Going for It: Rapid Reinvention

Chris Brown's reinvention ploy

I'm blogging late because I had an Internet lesson. Working on Twitter, etc. Then I had to edit the bloggers and career coach, answer 100 phone calls, respond to dozens of e-mails. You know. Life in the tech age is so complex. Sigh.

Speaking of sighing, did you catch Chris Brown on the BET Awards last night? Let me say that I am not a Chris Brown basher. I was upset with him for the domestic violence incident, but I think he has been taken to the woodshed enough that he has worked on his then-evil ways. I believe in redemption, especially for the young, inexperienced and cocky. I have read the Bible book of Philemon, so I know about forgiveness. 

So, this is not about that.

It's about last night. I understand that Michael Jackson was someone Brown admired. I understand that he studied him and respected his talent. I understand that he was devastated when M.J. died last year at age 50 of a tragic drug overdose, as were we all. I understand that after rehearsing and performing Michael Jackson songs during a BET Awards' tribute to M.J. last night, he might have been emotional. But all those tears were a bit much. I'm about as devoted a Michael Jackson fan as any, but I'm not buying that Chris Brown was close enough to M.J. that the weepy breakdown during his performance of  "Man in the Mirror" was real. I think it was contrived to elicit publicity and sympathy for prior wrongs. Face it, if he had sung the song and not dropped to his knees weeping, he'd be much less the focus of news today.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope that nobody would ever take advantage of us that way. Please let me be wrong. It would be such a shame if I were right.


Avis Thomas-Lester

 |  June 28, 2010; 11:52 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Lunch lesson | Next: Spotlight on author Morgan Bramlet


Please report offensive comments below.

I'm with you Avis. Chris Brown is a manipulative, narcissist who believes he's above the law. He didn't show any remorse for what he did to Rihanna until he realized his career was in jeopardy. His tears may have been real but his intentions were completely self-serving. He could have cried and got it together and continued the song. I agree with you that it was a bit much. As others have pointed out: the reason blacks are so willing to forgive this jerk is because domestic violence is so rampant in the black community. Our children are taught from an early age to settle our differences with our fists instead of our intellect.

Posted by: SandraRose | July 2, 2010 12:04 AM
Report Offensive Comment

In this day and age of REALITY TV shows, I guess we have to ask if tears are "real." But my question is, "What do you mean by REAL?"

I saw the show, the tears looked real to me. Chris appeared to be break-down. Now, I don't believe Chris said WHY he was crying. So where does the questioning of their validity come in to play?

1. He was happy to be back on stage, he has been denied since his Feb. 2009 incident.
2. He actually thought about what the words in "Man in the Mirror" meant, and he felt some kind of way about it.
3. Chris danced too hard...and hurt himself...and charlie horses hurt..
4.His pants were too tight.
5.He was flustered after dancing so hard, and merely forgot the words to "Man In The Mirror."

...I mean I could go on and on. But there are plenty of reasons WHY Chris was crying. Who are we to judge?


READ my story, tell me what you think: "WHY IS CHARLIE SHEEN BETTER THAN CHRIS BROWN?"


Posted by: CONTACTRICHELLER | June 30, 2010 1:18 PM
Report Offensive Comment

to the reporter: Chris is crying for himself and for MJ. You guys are unbelievable. Have you NEVER done anything wrong that you regretted and looked back over your life and weeped for it? I suppose not, because you're 'perfect' people. If there is a God, and I do believe there is -- I wonder what he'll think of your tears - when your time comes? The breakdown of Chris' performance was a compilation of regret and remorse of his previous actions with an all too appropriate song [Man in the Mirror] from his idol. Let it go at that and stop judging haters! Chris, stay positive and real -- God will do the rest. And, oh yeah, so you read the book of Philemon -- great -- but there's also a part of the 'Bible' -- that says be doers not just hearers (or to paraphrase -- just readers...)

Posted by: hensonrb | June 30, 2010 8:20 AM
Report Offensive Comment

whether or not he cried for real is not the point. He has turned this into a pity party and has taken the focus off of the greatest popstar and made this all about Chris "The Tool" Brown. He pick the song "Man in the Mirror" to be about him, plain and simple. This tribute was suppose to be about Michael Jackson, not Chris Brown, he stole that from him to get back in the game. Whether his crying was genuine or not doesn't matter!!

Posted by: islateing | June 29, 2010 2:39 PM
Report Offensive Comment

For GypsyBlues comment...first learn how to spell...and yes Chris is professional i bet you would've broken down to...it's hard not to break down when you're on stage in front of millions and you're singing for someone you care about that has past away.

