No artist better represents the shambles of the black male psyche than Chris Brown. Even though his forthcoming album was named X, in part as an attempt to symbolically move on from his turbulent past, his recent verse on DJ Khaled’s “I’m Still” shows him to be incapable of truly letting go and moving on with his life and career. Openly courting the infamy of his own actions as much as he tries to shun them, Breezy plays into common stereotypes of black men as violent, sexually aggressive monsters whose talent for music or sports makes them ideal objects for popular consumption. And regardless of his actions, Brown remains quite the talent, able to sing and dance with great skill and affect, with recent singles “Fine China” and “They Don’t Know About Us” showing some musical growth. If you can separate the artistic from the personal, by all means partake.
Tue., Oct. 29, 8 p.m., 2013
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 16, 2013