Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why C. Breezy and A. Keys need nothing from me

I watched the last hour and a half of the BET Music Awards. I really need them to caption folks. I'm old and needed a cheat-sheet to figure out who half the performers were. I do know that Trey Songz trying to wail his way through Purple Rain hurt my feelings on a deeply personal level. My personal highlight was the return of El Debarge. Yes, that El Debarge. He was out of jail and presumably sober. That was my happy moment.

Watching an awards show on Twitter is like color commentary on speed. Everyone has an opinion on everything and people tend to take sides… with a vengeance.

Alicia Keys is one of lightning rods right now. She appeared on stage all glowingly pregnant flashing her engagement ring from Swizz Beatz (a man that she allegedly began a relationship with while he was still married to another woman). Some folks feel betrayed seeing as she spent most of her career singing about superwomanhood and respect for your common man. Others feel like that has nothing to do with her music. Personally, I just don't like her latest album. I found Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart a tad whiny and I was too through with Empire State of Mind months ago.

Chris Brown (I have come to call him The Bow-Tied Boy Wonder) is battling to regain his stature after the assault/battery/domestic abuse charges surrounding his tumultuous relationship yodeling pop diva Rihanna. Chris Brown is twelve years old in my mind. I heard his music when my nieces played it in the car. I thought he had some talent but I wasn't running out to buy his music. I have Wall to Wall on my iPod for no discernable reason and thanks to my eldest niece I know all the words to his duet with Jordin Sparks, No Air. That's all I got.

So fast forward to this award show Sunday night. Chris Brown danced his way through an MJ tribute. He can dance. I acknowledge the talent. But folks on Twitter acted as if MJ himself rose up out the grave and anointed this boy with the "Future King" crown. After the dance tribute, he took a crack at singing Man in the Mirror. Half a verse into the song, he broke down in tears. I wasn't feeling it. In fact, I called bullshiggity. Half of my timeline (that's a Twitter crew) was thoroughly disgusted that I wasn't feeling Chris' pain and the other half co-signed with me.

Alicia was all up and through the show. She came out during a Prince tribute to sing Adore. At some point, she was really feeling it and climbed her pregnant behind up on the grand piano. I was forced to call bullshiggity again. Half of my Twitter crew thought I was hatin' because of her home-wreckin' reputation and the other half thought I wasn't hard enough on her.

Here's the deal on both of these situations… There is one Michael Joseph Jackson and Chris Brown is nowhere close. So no, I wasn't feeling his tribute. Truthfully, I wouldn't feel anybody's tribute and since I'm not a huge fan of Boy-Tied Boy Wonder, I was not pleased. The tears just struck me the wrong way.

Similarly, there is but one Prince. A fitting tribute to Prince would have been Prince standing up and doing a medley of Prince hits. And Adore is a special, special song. For me, no one else needs to sing it. It is a quintessentially Prince song that only he does justice to. These are my opinions. I'm allowed to have them. You may agree, you may not. Welcome to free speech.

What I really detest is this public wave of feeling that Chris or Alicia need some flavor of forgiveness from me, you or anyone else. I don't know either one of them personally. Sure, I have my opinions about their behavior but what difference does it make? Both of them are millionaires a few times over and neither of them is cutting me a check. Chris didn't hit me and Alicia didn't sleep with my man. So when I say I'm not feelin' either of them, that is my personal preference based on my feelings about their product and performance. No more, no less.

People, none of us are in a position to "forgive" either of these artists. That's not our role. You can either buy their music or not. You either enjoy their work or not. Period.

Thoughts? Comments? Opinions? The floor is yours…

36 comments:

ASmith said...

Ok, can I just say that El DeBarge made my life? Oh, and I wonder what crack he was doing cause maybe Whitney should got his hook up. His voice is still all... ::shivers:: you know. While hers is... ::shudders:: you know... #seewhatididthere

Did you catch Prince's side eye at Trey? Like bruh, you is MESSING.UP.MY.SONG. :) Ahhh...

