Chris Brown is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actor. He burst into the limelight with his single ‘Run It’ and an impressive three million copy sales of his first studio album. He has had an impressive solo music career, including collaborations with artists such as Bow Wow and Jordin Sparks. He has had an equal share of controversies and run-ins with the law; his reputation was tarnished in 2009 when he was found guilty of abusing his then-girlfriend Rihanna. His acting and singing career seems to be well on its way to better things, although not in the same proportions that he enjoyed when he just started out.
Christopher Maurice Brown was born to Clinton Brown and Joyce Hawkins in Tappahannock, Virginia. His mother was a day care center director while his father was a corrections officer in a prison facility. He also has an elder sister, Lytrell Bundy, who works in a bank.
Brown grew up going to church and started out singing in the church choir and going on to teach himself how to sing and dance. His early music inspiration was Michael Jackson and he also mimicked Usher in his work too. It is when he performed Usher’s ‘My Way’ that his mother recognized his vocal abilities and started to pursue a record deal for him.
Chris Brown started his career after he was discovered by Hitmission Records when he was just 13-years old. Lamont Fleming from Hitmission Records provided Brown with the voice coaching he needed and helped him arrange a demo package. Brown auditioned for Tina Davis, then a senior A&R executive at Def Jam Recordings. She introduced him to Antonio Reid, former president of the Island Def Jam Music Group and he offered to sign him that day. The negotiations continued for two months during which Davis lost her job due to a merger. Brown asked her to be her manager and she accepted, presenting him to other record labels. In the end, Brown chose Jive because of its record with other young artists at the time such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. He was signed to Jive in 2004.
Brown started recording his debut solo album in 2005. He had written and recorded 50 songs by May of the same year. 14 songs were selected for the final track listing. The self-titled debut album peaked at number two on the Billboard 200, selling over 154,000 copies in the first week of its release. The record was certified platinum by the RIAA. The record yielded ‘Run It’, the lead single which made him the first male act, since Montell Jordan in 1995, to have his debut single reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Other popular singles were ‘Yo (Excuse Me Miss)’. ‘Gimme that’ and ‘Say Goodbye’. They reached the top twenty in the same chart. He made an appearance on One on One and later, in 2007, landed a role as a band geek in The O.C.
IN 2007, he made his debut in film appearing alongside Ne-Yo in the movie Stomp the Yard. In the same year, he was the opening act for Beyoncé in her Australian tour. He starred in a video for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital encouraging students to use their Math skills to help out children with cancer and other diseases. He also went on tour with Ne-Yo after which he started working on his second studio album. In 2007, Brown released his second studio album ‘Exclusive’ which debuted at number four in the US Billboard 200. The record sold 294,000 copies in the first week and yielded hits such as ‘Wall to Wall’ and ‘Kiss Kiss’. He followed up with ‘The Exclusive Holiday Tour’ to promote his album. He visited over thirty venues in the tour and finished up in 2008 in Honolulu.
Brown re-released ‘Exclusive’ as a deluxe edition, ‘Exclusive: The Forever Edition’. It featured new tracks including ‘Forever’ which reached number two on Billboard Hot 100. He then starred as a guest in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody as himself in 2008. In the same year he started work on his third studio album ‘Graffiti’ which was released in December 2009. He took to including a different style of music in the album with singles such as ‘I Can Transform Ya’ and ‘Crawl’ which reached number 20 and number 53 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100. The record sold over 300,000 copies, but generally received negative reviews from critics.
In 2010 he starred in Taker’s alongside Paul Walker, Idris Elba, T.I and Hayden Christensen. He also served in the role of an executive producer in the film. The following year, in March 2011, he released his fourth studio album, ‘F.A.M.E’ which sold 270,000 copies in the first week of release and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. This was his first number one album in the US. He received six nominations at the BET Awards in the same year and won five. The album also won Brown the Grammy Award for the Best R&B Album.
His fifth studio album, ‘Fortune’, was released in 2012 and received harsh critics from reviews, although it debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. ‘X’, the sixth studio album was released in 2014 and sold 145,644 copies in the first week. It debuted at number two in the Billboard 200. His seventh solo studio album, ‘Royalty’, was released in December 2015.
Chris Brown is a certified “bad boy” who is constantly followed by bad publicity and controversy. His run in with the law has constituted a very significant part of his career. His online media presence is almost always met with negativity as he is rash in using foul language, cussing and calling people out. He was recently dropped by his well respected publicist after he went on an online rant about his team and everyone who pretends to be on it but isn’t. He attacked his former publicist by publicly insulting her, leading to her resignation. When Gwyneth Paltrow was asked about her spot as the most hated person she asked, “Most hated, more than Chris Brown?”