Posted by: naya24 | June 29, 2010 7:10 AM
Report Offensive Comment

For the people who think this was staged..you should be ashamed of your-selves!!! How dare you think that.. I still grieve over my dad's death and its been 5years. They didn't let Chris perform at the 2009 BET awards because of the rihanna incident so he wasn't there to perform for his favorite pop-stars death... you people cant judge any-body only god can!!! i strongly advise that for all that said this was staged..yall need serious counseling!!!

Posted by: naya24 | June 29, 2010 6:54 AM
Report Offensive Comment

here is the Chris Brown BET break down analyzed with video


Posted by: nineteen80snore | June 29, 2010 1:06 AM
Report Offensive Comment

of coures i cry at sad movies sad things and ..MJ tributes =as huge fan of MJ i bawled my eyes when i head the news of his death and the tears over that loss are never far aweay still=but=i am also a professional singer-who has had to sing at funerals of my mother and a close uncle and for other folks as well=bottom line=you are ntheir to do a tribute to someone who is not only a personal hero but a hero to many=aqs a professional you have to be able to project the emotion but noit allow it to ruin your performance-what he did was actualy embarrassing =and showed disrespect to the memory if Michael jackson the consummate performer =who had to perform der trying emotional circumstances many times himself -tyr perfrominbg for a million folks when you have been accused of a much more heinous crime than than what Chris brown was charged with=yet he reamined professional thruout his own ordeal=-what Chris brown did =for whatever reasons =is something you just do not do it is okay to falter briefly =as did Mariah Carey singing at Mj's meorial in front of his CASKET for god sakes biut she didnt go to those histrionics=if the tears =and being unable to finish properly were real-he should not have takne onthe tribute if he couldnt be professional =and if it was a ploy for sympathy=shame shame shame

Posted by: gypsyblues | June 28, 2010 11:50 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I feel as though Chris was full of emotions due to the fact he was doing a tribute to his idol on top of everything that has happened in his life. If you actually watched the show and still thought it was a publicity stunt, I feel you are the one that needs to check yourself in the mirror. That was sincere as sincere gets hands down. I just dont understand how so many people get thrills out of judging other people. Chris Brown has BEEN through enough, get over it, if you dont know the word forgiveness then I feel as though you need to get the closest dictionary and look it up or grab a bible if you know what that is, but if you are judging him then you probably dont even know what a bible is or havent read one lately. I applaud Chris Brown for the awesome job he did with the tribute. IT was genuine, sincere and heart felt.

Posted by: Dara3 | June 28, 2010 7:22 PM
Report Offensive Comment

here is the Chris Brown BET break down analyzed with video


Posted by: nineteen80snore | June 28, 2010 6:05 PM
Report Offensive Comment

2010 BET Awards show was full of surprises and talent it was a great show but the most touching heartbreaking moment came from Chris Brown. Chris Brown broke down like a baby and those tears were real and we all felt it whether we were there at the show or watching at home. This should be a reminder of someone who was a child when he made a mistake, immediately wanted to rectify the damage and took responsibility and endured being ostracized by public outrage and from members of the industry. He broke down 4 a lot of reasons not only due to the song, MJ, Rhianna, and the fact that a year ago he couldn't pay tribute. Only God can judge and I have unconditional love for that young man. Enough is enough forgive him and let him live his life because Rhianna certainly has. What gives people the right to judge

Posted by: prodigy365 | June 28, 2010 5:54 PM
Report Offensive Comment

All I have to say is Chris Brown destroyed a great song on international TV. What a sinful and selfish thing to do to the memory of Michael Jackson. He could not sing the words to Man in the Mirror because the "heart" controls the mouth and the words were too untrue for his heart to confess.

Posted by: PrimaDiva | June 28, 2010 5:14 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Americans have no right to judge, none of these idiots in media have a right to judge this young man. America has killed thousands of people around the world with their illegal wars, and have never properly investigated and prosecuted the pedos in the Catholic church! Now they want to demonise a young man that has been blacklisted for the past year because of one terrible mistake which he is trying to make right. America, take a hard look it at yourself. You let a self admitted child rapist Polanski have a great movie career in Hollywood 30 years after his crimes, a man who fled the united states instead of facing the music. Bunch of hypocrites

Posted by: dimplecheeks | June 28, 2010 5:01 PM
Report Offensive Comment

So let me get this right. Charlie Sheen beats his wife up and he gets a 1 million dollar tv show and its still running. Sean Penn beats his ex wife and he gets an oscar.. Polanski admits to butt raping a 13 year old girl and flees the country and still manages to have great success in hollywood! Seems Hollywod and the media and the ignorant general American public are very selective in whose career they destroy for their mistakes and who they forgive

Posted by: dimplecheeks | June 28, 2010 4:59 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I cry about the deaths & injuries of people I've never met. I cry during sad movies. I cry when my favorite sports team wins a championship. I cry when a young person in my family graduates from some school--all the way from grade school through to the receipt of their university degrees.

