In recent interviews, Chris Brown has said that he’s changed. “Being at that young age, I can tell you that I was arrogant, I was definitely hotheaded,” he said to Ryan Seacrest, in reference to his 2009 assault on Rihanna. And in his first single off X, “Fine China,” Brown works to reassure listeners of the very same, that’s he’s moved on and matured. “It’s alright, I’m not dangerous / when you’re mine, I’ll be generous,” he sings.
The Sylvain White-directed clip (above) reveals itself to be a modern take to West Side Story, the sort of approach that Brown’s main influence, Michael Jackson, often took with his own music videos. Brown’s in love, but his girlfriend’s father stresses that he’s bad news: “I know enough. He’s an outsider, he’s a thug.” Still, the woman follows Brown as he dances around her through an alleyway — Jackson’s strut in “Thriller” immediately comes to mind — and woos her inside a club, with a little help from his friends.
“In this video, you’ll see me taking care of the girl, doing gentlemanly things—showing another side of me. I know my female audience sees it. But the naysayers might say, ‘No, that’s not him,’” Brown said to Billboard. X is out later this year; for now, watch “Fine China” up top.