Brown gained publicity when he was very young. He went from someone nobody knew about to one of the most famous celebrities in the world which has led people to believe that his overnight fame has had a large part to play in his attitude and demeanor. He seems to have no respect and is arrogant and opinionated. He is lewd, picks fight, has assaulted people on more than one occasion and has been caught up in homophobic behavior which has left his public image dead in the water.
Chris Brown is no stranger to the law or legal system. He was caught in a nearly ten hour stand-off with the Los Angeles police on 1 September 2016. The stand-off lasted from 3 a.m. in the morning to about 1 p.m. when his lawyer arrived at the house. The 3 a.m. call from a woman accused Chris Brown of pulling a gun on her. According to her, she was admiring some diamonds in the singer’s home when one of his friends asked her to get away from the diamonds. Chris Brown then reportedly came into the house, pulled a gun on her and told her to get out of his house. The woman ran all the way out and past some other houses before she could recollect herself, then called the police after a neighbor had alerted them of some commotion. Chris Brown maintains his innocence and even posted a live rant about the incident, claiming that he was innocent. Model, Baylee Curran, claimed to be the victim. Brown’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, claims to have a text message that he is getting authenticated as part of Brown’s defense. The text message is from the alleged victim to a friend saying that she will set up Chris Brown because he kicked her out of his house for calling his friend’s jewelry fake. She then asks the friend to come get her because the Uber was messing her up. Chris Brown went on a rant accusing the authorities of trying to go after him constantly for things he hadn’t done while at the same time ignoring his plea for protection when his life was being endangered by stalkers. After his arrest, Brown was released on $250,000 bail.
This is not the first time that Brown has been in the limelight because of an arrest. In 2009 he was in the spotlight after assaulting fellow musician Rihanna, who was his girlfriend at the time. The physical altercation led to Rihanna’s visible facial injuries that required hospitalization. Brown turned himself into the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Station and was booked under the suspicion of making criminal threats. The case saw Brown’s music and commercial advertisements pulled from television and radio stations. The 2009 Grammy Awards that had him slotted for a performance was given to Justin Timberlake and Al Green. He was charged with felony, assault and making criminal threats to which he pleaded guilty on the first and not guilty on the last two. He accepted a plea deal of one year of domestic violence counseling, six months of community service and five years of formal probation. He was also served with a five-year restraining order in which he was ordered to stay more than 50 yards away from Rihanna. After the case, Brown posted a video on his official YouTube channel apologizing to Rihanna and to everyone as well. He termed it as his biggest regret. He went on The Larry King Show, recounting being exposed to domestic violence growing up when his stepfather would assault his mother. Brown’s mother, however, said that she did not believe in the cycle of violence and that Brown had never been a violent person. Brown was apologetic about the whole incident.
Brown’s other run-ins with the law include a fight in SoHo with musician Drake and their entourages, where an Australian woman was injured and had to get sixteen stitches for her injury. They were not arrested and later made up in a pre-rehearsed public skit. He also attacked Frank Ocean over a parking space by punching him. Ocean decided not to press charges on the matter. Brown has also done a stint in jail for violating the terms of his probation after he was kicked out of a rehab facility. The judge had ordered him to go straight to jail if he left the facility. His sentence of 131 days in custody was extended by 365 days, but he was given credit for the 234 days he had already served in custody and in anger management and rehab. He was released earlier because of prison overcrowding. After his release, he tweeted ‘Thank God’.
The tweet and the singer’s start of his career in the choir are taken as a depiction of his religious side. Asked if he was religious in an interview, he said that he definitely felt the move of The Holy Ghost in his performance of the song ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’. He also expressed that growing up, he had more church clothes than school clothes because they were always going to church.
Brown’s dating life has not been without ups and downs. He has dated a number of notable personalities, including Rihanna in 2008. The relationship ended with his assault in 2009, after which he started dating Natalie Mejia of the ‘Girlicious ‘group. He then dated aspiring model Karrueche Tran in 2011 and ended it in 2012 under the explanation that he did not want his friendship with Rihanna to affect Tran. In January 2013 Rihanna confirmed that they had gotten back together and that he was not the monster that people thought he was. Brown later announced in May of the same year that they had broken up.
In 2015, Nia Guzman bore a baby girl, Royalty and Brown became a father. He won joint custody of his daughter in May 2016 against Guzman’s request to impede Brown’s custody of their one-year old daughter.