Frankly, I don't care what others think of my tears. Some family & friends call me "too sensitive". But I'm happy that I can still feel something and not become as cold, callous, and cynical as some I know. I wish our political leaders cried about more than just the state of their investment portfolios; but I guess I'm just a hopeless dreamer, too.

If Chris Brown is a faker; then according to that book you referenced, the Bible, he will ultimately be judged by someone whose opinion of the state of his heart is far more meaningful than our own. I've watched more than one performer cry in the midst of singing a song; and if they were acting, so be it--I enjoyed their performances anyway.

Posted by: ksun1 | June 28, 2010 4:25 PM
Report Offensive Comment

First of all I don't like what Chris Brown did to Rhianna because it was wrong. I have seen first hand what happens when a man beats a woman or vice versa. What if I said this article was a fake and I saw similar words on the internet last night,would you be upset with me? Yes, you would. You said you read the Book of Philemon, how about reading the Bible as a whole? Since you claimed to have read Philemon, what else does the Bible say? He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. Why is it that God forgives and people don't? Rhianna has moved on to another girlfriend/wife beater and seem to like people of that kind. What about all the other Domestic violence cases out there(charlie Sheen,Jason Kidd, BeBe Winans, etc.). You all still watch their movies, watch them play sports and buy their music. Maybe, Chris Brown was asking God to forgive him when he fell to his knees. Remember, God had to put Saul on his knees, so maybe he did the same for Chris Brown. I hope I'm not offending anyone, but the Bible says in Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven"(NIV).
We don't why he was crying, but whatever the reason is between him and God. Why was other people that held tributes still crying? I don't know, but they are still crying. Let's move on and ahead.

Ms. B.

Posted by: baps_al | June 28, 2010 4:02 PM
Report Offensive Comment

So let me get this right. Charlie sheen beats his wife and he gets a 1 million dollar tv show and its still running. Sean Penn beat his ex wife and he gest an oscar.. Polanski admits to butt raping a 13 year old girl and flee the country and still manages to have great success in hollywood! Seems Hollywod and the media and Ignorant general American public are very selective in whose career they distroy for their mistakes and who they forgive. The media sucks. Go concentrate on highlighting the child abuses in the catholic church!

Posted by: dimplecheeks | June 28, 2010 3:48 PM
Report Offensive Comment

if any of you who are upset that anyone could doubt the sincerity of Chris Breezy's breakdown last night actually watched the show you would see that preceeding his performance was a commercial for his upcoming MOVIE. he's an actor people. his career has been severely damaged by the rhianna incident and millions of dollars as well as his future in the music business is on the line. Combine that desperation with his team and the marketing minds at Viacom and why wouldn't he take this opportunity to apply his 'craft' to get back in the good graces of the female record buying public that for the most part abandoned him last year. Check out his rant on blogger Sandra Rose to find out how much he has really matured in the past year.

Posted by: DaddyDearest | June 28, 2010 3:41 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Avis Thomas-Lester go lay on a train track and take a nap. The facts in your article are so bass-ackwards I stopped reading it. Chris was emotional because his fans have forgiven and continue to support him. You need to stick with matters that you are knowledgeable about, because you obviously don't know JACK about Chris Brown.

Posted by: d_umpster | June 28, 2010 3:41 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Could this be called his "Jumpimg the Shark" moment?

Posted by: john1411 | June 28, 2010 3:27 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I believe that Chris Brown's performance last night was entirely sincere. I think that he started crying due to the fact that he didn't get to do his tribute to Michael Jackson at the right time because of his behavior. As he he has said many times, Michael Jackson was a major influence among his career. Also, When he was listening to the lyrics he probably felt a connection with the song and the lyrics. They talk about making a change and this is what Chris has been doing for the past year. I already loved Chris Brown, but after this performance, I gained so much more respect for him.

Posted by: lagurl93 | June 28, 2010 3:27 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The words of the song are "I'm starting with the man in the mirror. I'm asking him to change his ways". After all that has gone on with him why wouldn't singing that song, with those words emotionally affect him? I think it's best to look inward and ask yourselves why are you so cynical in the face of someone else's pain? Would you want the same response if you were going through your own redemptive moment?

Posted by: dedeej | June 28, 2010 3:17 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Ms. Thomas-Lester you are at your lowest point of journalism. I hope you will re-write your story to include an interview with Chris Brown. I don't buy your opinions. Just tired of news-people who extend stories on a slow news day.

