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Chris Brown Evades Larry King’s Most Important Question

Hip-Hop Media Training

I think Chris Brown was sincere.

I believe he regrets beating Rihanna.

It is clear that he still loves her.

I'm glad he gave Larry King the first interview. It was important that he address the public about what happened. It was a brilliant idea to have his mother, Joyce Hawkins, and attorney, Mark Gregarious, by his side and available to participate.

He did not do a bad job explaining himself. You have to consider that he is 20-years-old, and was 19 when the February 8 incident took place.


When I was 20, I had a hard enough time explaining to my father why I missed my curfew, must less being subjected to an hour long interrogation about an incident I was ashamed of and did not want to talk about.

Aside from the distracting wardrobe choice of the shiny powder blue bow tie, I have just one major fundamental problem with Chris Brown's attitude about the ordeal. My issue is with his misunderstanding about his rights to privacy in the matter.

He never answered the question that Larry King repeatedly asked-what happened in the car? Larry tried every journalistic strategy imaginable to get Chris to talk.

Using his and Rihanna's privacy as a scapegoat, Chris continuously evaded the question. He once replied that he didn't remember, even after Larry read quotes from the police report that described Rihanna's account of what happened.

When explaining his reaction to his sentence that requires him to complete community labor, Chris spoke about wanting to be responsible for his actions. He said he did not want to perpetuate the stigma about celebrities who "get off" when facing judicial matters.


Well, if he ever happens to read, watch or listen to the news, he would realize that privacy of even non public figures is jeopardized daily, especially when someone has completed a felonious act.

If he did not want the media to provide extensive play-by-play coverage of his beating of a fellow pop star and the aftermath, he should not have assaulted Rihanna.

The media scrutiny, even that which is sensationalistic and sometimes inaccurate, is yet another consequence that he has to bear and should do so without complaint. At the end of the day, Rihanna is the one who was brutally beaten and had a bloodied photo of herself circulating on the internet.

However, I do think that Rihanna has suffered enough and did not deserve to have her private conversations with Chris revealed.

Still, not answering that question means that there will continue to be speculation about what really happened. So hopefully, Chris is prepared to deal with that.

Chris' mom was fine. Her presence was to make it clear that her support of her son was unconditional. This was a tricky and dangerous move for her. She is a victim of domestic violence, who left her ex-husband because he was abusive. Yet, she spent the majority of the earlier part of the interview professing her support for her son and grief about what transpired.

Joyce is actually lucky that Larry helped her elaborate her feelings to eventually explain her own interaction with Rihanna after the fight.

Had Larry not continued to ask her about her subsequent conversations with Rihanna, what were her feelings about Rihanna, etc., Joyce would have continued to give the impression that her son was the victim. That would have been horrible.

Joyce's first and foremost priority should have been to make it clear that what Chris did was wrong. Keep in mind, Larry King Live is a mainstream television news magazine. Many of his viewers only know Chris because of the beating. She should have personally apologized to Rihanna and her family on-air. Instead, she incessantly defended her son to the point of annoyance.

It took Larry to probe that compassion for Rihanna out of her. Thankfully, after coaxing, Larry got Joyce to reveal that she looked at Rihanna like a daughter, Rihanna still called her Mom, and that she was concerned about Rihanna's well being.

I don't advise Team Chris Brown to book an interview with Nancy Grace. She would not afford them such considerations.

Chris is fortunate to have Mark as his council. It is sometimes hard for attorneys to explain legal matters in laymen terms. He was great with his interjections and explaining some of the more complicated aspects of the discussion.

I wish Larry would have probed a bit more when Mark brushed off two previous alleged altercations between Chris and Rihanna. Mark said that the info Larry read from the probation officer's report was unsubstantiated because the probation office just copied the info from other reports without confirmation. But in Larry's defense, the segment was only an hour, and if Chris would not describe how he assaulted Rihanna, he was not going to discuss these issues either.

It has been more than six months since the attack. I am glad that Chris has been formally sentenced and has finally spoken out, even if there are still unanswered questions.

His and Rihanna's tumultuous relationship has sparked such a media frenzy because of the severity of the attack and because they are both such beloved pop stars.

Karen Earl, executive director of the Jenesse Center, Inc. in Los Angeles, says the attention this scenario has garnered has increased the awareness of domestic violence that occurs everyday among other young adults, who fall through the cracks because they are not famous.

"People when they are going through something, they think they are alone," Karen says. "Because of the details of this public case and all the special attention, it will encourage X girl and Y boy to say, 'Oh that happened to me. I'm not alone. I can speak up. I can go get some help.'"

Angela Swan, an attorney who specializes in juvenile dependency cases in Los Angeles County, thinks Chris' sentence places him on the right road to recovery. On August 25, Chris was sentenced to five years of probation, 180 hours of community service, one year of classes on domestic abuse, and an order to stay away from Rihanna.

"I think it will be fine," Angela says about Chris' sentence. "It will make him a more productive citizen, and hopefully help him as well, instead of just giving him jail time.

"I was really pleased to hear [his sentence]. So if he does something like this in the next five years there will be harsher consequences.

"He said hew grew up with problems with an abusive stepfather, so he learned those conditions. So now he can learn another way to deal with anger and frustration, rather than just lashing out."

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