A day before the American Music Awards (AMAs) went live on Sunday 20 November 2022, American singer and songwriter Chris Brown took to Instagram and claimed that his tribute to Michael Jackson was cancelled by the team behind the show.
“U SERIOUS?” Brown captioned a seven-minute rehearsal clip that featured him and a crew of dancers performing to his latest single ‘Under The Influence’, later transitioning to Jackson’s ‘Beat It’, ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, and ‘Thriller’. “WOULD’VE been the AMA performance but they cancelled me for reasons unknown,” Brown continued in the comments. Reasons unknown, right…
Although the 33-year-old rapper garnered support with comments like “THIS LITERALLY WOULD’VE BEEN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR” and “Jokes on them. The ONLY reason I would watch the AMAs is if CB performed. Other than that it’s usually generic, uninspired trash,” Brown decided to sit the AMAs out.
But his bouts with the award show didn’t end there. During the live broadcast, former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland took to the stage to announce the nominees for ‘Favorite Male R&B Artist’ including Brent Faiyaz, Giveon, Lucky Daye, The Weeknd, and Brown himself. But it was only after Rowland announced Brown as the winner that audible boos erupted from the audience at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theatre—as the camera then panned out to show the entire crowd.
“Now Chris Brown is not here tonight so I’m accepting this award on his behalf,” Rowland was heard saying before she was cut off by the booing. “Excuse me… chill out,” the ‘Dilemma’ singer snapped and continued, “But I wanted to tell Chris, thank you so much for making great R&B music and I want to tell him thank you for being an incredible performer. I’ll take this award—bring it to you. I love you. Congratulations. And congratulations to all the nominees in this category.”
As it turns out, Brown still isn’t sure why the AMAs scrapped his performance. Understandable, considering the fact that he has never been held responsible for the long list of accusations he still faces today. With a problematically-thriving career and reputation, it’s safe to say that the R&B singer has built a cult-like following who continues to discredit all claims made against their icon.
In AMA’s case, several netizens speculated that his decade-old altercation with superstar and makeup mogul Rihanna could be the reason for the rightful snub. In 2009, Brown, who was 19 years old at the time, was arrested for assaulting the ‘Umbrella’ singer. “Rihanna’s face and arms had been covered in visible contusions and bruises,” Rolling Stone noted at the time.
Brown was then charged with battery following his former flame’s hospitalisation. The photos taken of Rihanna after the assault were described as “devastating proof of abuse” as TMZ reported that the singer had told police that her assailant did the damage solely with his fists and did not possess any weapons.
In February 2012, while still on probation for assaulting Rihanna, Brown risked spending time in prison after being accused of stealing a woman’s phone. According to The Guardian, the victim, Christal Spann, claimed she snapped a photo of Brown as he came out of the club and climbed into a black Bentley. The star then allegedly “reached through his car window and snatched her phone from her hands.” As the car pulled away, Brown allegedly sneered, “Bitch, you ain’t going to put that [photo] on no website.”
In September 2015, the ‘Under The Influence’ singer also had a third-degree assault report filed against him after forcibly ejecting a woman from his tour bus. The following year, he was once again accused of punching a woman in the face and taking her phone—before his former personal manager filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming Brown “viciously attacked” him and that his injuries sent him to the hospital.
Come August 2016, Brown was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after a woman named Baylee Curran told police that he had threatened her with a gun. The rapper was arrested again in January 2019 after a woman accused him of raping her in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Paris. However, he was released with no charges and said the incident didn’t happen, posting to Instagram: “This Bitch Lyin.”
Brown was further accused of drugging and raping a woman on a yacht in January 2022. At the time, the rapper took to Instagram and claimed that he is only being sued because he’s releasing new music.
As of today, the backlash Brown garnered from the AMA crowd has once again called his history of problematic and disturbing behaviour into question. Will he finally be held responsible for his actions this time around? While this remains to be seen, it should be noted that fans have now slammed Rowland for her public support for the R&B singer.