Posted by: zodwa | June 28, 2010 3:06 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Oh wow! I can't believe that you think Chris Brown's performance wasn't sincere. I have to agree with you Enewton the words of the song and what Chris has been thru along with the death of MJ were the reasons Chris broke down. For those who disagree I have to ask, did you grow up without emotion, without love or under a rock? And for meeganluv82, when was the law for grieving enforced? Are you saying that we only have a certain amount of time to grieve over someone's death? That's just crazy. Chris Brown worked it and I felt his pain. RIP MJ!!

Posted by: dmp30328 | June 28, 2010 2:49 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I think you are crazy to think that it was fake. I cry often when I think about the death of Michael Jackson. This was also something that he wanted to do last year but wasn't aloud to because of his situation with Rihanna.

Secondly, in the U.S. you are innocent until proven guilty. Michael was never convicted of anything. The man that accused him of sexual abuse committed suicide and left a letter apologizing for falsely accusing MJ.

Posted by: greene7 | June 28, 2010 2:39 PM
Report Offensive Comment

To the commenter lusterphillips: Remember that name calling detracts from any argument you are trying to make and gives a less than stellar impression of you.

Posted by: thecanimalshusband | June 28, 2010 2:37 PM
Report Offensive Comment

ENEWTION - I totally agree with what you wrote.
That is one of the most powerful songs written about self awareness. Looking at one's self to start to make a difference MAKE A CHANGE.
I'm quite sure with the emotion that was running high with the performance and the words of THAT song, it envoked more emotions. I felt for him on that stage. There are songs that will take you to a moment in your life and the song seems like it is playing a reel from your life right before your eyes. I've done it and I'm quite sure there are others who have felt that way, too. I say to Chris, thank you for that performance. It was very emotional and heartfelt. Keep living Chris and make that change.

Posted by: jacpenjackson | June 28, 2010 2:37 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I am very disappoint at the AMERICAN people. This is home of the free and the brave, yet Chris is still bound by the people who wont let go of his pass. Rhianna has five new single in a year, appearances on Oprah and a new boyfriend. Chris is supposed to just roll over and die. We have become a country full of unforgiveness and harish judgemental spirits. I know this is your blog and you have it all figured out, but put what you know for a change to th side and really take in what you saw. People couldnt wait to say he was fake. We cant wait to tear someone down. You sould have just said he did a great performance and left it at that. Just wait until you try to do something good and people turn it around on you.

Posted by: mbaker712 | June 28, 2010 2:36 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I think that you are wrong. The tearful breakdown did not have to be about his emotional attachment to Michael Jackson. If you listen to the words of the song its about making a change within yourself. With all the ups and downs he's been through in the past year,I'm sure that it's affected him emotionally. People make mistakes and learn from them. Celebrities have emotions too. Don't be a negative lame.

Posted by: diamond101 | June 28, 2010 2:34 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Ms. Thomas-Lester,

You are an idiot. I should have realized that just by the fact that your name is hypenated. I don't care if it was fake or not, he is great entertainer. Now, I've never been a huge CB fan, but I do respect his talent and he she be judged on that and that alone. He made a mistake and he's paid for it. So, just let it be. If you think it was fake, keep it to yourself.

Posted by: lusterphillips | June 28, 2010 2:26 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Michael Jackson was a drug addict and a pedophile. Chris Brown beats women. These are the types of people you admire and are "devoted" to?

BTW...Rihanna has a tattoo of a handgun on her flesh. Great message to our youth...very classy.

Posted by: zerohour1 | June 28, 2010 2:24 PM
Report Offensive Comment

You are wrong nothing fake about that, i felt his emotion deep down in my spirit, if you see things in a spiritual arena than you would know GOD forgave Chris like he forgave you for all the wrong you have done in life, worry about yourself and try to look at the postive and not negative. no one is perfect we striving for perfection.

Posted by: kbkitty48 | June 28, 2010 2:12 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I disagree I felt it was genuine. Did anybody not listen to the words of the freaking song he was singing? "Take a look at yourself and make a change" Hello combine the words of the song with Chris being a HUGE MJ fan and what he did to Rihanna , and all that he has been through personally and professionally within the last year. I felt it was the most genuine display of emotion I have seen from Chris since the incident with Rihanna. To me it was a genuine display of emotion/ and epiphany for him that was not staged.

Posted by: enewton | June 28, 2010 2:11 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Very well said! You know, he had 12 months to grieve over the pop stars death!

Posted by: meeganluv82 | June 28, 2010 2:09 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company