Three years after he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend, singer Rihanna, after a pre-Grammys party, Chris Brown has apparently been released from official pop-star probation. Last night the singer received his first Grammy Award, when his album “F.A.M.E. “was named best R&B album.
The singer was also given not one but two coveted performance spots on the telecast. He danced acrobatically around a towering stage of boxes while lip-syncing his songs “Turn Up the Music” and “Beautiful People.” He returned later to perform with a number of DJs and other artists, including deadmau5 and Lil Wayne, in a dance-music medley.
Brown said nothing about his past deeds as he accepted the award on the telecast, with his shirt buttoned low to partially reveal his tattooed chest. “I’m nervous. I don’t know what to say,” he said, after thanking God “and the Grammys for letting me get on this stage.” He gave a shout-out to “Team Breezy,” a.k.a. his fans, then quickly left the stage.
While the crowd at the Staples Center applauded him warmly, some folks in the Twitterverse were less ready to forgive and forget.
“You had an opportunity to thank the public for giving you a second chance at a career,” said one of the more polite Tweets, from Tony Vincent @TVOfficial. “You should be ashamed man.”
“Chris Brown just won a Grammy for best domestic abuse on a pop vocalist,” tweeted DJKurse.
Rihanna also performed in a medley with the band Coldplay.
Brown’s redemption seemed particularly striking in the context of Whitney Houston’s death. Houston also had been in an abusive relationship, with her ex-husband, Bobby Brown.
Brown was supposed to perform at the 2009 Grammys. Instead he turned himself into police that day after a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Police had been called to Hancock Park in the early hours of that day after Brown beat Rihanna in a parked car after the couple had attended a pre-Grammy party; the police report said the victim had “visible injuries.” He pleaded guilty to a felony and issued a video apologizing for his conduct.
Brown was up against a relatively weak field of contenders in the R&B album category: El DeBarge, R. Kelly, Ledisi and Kelly Price. He had also been nominated for best rap performance and rap song but lost those to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Otis” and West’s “All of the Lights,” respectively. Rihanna is one of the singers on “All of the Lights.” That award was not presented on the telecast.