There are a lot of people who don’t follow the news because it’s too depressing. Sometimes I am tempted to join them.
I wasn’t a huge music buff growing up, so I was never a big Whitney Houston fan. Still, her name was big enough that parts of her private life were common knowledge. I didn’t know who Bobby Brown was except that he was married to her. I didn’t know any of his songs, or even recognize that he was a musician, but I knew that he had been physically abusive to his wife, and the two of them had abused drugs together.
A part of that sage ended on February 11th this year with her untimely death. While the official autopsy has not yet released her cause of death, it would be hard to believe that it wasn’t somehow drug related. And then, as if to prove that death could not end this conflict, there was a story that Bobby Brown left the funeral early after objecting to being asked to move more than once. The Grammy Awards were held the next day and the program had a noticeably somber tone because of Whitney’s absence.
And then there was a scary coincidence, almost like we needed a reminder of what had happened to Whitney. Bobby Brown’s name was in the news with Whitney’s passing. The circumstances of her death reminded many that it was likely his influence that worsened her drug habit. The day after Whitney’s death, her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, had to be hospitalized. With all of this in the minds of everyone watching and attending the Grammy Awards, another Brown took to the stage.
Immediately after Jennifer Hudson performed a song in tribute of Whitney Houston, Chris Brown took to the stage a second time. He also won an award during the ceremony. There is no relation between Chris Brown and Bobby Brown, but there is a similarity in their stories. I don’t know any of Chris Brown’s music. Apparently he’s good. What I do know about him is that in 2009 he beat up his girlfriend at the time, fellow R&B performer Rihanna, so bad that she was admitted to the hospital. A picture of her bruised and swollen face was released to the media soon after.
Chris Brown turned himself in shortly after the incident, and hired a crisis response team. His official response was that “Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired.” Twitter would later give him an opportunity to find those words.
Many people have been slow to forgive Chris Brown, which may be partly be because he hasn’t asked for forgiveness or demonstrated contrition. In response to a number of critics during and after the Grammy Award show, Brown wrote on Twitter that his Grammy win was an ultimate tell off to all his haters (I’ve cleaned up the words he used).
So what does it matter that a man who has been given a second chance by the music industry doesn’t seem apologetic over his social media? Maybe it doesn’t, but what’s worrying is that Brown and Rihanna have been seen spending time together. Despite the five-year restraining order placed on him, he was at her most recent birthday party and there is speculation that they have recorded music together lately that will be released for sale soon.
This may be a case of the media and regular schmoes like me sticking their nose in on celebrities personal lives. Naturally I wouldn’t want people all over the world to be talking about my relationship developments on their social media pages either. But since his private life is being played out in public, and his story involves a domestic abuse situation, I as a father and as a pastor am allowed to be curious and concerned.
Grass has not yet grown over Whitney’s grave and this story is unfolding in front of our eyes. I don’t follow pop music except for the events that make it to the newspapers. I hope that the young people around me who listen to this music know how dangerous this situation is.