Hip-hop Media training

Chris Brown And Rihanna One Year After The Assault, Where Are They Now

Hip-Hop Media Training

Just days before the one year anniversary of Chris Brown'sassault of his former girlfriend Rihanna, Brown made a breakthrough.

The 20-year-old singer who plead guilty to felony assaultand was sentenced to five years of probation, performed on BET's SOS Saving Ourselves: Help For Haiti telethon Friday to benefit the victims of Haiti's recent tragic 7.0earthquake.

This booking is a big deal for Brown.

Since the altercation, Brown has had a successful smallvenue tour run, and has made some television and radio appearances, but he hasnot been a part of the major award shows for which he was previously a topbiller.

The February 8 incident occurred on the morning of theGrammys, so not only did he not perform there last year, but he also missed outon appearances at the Kids' Choice Awards, MTV Movie Awards, and even the BETAwards that featured various tributes to Michael Jackson who died three daysprior to the live broadcast. Brown was also absent from the Video Music Awards,American Music Awards, and last week's Grammys.

 

His album, "Graffiti," which he released in December, hasbarely sold 250,000 copies, while last week's No. 1 album from countrynewcomers Lady Antebellum sold nearly twice Brown's total sales in just oneweek.

Many music insiders think that Brown returned to themarketplace too soon after the incident. It's been suggested that had he waitedlonger before releasing a post incident album, it might have helped heal thewounds of his tarnished image.

I agree without a doubt that taking a hiatus would havehelped him rebuild his reputation.

Since part of his sentence includes one year of angermanagement counseling classes and six months of community service, I think thatwaiting one year would have done him some good. It would have given him moretime to reflect and process what message he would convey in his new music.

Instead, nearly four months after the ordeal, Brown recordeda video in which he proclaimed that he was not a monster and revealed the titleand plans for his "Graffiti" album.

After reaching a plea deal with Los Angeles Superior Court,a song entitled "Not My Fault" was leaked.

While Brown's record label maintained "Not My Fault" and theremorseful "Changed Man" were not new songs, Brown admitted on Good MorningAmerica in December that he wrote and recorded "Changed Man" after the attack.

I felt that Brown was responding to the pressure and I wasannoyed by his efforts to get attention. His interviews with Larry King and MTVleft him appearing dismissive and defensive. I was not convinced that heunderstood the magnitude of his crime.

Brown's die hard fans supported him unconditionally, butthose who were unsure whether they would continue to embrace him felt moredistanced by his subsequent actions.

By the time his album was released in December, Brown hadlost his positioning in the marketplace, and he could not handle it.

His image continued to deteriorate as he used hisnow-defunct Twitter account to spew obscenities at Walmart, claiming that theretail chain was not stocking his album on shelves.

Despite the fact that "Graffiti" is arguably Brown's bestalbum to date, the record has seemed to run its course in just two months.

Things have not been easy for Rihanna either, but she hasmanaged to maintain a better positioning in her career.

By comparison, Rihanna's post-altercation album, "Rated R,"is not as strong as Brown's record. However, where Rihanna has lacked in songquality, she has made up for in poignant videos and style.

Getting over being branded the victim in a high profiledomestic abuse dispute can not be easy for anyone to overcome.

Not only was Rihanna and Brown's story fodder for blogs,newspapers, and television reports for months, Rihanna also had to deal with animage of her battered face being circulated over the Internet. And in just afew weeks later, nude photos of herself also surfaced.

It also seemed as though Rihanna could have benefited fromtaking a long vacation.

But instead she returned to the party scene, recorded theNo. 1 song "Run This Town" with Jay-Z and Kanye West, and did not speak to thepress until it was time for her to promote her album "Rated R."

 

Unlike Brown, Rihanna spoke in detail about the events that leadup to her fight with Brown, and said she was speaking out to help younggirls who might also be in abusive relationships.

Some attacked her, saying that she was trying to sabotageBrown's career.

But she did not receive the kind of backlash that Brownreceived.

"Rated R" did not debut at No. 1, in fact, it was outsold bynew artists Susan Boyle and Adam Lambert, but Rihanna performed at the AmericanMusic Awards and attended the Grammys.

She is steadily building momentum, and has scored a new top10 hit with her song "Hard."

 

Both Rihanna and Brown are young and talented enough to transcend this experience. It will not define their careers.

While the timing of Brown's return may have been pre-mature,it signals that he has done everything he could do to try to keep himself focusedon his music.

Hopefully, that will get him through his rehabilitation, andhe will reemerge with a story and message that will inspire other young kidsbattling the same demons.

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