Ladies still love Chris Brown, despite his mistakes
When Chris Brown emerged onstage at the Staples Center Thursday night, he appeared to be ready for war, decked out in military green and flanked by an army of soldiers in the form of backup dancers. Whether it’s with himself, the largely unforgiving press (sorry) or the inner demons that continue to prompt negative headlines, the singer is far from leaving the battlefield. And after the year he’s had, it made sense that he treated the sold-out tour stop as a full-on attack.
The 22-year-old’s personal narrative as of late is shoddy, at best. He spent much of last year seeking public redemption for his 2009 felony assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna, an incident that will follow him for the rest of his career, and a greater part of this year making numerous missteps in the media’s eye.
To his credit, Brown has done a great deal to attempt to wipe the slate clean. He released “F.A.M.E.” — an acronym for both “Fans Are My Everything” and “Forgiving All My Enemies,” which was his first album to debut at No. 1. The disc, full of sexually explicit grooves and gritty backbeats, was a clear ditch from the boy-next-door image that was already shattered post-Rihanna.
He’s traded charm for a harder-edged, sexual lothario role, one that’s gotten him headlines for Twitter rants, criticism from GLAAD, a violent meltdown backstage at “Good Morning America” and the leak of nude photo. Misfires that could’ve proved crippling to another performer have only turned out to be only minor for Brown.
Brown shined at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, collected five trophies at the BET Awards in June and launched his current F.A.M.E. tour.
But after so many drastic changes both artistically and personally, it made one wonder what the current Chris Brown fan looked like.
Cue Thursday's crowd. Filled mostly with twentysomething and up females wearing their best (and tiniest) leftover prom attire: blinged out mini dresses, towering pumps and plenty of gaudy jewels — one girl actually wore a tiara and a sash — it was ladies' night at Staples, and one thing is certain: They love Chris Brown and nothing else mattered. They ignored the obvious lip-syncing and Auto-Tune vocals, shrieked at every pelvic thrust and gyration, swooned at his boyish grin and six-pack abs and fanned themselves during a video montage of the singer showering and howled with jealously when he chose one female to bump and grind with as he flickered his tongue across her face.
Some even fought over Brown.
Yes, fought. When a group of unforgivably mean girls claimed empty seats during opener T-Pain’s set they weren’t pleased when the actual ticket holders arrived so they did what any girl hoping to be a foot closer to Brown would do: They yelled, they cursed, they hurled insults at the both the ticket holders and arena staff. Security stepped in and forced the girls to return to their assigned seats — one row behind the seats they seemed willing to get removed from the arena for occupying.
Ladies loving a bad boy is nothing new to pop music but it was curious to watch so many of them fawn over one that once did something so very bad to a girl that could have easily been them.
Making the night even more unusual? The youngest girl we were able to spot was Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris — who arrived with a bevy of teens all wearing matching fitted caps — taking it all in from the front row.
— Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photos: (Top) Chris Brown performs as part of the F.A.M.E Tour at the Staples Center, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, in Los Angeles. (Bottom) Paris Jackson, second from left, watches Chris Brown. Credit: Katy Winn / Associated Press