The other day I watched on Netflix the 2017 documentary “Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life”. This documentary is about the career and life of the controversial R&B sensation/Pop Star Chris Brown. The documentary is made up of interviews with Chris Brown himself talking about his passion for music and publicised relationships, also interviews with his friends in the industry such as Usher, Jennifer Lopez, DJ Khaled, Mike Tyson, Jamie Foxx, Rita Ora and more. The documentary also contains concert footage and behind-the-scenes access to his life.
I found this documentary very interesting from a fan point of view as I love Chris Brown’s music, and also from a media point of view. What I found interesting in terms of media is how much control the media has had over how Chris Brown has been portrayed throughout his career. At the start of his career he was portrayed as “America’s sweetheart” in the rapidly rising Hip Hop music scene, and was also portrayed as a pioneer of making R&B the mainstream music it is today. Music Publications would compare him to “The King of Pop”- Michael Jackson, due to his not only his fantastic voice, yet also his excellent dancing ability. The media had created a star, and someone for the whole of America’s young generation to look up to. However, when it was found out Chris Brown had assaulted his girlfriend and fellow American Sweetheart/Pop Star Rihanna, the media knew they couldn’t have someone who did something like this inspiring the young and impressionable generation as this was a large proportion of Chris’s fans, so they made him out to be a monster.
This is an extract from an article in 2009 from CNN Entertainment regarding the assault.
She said all she kept thinking was, “When is it going to stop? When is it going to stop? He had no soul in his eyes. Just blank. He was clearly blacked-out. There was no person when I looked at him.”
The fight, she said, started when Brown received a text message from another woman while they were driving away from a Grammy Awards party.
“I caught him in a lie, and he wouldn’t tell the truth. And I wouldn’t drop it,” Rihanna told Diane Sawyer in the interview, portions of which aired Friday morning on “Good Morning America.”
“I couldn’t take that he kept lying to me, and he couldn’t take that I wouldn’t drop it. … It escalated into him being violent towards me. And it was ugly.”
How ugly? “I was battered, I was bleeding, I was swollen in my face,” she said.
I am not condoling or excusing Chris Brown’s actions at all, however it was left out in the telling of this story for years that Chris Brown would watch his mother get beat almost daily by his step father, which would have had detrimental psychological effects on him. The point is the media chose to avoid a chance to raise awareness of anger management which possibly could have got more men like Chris Brown to open up and seek help, but instead painted them as monsters.
This story is an example of the power the media have, as they were essentially in charge of the reception Chris Brown would receive depending if he fitted in with what they wanted a Pop Star to represent. They wanted a Pop Star that was the perfect role model and to not have flaws, so when his controversy with Rihanna came out, the media no longer wanted him to be presented positively so he was seen as a bad man.
This is just one example of the media’s control, and is a topic we cover very closely in school. Just while watching this documentary I made the link to what we study in school, so thought it would be a good idea and good practice do do a blog on it.
Chris Brown turned this around for himself by doing his time, going to rehab and focusing extremely hard on his music making his way back as a favourite R&B artist. This documentary also gave him a chance to show to show his side of the story, and shows hows he knows he made a big mistake and is now a changed man. Here is the trailer for documentary:
CNN Entertainment Article http://edition.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/11/06/rihanna.chris.brown/