Review Revue: Chris Brown’s Tearjerking BET Awards Performance

Becky Bain / June 28, 2010

We have to wonder just how shattered Kanye West’s ego is this morning, since all anyone can talk about is Chris Brown’s teary Michael Jackson tribute at the BET Awards last night instead of West ending his self-imposed nine-month hiatus from appearing at awards shows. Were Brown’s tears the result of real emotion, or a great way to finally get some good publicity? (If it happens to be the latter, that plan sort of backfired.) Critics weigh in:

EW Music Mix thought “there was something unseemly about Brown using a tribute to a late legend as an opportunity to turn the spotlight on himself and score some career-rehab points” and that “intimate partner violence is not something you can make up for with a few well-executed dance moves or on-stage sobs.”

The Washington Post thought that “all those tears were a bit much… I’m not buying that Chris Brown was close enough to M.J. that the weepy breakdown during his performance of  ‘Man in the Mirror’ was real. I think it was contrived to elicit publicity and sympathy for prior wrongs.”

Best Week Ever called the performance a “sh*tshow” and thought it sounded like “a drunk girl at a karaoke bar too wasted to figure out what the lyrics are.” The site then posted the Top 10 Best Pics of Chris Brown Crying, and honestly, we’re crying a bit ourselves. (From laughter.)

Rap-Up spoke to a bunch of BET Awards attendees who thought Chris Brown did an incredible job honoring the King of Pop—Keri Hilson was “moved to tears” and is happy “people are finally forgiving him,” while Melody Thornton thought he “killed it.”

MTV spoke to Trey Songz, who thought that Brown “left his heart on the stage. He gave genuine emotion. I was proud of him and I was happy for him for having that moment.”

Neon Limelight thinks that despite his sobs, “Chris Brown managed to give one of the best Michael Jackson tributes since the King of Pop’s shocking death a year ago.”

PopEater believes that even if Chris Brown really was moved to tears, it doesn’t matter because we no longer trust him. “What Brown will have for many years to come–if not the rest of his life–is a credibility problem. After the video apology, many fans thought his real regret was for the career-threatening mess he’s gotten himself into, rather than the bruises he left on Rihanna. So when he sheds tears on stage for Michael Jackson, we don’t trust him. Even if they’re real, who is the pain really for? His lost mentor Michael, or for the messed up last 16 months of his own life, every bit of which was his own fault?”

Personally, we don’t think Brown is a good enough actor to literally force tears on cue, but we are suspicious of Brown’s motives—obviously, performing a tribute for a beloved musician on the anniversary of his death was a sly, and transparent, move to win the favor of the public. And singing one of Jackson’s more emotional songs was Brown easily setting himself up to have an emotional reaction on stage (which would undeniably result in an emotional reaction in the audience as well). But we have to admit, whether those are crocodile tears or not, he performed the medley of MJ hits extremely well.

What do you think? Were Chris Brown’s sobs the real deal, a strategic ploy to get the public on his good side again, or perhaps a little bit of both? Was the whole performance a great way to honor Michael Jackson, or should someone else been chosen? And should Chris be allowed to be fully forgiven for his violent actions, or should those who still hold a grudge against him just move on already? Leave your thoughts in the comments.