Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Once upon a time in the mid 2000s, teenager Chris Brown was an up-and-coming R&B star. Talented and adorably photogenic, some considered him the next Usher. But in February 2009, he put his girlfriend Rihanna in the hospital -- and his career on life support. Brown has been trying to make a comeback since late 2009, doing pennance with apologetic interviews, mea culpas to music fans and charity work. He's now set to headline a benefit concert in Virginia on May 19 -- but will anybody come out to see him?
As far as we can tell, Brown still has fans. His 2009 album Graffiti failed to produce a hit single, but nevertheles reached No. 1 on the U.S. R&B charts. His old songs are still catchy, even though many radio stations made the choice to stop playing them after he was arrested. And some fans -- especially teenage girls -- have remained surprisingly loyal, never allowing themselves to believe that Brown is a girlfriend-abusing thug.
Yet one simple fact remains: Nothing that Chris Brown does can erase the memory of what he did. If his girlfriend hadn't also been a celebrity, if both stars hadn't missed the Grammys, if we hadn't gasped at the photos of her battered face -- maybe we would've forgotten, eventually. But now, Brown is more famous as an abuser than as a musician. How can he attract new fans now?
Perhaps, down the line, Brown could make a comeback in the gospel music industry, if he can repent persuasively enough. Or perhaps Dr. Drew will launch a rehab show for domestic-violence perpetrators on VH1, and Brown can be the star. Somehow, he's going to have to convince the world that he's really a new man -- and a charity concert here and there isn't likely to accomplish that.
Plus: Chris Brown Begs Fans for Comeback Help
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