I have to say, I felt for Chris. As far as whether or not what he did was staged, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. Like ?uestlove said, you can fake tears but you can't fake snot. Either way he clearly got new PR people (which Lord knows he shoulda did a year ago). I mean singing "Man in the Mirror" period? #classic. My cousins and I agreed, though, CB did that thang with dancing -- but he wasn't as clean as MJ was. MJ had them lines, man... LINES. CB did good work -- I shan't take that away. BET should not have listened to JayZ last year and they wouldn't have gotten clowned for their lackluster MJ tribute. As someone else in my timeline said, Breezy did what 5 folks couldn't last year.

As for forgiveness -- I think the two situations are a tidge different. CB needs forgiveness from the public but only because apparently not having it has effected his album sales (did you know his last album didn't even sell 500,000 copies? Meanwhile, Drake's album moved almost 500k in a week...) So while ultimately Chris needs Chris's forgiveness and maybe Rihanna's (depending on one's opinion of how forgiveness works) if he wants to make money from making music he also needs to re-endear the masses.

Meanwhile, what's going on in A.Keys' life is definitely her own business. We can all have opinions (#shoutout and #AMEN to your "free speech" reference) but she clearly doesn't need or care about our "forgiveness" in order to move on and I don't think any of it has effected her album sales (SN: I definitely like this album better than the last).

SingLikeSassy said...

All I cared about was Chris jackin' up Michael Jackson's song. This is a show and you are an entertainer. Snot up on your time, hell.

I stopped listening to Alicia after "You Don't Know My Name." She's never been all that great a singer to me and doesn't stretch herself enough on the piano for me to spend money on her music. And I don't care at all about her and that big nose fella she's about to marry and push a baby out for. That's their stuff.

Ola said...

I haven't watched the foolery yet. I avoided twitter as much as possible while it was on so that I could be freshly outraged. Sounds like fun. . .

Lawsoncomp said...

People kill me with this forgiveness stuff. It's time to hold some of these millionaires accountable for what they put out there, whether it's the music or their skanky behavior.

JNicole said...

I agree that we don't have to "forgive" them. The problems that they faced involved their personal lives, not professional ones. Since we have TMZ all up in everyone's business the general public likes to think that their personal lives are a part of the whole "celebrity" thing. Personally, I like to keep the two separate. Except for when it comes to R. Kelly (LOL), I loathe him in every way possible. Anyway...

Alicia really disappointed me in all of her performances @ the awards. I used to love her circa "The Diary of Alicia Keys", but it seems like she is getting progressively worse with each album. Her singing was never "Whitney/Mariah in their hey day calibre", but she certainly had more strength in her vocals when singing a "Fallen" versus a "Try Sleeping With Someone Else's Husband". It seems like she is tryna go for softer/sultry vocals, but it just comes out as whiny/annoying.

As far as Chris Brown. Dancing was as on point as it could be. I think they coulda had someone else come in and sing. I've never really been a fan of his "singing voice". They shoulda just let that ninja grab his crotch & do a few spins, then moonwalk off stage... Was this a redemption? #NAWL It was a very good dance performance followed by what looked to me as a need for help. His people need to get him out of the spotlight & into some real help.

El DeBarge made my entire week with that medley. I was in my cubicle at work tryna keep from jumpin outta my seat & stepping, Chicago style when he sang "I Like It"

tmcydame said...

I'll say this about Chris Brown: I don't care for his music. Never really have. I've only liked a handful of his singles, but I've never purchased an album and probably never will. That said, I was fine with him doing a dance tribute for MJJ. He's, by far, the best of the dancers of his stature and he helmed MJJ as his idol. I'm cool with that. My problems began with him stretching his tribute into "Man In The Mirror." It's a powerful song that requires depth, seasoning and composure to pull off. Breezy has none of the aforementioned. The song was meant to overwhelm him -- and anyone listening to it in such a circumstance. Hell, I've heard it 1,000 times over and I still kinda quiver a bit when listening to it.

No, I'm not saying that I think he staged it. But I think selecting that song was about as smart as CB singing the national anthem at the Mayweather boxing match a month or so ago. It was that awkward to me to see any performer jaunt around a stage crying for almost three minutes. Just awkward. They should have stopped it with him dancing. Seriously, he looked like he'd just been voted off American Idol, and was crying his way off the set through song. From me, he can't win points like that.

