a bad team; a past his prime star who still occasionally shows flashes from his past, and he's treated as such. Granted, there are going to be some people who will just never get past Vick's past, but they don't matter anymore. Plus, at this point, there's nothing he can say or do to sway them, so fuck em. Again, they don't matter anymore.

Why don't they matter anymore? Because there's just not enough of them left. Why aren't there enough of them left? Because, since his release from prison, he hasn't given them anything. No stories about him beating up a cat. No screencaps of him leaving threatening messages on a dog's Instagram page. No public quotes about why he hates Scooby Doo. He's also done all of the right things. Supported the right charities, appeared at the right events, been in the right commercials, listened to the right people. He's distanced himself so much from what happened in 2007 that only the tiny amount of people with enough stamina to care about it still care about it. Most others just stopped caring because he's given them no reason to continue to care.

Why does this matter? Well, last week, you appeared on Hot 97 and said you think people should be over your assault of Rihanna by now.  You were a kid (19) and this happened several years ago. People should have forgiven you by now.

And, you know what? I agree! You were a kid! This did happen several years ago! And you did face some legal consequences over what happened! Again, you are right! Most people should have forgiven you by now. Or least stopped bringing it up every time you're being interviewed. But there's one problem here:


You won't let people forget about and forgive you for that violent incident because, every other month or so, you do something that reminds people of it. There are too many instances to list. There's the lightskint brawl you and Drake were a part of that managed to be so wild that it almost ended the career of another lighskint superstar who just happened to be there. There's your series of unfortunate tweets that someone really needs to be fired over. And, just yesterday (Yesterday!), three days after your plea for people to move on, there's your Instagram tirade against Adrienne Bailon and Tamar Braxton for their comments about you on The Real — a show I didn't even know existed until yesterday.


Bailon and Braxton may very well be hypocrites. And Bailon might be "trout-mouthed." Who knows? What I do know is that a person wanting people to move past his history of antagonism towards women probably shouldn't be so publicly antagonistic towards women. Because acts like this prove you haven't really matured and that you haven't actually gotten past what you want everyone else to get past.

Basically, instead of following Michael Vick's script, you're following R. Kelly's. And no one follows R. Kelly. Unless, of course, they want chlamydia.


Anyway, Breezy, it might not seem like it, but there are a lot of people criticizing you now who actually want to root for you. Who want to see you genuinely changed and matured. Who want to see you finally become a man. Who want to be able to say "You know what? What he did when he was 19 was awful and inexcusable. But, since then, he seems to be sincerely contrite" but can't because you keep fucking it up. Because everyone — even the most ardent cynics and critics — loves a good redemption story…as long as the protagonist appears to be redeemed.

You don't have to believe me, though. Just watch the Jets play the Steelers this weekend and see for yourself.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



I mean, I don't see the big deal. People gotta remember that CB is human too. He's prolly fed up to *here* wit folks discussing his bizness, so he blasted them hoes. He just did what a lot of celebrities wish they could do when it comes to interviewers, gossip mongers, Wendy Williams, et al. So I for one, am willing to give him a pass on this one. He didn't put his hands on anyone or vandalize anything. He used his words. It's not his fault that sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword. Cuz boy, dis he roast those chicks! Loooool