— Hot 1079 Atlanta (@hot1079atl) April 22, 2014
Last night, the season four premiere of the “The Boondocks” went after Chris Brown, framing the story as an episode of “Law and Order.”
It begins, “In the celebrity criminal justice system, there are the so-called ‘musicians’ who commit crimes, and the overpaid private defense attorneys who defend them.” Brown’s character, Pretty Boy Flizzy, is depicted as a habitual criminal who never remembers what he does because he’s always “f—– up.” But even that’s revealed as an act he puts on to stay afloat in the music industry.
After similar sendups of R. Kelly, Tyler Perry, and Usher, some found the show, now without its creator, Aaron McGruder, a touch warmed-over. Huey Freeman, who serves as the show’s conscience, and his younger brother Riley, its id, were also largely absent.
The shots at Brown, 24, who is also commonly known as Breezy, dominated the online conversation surrounding the show Monday night, and it appears we may have finally reached the saturation point when it comes to making fun of the singer and his notorious temper.
The laughs were still there, but they were marked by a level of unease. Some were unhappy that the show depicted domestic violence without really offering any commentary on it other than, “women are stupid.” At one point, Flizzy turns to his attorney, Tom, who has agreed to let Flizzy save his marriage. “A woman hates to be bored, Tom,” Flizzy says. “They hate to be bored. A woman would rather be with a guy that beats them to death than bores them to death.”
So we gone talk about the watered down but-everyone-else-be-laughing-at-it a la domestic violence or nah?
— Regina N. Bradley (@redclayscholar) April 22, 2014
— KDK (@itsKENDRA_xo) April 22, 2014
Maybe summing up the queasiness is as simple as the little Maya Angelou-ism: “When you know better, you do better.”
We now know that Brown has been diagnosed with Bipolar II and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, is at the center of a narrative marked by anger and insolence, from altercations with Drake and Frank Ocean to a violent 2011 Good Morning America appearance.
There’s a distinction to be made between excusing Brown’s behavior (saying Rihanna must have provoked him, dismissing West Indian women as crazy or hot-tempered, other various forms of victim-blaming) and offering a modicum of context: Brown lost his virginity when he was 8 years old, an age at which no child is considered capable of giving consent. He grew up seeing his stepfather abuse his mother (Rihanna has also said that she grew up with an abusive father) and there are mounds of evidence that suggest that domestic violence is cyclical and that without some sort of intervention, many children who are exposed to it grow up to be adults who reenact it. And Brown has been diagnosed with not one, but two serious mental illnesses, the sort that cannot be mended with a Xanax prescription and a slap on the rear. He’s a micro-economy. Brown is surrounded by people, some of whom are likely enablers, whose financial health depends on his commercial success. If, with all of this baggage, he’s still a bankable artist, what’s the point of taking months, possibly even a year or more, from recording, touring, and promoting, to “fix him?”
Unlike Flizzy, Brown’s transgressions aren’t just an act: Brown will be on trial Wednesday thanks to a simple misdemeanor charge stemming from a 2013 incident outside a Washington, D.C., hotel. His body guard was already convicted Monday.