As far as what people think of his image: Dude is forever going to be linked to people's imaginations as woman-beater. That was assured the day the photos of Rihanna's face leaked out. You seriously try imagining how her face could go from this to thaaaaat. That day, the world branded CB with a scarlet B about his forehead. Still, his music has very little to do with his scarlet letter. Much like R. Kelly, his music has to do with his music. He's not that great of a musician. He has no depth and doesn't introspect with his music, like say Mario or even Alicia. He's going to suffer a bit more. Quite a bit more, probably, unless he can come up with his own "You Saved Me." But even then, he's still branded. *shrugs*

Elle B said...

Hi--I am a new lurker to your site but I had to log in to say THANK YOU!!!!!!!! And to add that just because you forgive someone, doesn't mean you have to support him or her. I don't forgive Chris Bucky Beaver because he is not contrite. So what, who cares, its my opinion deal with it. Chris mimicked the man well but his talent is marginal at best and the crying also helped mask his lack of singing ability.And YES there is only ONE Michael Jackson and only ONE Prince. Only they can truly do them, no one else can even come close.

Elle B said...

Oh! And another YES to El Debarge, it was good seeing him still doing his thing, I hope he is on track to really getting his life together.

Mr. Analytical said...

I have to agree Chele. I thought C.B.'s tribute to MJ's dancing (certainly not his singing or energy) was as good as we're going to get considering the "talent" available. I won't forget that Chris Hustled & Flowed upside Rihanna's head. He took whup that trick way too far.

A.Keys...she's the great homewrecker hope. Although, like I said on Twitter somewhere in there Swizz Beats should be applauded. He's probably 1 of the 8 men that told the other woman they're leaving their wives and followed through. I know that's reaching but A.Keys wasn't the only thief in the house. BET stole hours from people's lives that they'll never get back. They also stole a perfect opportunity to honor Prince and in true BET fashion...failed miserably. Somebody ought beat all the Chris black, blue, and Brown outta them.

Shahlex said...

I like Alicia ... I don't care who she got knocked up by. Chris Brown, I don't think I knew who he was until he hit that girl ... but I really could care less about him or his music. I do think he did a good job with the dancing ...

As for the show itself, I think this is the first year I watched the entire thing - the highlights for me were the commentaries from my 74 year old mother, 20 year old daughter & the Face Book crew ( I don't tweet!). It was mostly comedic entertainment although I know that was not the intention.

I was highly disappointed that Prince did not perform; waiting for him was the ONLY reason I was glued to my seat. The tribute to him was a total let down.

maureen palmer said...

I did not watch BET awards, one thing for sure; CB got a lot of buzz from twitter to Washington Post. Personally, I believe in forgiveness whether you are in my radar or not (we all fall short and what CB did was gravelly wrong). Granted, him and his handles did not handle things well post aftermath, I hope he was sincere and learning from his mistakes. My grandma used to say; you can lie to the world but don’t lie to yourself.
Prince tribute did not go well (from twitter) for his fans, but the key word here is tribute, & not for the artist (s) to be Prince, because there is only Prince. As it was noted last week there can only be one MJ period. I’m big fan of Maze & Beverly and (in my opinion the best band out there. You never hear people trying to remake their songs-results might not be pretty), they just did a tribute CD.
I have to say AK and Swizz relationship shocked me and when they announced they are pregnant and getting married I was like ok then. Word on twitter she is a home wrecker, I want to believe otherwise, I LOVE her. My only fear Swizz jumped from one marriage to another, this can’t be good; I believe one needs time to reflect.

Brown Babe said...

OK, so I have to preface this with the fact that I have long ago given up on BET and their tomfoolery and if I wasn't at my mom's house would probably have been catching up on my DVR instead of watching the awards.

With that said, I'm glad I caught it! Although in true BET fashion it was not must see TV, it was a zillion times better than it has been in past years.

As a bonafide member of the 30+ club, EL DEBARGE MADE MY NIGHT! My 14 year old sister walked in on us jamming during his performance, rolled her eyes and walked out! She just dont know...

I also have to admit, I think Chris Brown did his thing on the MJ tribute - no one could be like the king himself, but put it up against the tributes I've seen thus far, and this one shines! The snot nosed breakdown, not so much. I'm pretty sure the song was chosen intentionally to invoke emotion and to tell the public that Breezy has been looking at the man in the mirror. I don't think it was faked, but I'm not sure it did the job either.

