Ordinarily, the posting on Chris Brown‘s MySpace page would be routine promotion for a musical artist at the top of his game.
“Vote for Chris on the Kids’ Choice Awards 2009,” says the message, which includes the balloting links for his two nominated categories. “Thank you for your support.”
But these are not ordinary times. On the same day Brown was soliciting awards show support, the 19-year-old R&B star was facing a Superior Court commissioner in Los Angeles after being charged with felonies for allegedly beating girlfriend Rihanna a month ago.
As his legal crisis persists, Brown is attempting to focus on business as usual, even if there’s nothing usual at all about his circumstances. In recent days, he has been spotted going to recording studios in California and Florida, plugging away on his third album, due out later this year, which he started before his alleged attack on Rihanna.
Career Moving Forward
“He’s trying to keep his career moving forward,” says a source close to Brown, who spent the two nights before his Thursday court appearance at the Glenwood Place recording studio in Burbank, Calif.
And Thursday’s new posting on Brown’s MySpace page made no mention of his highly publicized troubles. It instead urged fans to vote for him for the March 28 show for Favorite Male Singer and Favorite Song for his single with T Pain, “Kiss Kiss.” Brown is even competing in the song category with Rihanna, who is nominated for “Don’t Stop the Music.”
Despite Brown’s legal woes and the public outcry when he and Rihanna, 21, reconciled in Miami last week, Nielsen SoundScan confirms that sales of Brown’s platinum-selling second album, Exclusive, have remained steady in the weeks both before and after their relationship took a violent turn, moving a steady 3,000 copies a week since late January.
(Rihanna, meanwhile, has yet to begin work on a follow-up to her own platinum-selling album Good Girl Gone Bad).
A Second Chance
“I think people will give them a second chance. But if the same thing happens again, then that’s a different story,” says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of concert industry trade publication Pollstar. “They can make a lot of money when they tour. Especially Chris, who has developed into a big draw. He’s gone out and proven he can sell concert tickets on his own as a headliner. Rihanna has been mostly a support act, but she can also sell tickets.”
Emil Wilbekin, editor of urban lifestyle magazine Giant, which has featured both musicians on its cover, believes Rihanna’s popularity will continue to rise while Brown will face challenges as he wages a battle in the court of public opinion.
“It’s hard for Rihanna to take a stance on being the poster woman for domestic violence when she hasn’t admitted what went on or what is going on. When you’re in something, it’s harder to have perspective,” says Wilbekin. “She’s following her heart, and she’s very young.”
Adds Wilbekin: “What people realize about this scenario is that they’re a very real couple. They’re real people with real problems. The reconciliation shows that they’re very much in love. Is that a healthy love or not is the question.”
• Additional reporting by JOEY BARTOLOMEO, PERNILLA CEDENHEIM, MARISA LAUDADIO and KEN LEE