The *somebody go get that crazy pregnant chick* look on Prince's face when A.Keys jumped up on that piano was simply PRICELESS!!! As was the apparently un-flattered looks during the performances of Trey Songs, Janelle Monae and Esperanza Spalding. Though all hailed Ms. Patti!

As far as forgiveness goes, I agree its not for us - the general public - to dole out. I think its "hilarious" how folks that had no part in either situation take it personal when a public figure reveals their human flaws. Not saying that any of what they've done is right, but I do believe we should be able to separate the personal from the professional. Would you care if I were a homewrecking policy analyst and no longer be able to support my professional work because of my tawdry personal life? At the same time I understand the implicit acceptance of "role model" when you accept the mantle of public figure - and of course I wouldn't trust a bankrupt investment banker with my life savings ...but where do you draw the line?

Reads4Pleasure said...

I was watching True Blood, but after seeing all of the tweets about CB, I had to catch his performance online. I thought his dancing was on point. The tears & song selection seemed to be about redemption. Perhaps he chose it as his way of saying, "I've looked in the mirror, didn't like what I saw & I finally get it. I'mma do better." And while we can go back and forth all day about whether or not he was sincere and if his apology to the world should be accepted, ultimately the only apology that matters is Mo'head Fo'head Rihanna.

A Keys, I really expected her to sing her remake of How Come You Don't Call Me. I was ready for her to jack up Adore, but she did an admirable job. I missed the last minute or so because I was too busy cackling at Prince giving her the "what the hell" with a side order of "get your tail off that piano".

BB Waite said...

I'm so happy to say I give less than 2 shakes of a you know what about either one of them. I liked Alicia Keys Unbreakable song and now that seems so very ironic.
Man in the Mirror isn't for everybody.
BTW Chele - everytime you watch some BET it gets in your spirit the bad way - Give up!

Reecie said...

your sentiment is very fair, IMO. I was never a huge Chris Brown fan (I have all his music but uhhh can't say I bought it), and being from VA I have supported Trey financially more than him--but I DID purchase Chris' last CD. And I liked it. I cringed at Trey singing Purple Rain, and I was caught up in the moment of the Prince tribute but looking back I wasn't wowed by any of the singers--not even Patti. and I too, on twitter said 'Licia needed to get her behind off of that piano! I think BET was very strategic in giving Alicia so much shine and allowing Chris Brown to perform, they knew we'd be talking about it from days on. I do think Chris Brown was sincere in his tears, but I do believe that he was crying for himself (which is NOT a bad thing, IMO) and that I respect the opinion that while technically his job was to do a tribute--he couldve saved that for another time.

but overall I enjoyed the show immensely, and twitter made it that much better. was very surprised in the quality of the event...

Mr. Skyywalker said...

This article right HERE, ninja. RIGHT HERE (in my Katt Williams voice) is why I messes with BnB.
Truth dropped, mic down, out.
Eff a CBreezy or ASkeez - they don't pay my rent. And aren't musician enough to make me pay theirs.
Luke Sky out.

Neeleyjonea said...

Womp womp!!! Tell us how you really feel!

Sweet N Tart said...

I was an Alicia Keys stan. She could do no wrong for me. Even her thing with Swizz didn't bother me, you love who you love. The problem is, she doesn't sound that good to me lately. Imagine how sick Jill Scott's version of Adore would be? Alicia seems far more interested in being slinky and sexy than actually singing,

I rebuke Chris Brown and all his works.

OnlyMe said...

It takes a real asshole to beat the shit out of a woman and then expect the sympathy. And Alicia needs to sit the hell down and SFTU

GrownAzzMan said...

"People, none of us are in a position to "forgive" either of these artists. That's not our role. You can either buy their music or not. You either enjoy their work or not. Period."

That was a good summation of the whole thing for me. I am always surprised that people get so worked up about the personal behavior of those they have NO personal connection to. I don't know the truth of what happened it Chris or Allicia's situations and don't care. I like Alicia's new CD and enjoyed her performance. What she did/is doing with Swizz Beatz doesn't matter to me. I liked Chris Brown's MJ tribute but don't see him as any kinda next MJ. He will have plenty to do being Chris Brown. Others see it differently and thats fine. I just don't have the need to get all worked up about it.

Crystal said...

I had a lot that I was going to say about Chris and Alicia, and then as I was reading the end of your post I thought Chele is right, I don't know these people. Furthermore, these people do not know me, they do not even know I exist, so instead of me spending my valuable time talking about or even watching people I do not even know or really care about realize their dreams and sing their redemption songs, I need to be GMIT (gettin my ist together)!!! As you would say Chele, I'm done son!!! That is all!!!

AppleBerryMIA said...

I have to agree with TMCYDame below, watching CB snot up the stage was just uncomfortable. And I've never been a Keys fan. She came out around the same time as Angie Stone and Jill Scott and I felt she got the breaks because of her looks, which irritates me.

Sarah said...

Did you get lonely in your woman cave, Chele, and have to come out and visit ? :-) I hope the writing is going well. No TV here and not really interested. I have my thoughts on abusers. I have a hard time just simply saying it isn't my problem. If I had been somebody who bought his music, I would have stopped when all that happened and no amount of tears and whatnot would bring me back. But that's me and my experiences talking. Do I find it necessary to think about these folks. Nope. I just stopped by to see how you were doing :-)

tacita said...

well, i'm not going to go along with the consensus; and i'm going to be really honest....chris brown made me a fan after his performance.....where i WAS NOT a fan. ever. even pre his little pub stunt with rihanna (who i was not and remain not a fan of). but i was familiar with him. i wasn't thinking at all about his "issues". when jermaine jackson came out and said that there was one tribute that didn't get the chance to be, i wanted it to be chris brown. i've seen his videos, and just looking at him as a dancer- not a singer, because he can't do that very well. not a showman because he doesn't have that sort of training it seems, just strictly as a dancer, he's always been very great at that, the best currently, and ALWAYS included some aspect of michael jackson in everything. i appreciated him getting the opportunity to do what other not so great dancers were able to do at length: usher is aiight; a better singer and hip shaker than dancer. neyo, even jamie foxx was able to pretend like they could do what mike could do in the slightest. just in sheer, transparent terms, of a really, really good dancer, and a true fan of michael jackson, being able to pay homage when he was denied that opportunity? i didn't buy anything, but i appreciated his effort as a dancer and how touched he was as a fan. of course when he excepted that fan award later on, and refrenced letting people down, maybe he has a grasp on the FACT that the public DOES make him a popular entertainer?

alicia keys? i was heartbroken when she was the one singing adore. i can't imagine why that passed clearance. it's just really weird to me that she can flaunt something so disturbing immoral, and i just don't like her. i don't like swizz beatz either but he's just a beat maker. he's not the singer, the showpiece, the woman walking around talking about being a superwoman, loving genuinely, believing in that love......all the while in a serious relationship with someone with a wife; estranged or not. i haven't listened to alicia keys since her diary cd, and even that, was touch and go. i just don't have any use for her music. and now, for her. she started to remind me of beyonce, someone who i can never understand why they are always in the conversation for greatness and legitimacy, when so much of their work is bitten, and their talent is debatable. while she was up on that piano, i just thought, wow, she's doing the most.

so even if chris brown and alicia keys never had these controversial issues to clean up and make pretty, i still really liked seeing an awesome dancer, not the next king of nothing, not the next mj never, but a really good dancer do his thing.....and later for alicia keys because all that wailing is for naught. and i can say that, because i in fact have contributed to this millionaire status of at least alicia keys, my album purchases DID help her get a check, so.....

JustaGuest said...

What I love about this blog is that you say your opinion, make no apologies and then allow us to share ours without judgment. I have all of CBreezy's music and all of Alicia Keys. As long as they keep putting out product I like, I'll keep buying. The rest of them is between them and their God.

tiffanyinhouston said...

El DeBarge gave me life on Sunday night and I will buy his new CD just to support him. He still sounds better than 90% of the crap studio singers out today and he's been in jail and cracked the hell out.

I'm over Chris Brown and Alicia Keys.

mojitochica said...

I love Prince so much there was absolutely no way in hell I would ever subject myself to a BET tribute. I'm trying not to stroke out at the very thought of Trey Songz trying to sing Purple Rain and Alicia Keys trying to sing Adore O_e I'll have to find that El Debarge performance though!

I've got no beef with Alicia. She doesn't owe the wife anything; you can't steal someone that doesn't want to be stolen. However Chris Brown can jump in a volcano right now. I didn't like him before, and I certainly won't ever support him now. I ain't forgiving shiggity when it come to him; not that it's my place to do so anyway.

Jasmin said...

I've never been a Chris Brown fan (though my 15-year-old sisters used to be all over that), so I never planned on contributing to his record sale count, even before the Rihanna thing. The Bow-Tied Boy Wonder's (love name btw, I hate that silly-ass blue sweater with a passion) fall from grace reminds me of what happened to Usher when he married Tameka Foster (though on a much larger scale, obviously). Usher was complaining that people didn't like his wife and his female fans weren't supporting him because he got married and such*, and all I could think was, "No sir--it's just a strange coincidence that your music started to suck at the same time you got caught up in some drama." In both cases, neither artist considered that maybe people just weren't feeling their songs anymore, but that's how celebrity works--they should know better by now.

*There probably are people who refuse to listen to Chris Brown because of the Rihanna assault and some who dropped Usher solely because of his wife, but it's reasonable to assume that some people think their music isn't worth purchasing anymore (or ever). *raises hand*

K.I.M. said...

What it boils down to is that we celebrate/reward what we value. Chris’s values don’t align with mine, matter of fact, as a Domestic Violence shelter volunteer – his actions are about the furtherest away from what I can humany comprehend. So given that our values don’t align…..I don’t reward/celebrate him by purchasing his music and/or going to his concerts

sunt97 said...

El DeBarge gave me much needed relief, Tyrese made me cross my legs and lean forward at his chocolatey goodness. The rest just made me nauseous wondering if there was any Pepto in the cabinet. Chris danced well and the tearful tribute made me fall to the ground with laughter.

Peace, Love and Chocolate
Tiffany

Citizen Ojo said...

But you would be upset if Chris hit you and Alicia stole your man...nah...that's just too much going on at one time. Disregard...

Jazz said...

A. keys - was a fan , but once she hooked up with the fool jay. z , I was done with her ( actually I was done with her before that , the album before this one was not good ). Do I think she was wrong for sleeping with a married man , yep , but so is Gabrielle Union , Royce Reed and everyone else who did the same thing. Is it my business - nope , do I care nope. Musically I will stick to my gospel tunes and Chrisette Michele, Jill Scott and others who can really sing .

C. breezyy- never bought any of his albums, liked a few songs though. Do I think that he was wrong for hitting Riri- yes. Was she wrong for hitting him - yes . Why is it that her record sales went up with her last album , but he cant get into england to perform. Am I gonna support him- nope , not a fan. But do I think that he should at least have the opportunity to make money at his craft - yep . We all fall down and fall short.

N.L. said...

never was a fan of either alicia or chris. what they do in their personal lives is not my problem.if i were to buy their music it would not be because i had forgiven either or that i condone their actions. its that i buy the music not the musician

btw, el debarge also has had domestic violence issues. not many of the people condemning chris brown and wishing him an entire life of failure are sitting around wringing their hands at el debarge's return.

brownstocking said...

I guess it's just us two. It's not forgiveness, you're right. I don't know them. But I also don't knowingly subsidize people's catraggedy, illegal behavior, just because "poor widdle babykins" ain't gettin that love. I saw a great link on Racialicious that said it all: he was selling the myth of being a smooth young ladies' man. Yeah, not so much. He claims to want to reinvent himself musically--he needs to. Go somewhere quiet for a year.

Full Disclosure: I never liked his music, man can't act his way out of a wet paper bag with a tear in it, and the story of him convincing his mom not press charges in her own DV case killed any chance he had of anyone in my household giving him hard-earned money. This came out years before the case. But I'm that person. I'm the one who LOVED Miles Davis, and won't buy anything of his; loves purple and gold and will never wear Kobe anything; and my lip will curl when I see Tyrese, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Josh Brolin, etc. come across my screen. To each their own.

brownstocking said...

No, not even Jill can rock "Adore." No one should cover PRN. NO one. LOL

Torah Harper said...

lol i know i'm late but i just ran across this and laughed my butt off but i agree lol sooo late :)

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