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I can remember when I first got my hands on a Chris Brown CD. I hadn’t actually asked for it, nor had I bought it for myself, but rather, it was a gift from a classmate who knew that an impending trip out of the country was keeping me and my family from exchanging Christmas gifts. Since we were becoming closer thanks to an excruciating economics project, she wanted to make sure I received something–and the gift was Brown’s debut album. “Run It” was cool, and “Yo! (Excuse Me Miss)” was my cut, but my expectations were low. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the back to back JAMS that album had, as well as the young boy’s ability to really entertain you and be charming at the same time (see all of his interviews pre-2009). Back then, his voice wasn’t the strongest thing I’d ever heard, but it was growing, and I liked him.

Well, that album was a hit, and Brown went on to be something like the boy-next-door who all the women wanted their daughters to date, and all the daughters were drooling over (especially since he started getting a bit more naughty with songs like “Take You Down”). I was an especially big fan, buying his sophomore album, Exclusive, fanning myself at how much he had grown, and trying my best to imitate his dance moves at college parties. And he was on top. Some were going as far as to say that he would be the next MJ, and with Usher on daddy duty, Breezy was now the go-to R&B dude. But then he started dating Rihanna. And we know what happened after that.

From then on, Brown and his image went downhill.

He became something like a pariah instead, and no matter how many apologies he issued in statements, on camera and on Larry King, people weren’t buying it. The picture had been seen, the account of the violence had been read. And when Rihanna finally came out and spoke about the incident, right before the release of his third album, Graffiti, and her own highly anticipated album, Rated R, the damage was done, and to many, Brown’s career was kaput. But his fans, TeamBreezy, the very devoted but often irrational and even crazed group of people, stood by him, bought his music, and helped him revive his career, even taking it to new heights when he hit number one on the charts with his recent release, F.A.M.E. He won a Grammy, got to perform at shows many people wouldn’t even invite him to after 2009, and was back on the main stage. He was uphill and you thought he couldn’t do anything but continue to go up and move forward.

So why is he now trying to sabotage all this revived success once again?

I’m not just talking about the whole alleged brawl with Frank Ocean that’s gotten him a broken hand and another run-in with the cops. I’m not specifically talking about the bottle throwing brawl in that janky NYC nightclub last year with Drake. I’m not talking about his choice to get back in where he fits in with Rihanna either. Hey, do what makes you happy. I’m just talking about Chris Brown in general. I’m talking about the way Brown sabotages his body with cigarettes (and maybe something worse), forgetting that he’s a SINGER, and I’ve noticed his performances suffer from his smoking vocally. I’m talking about the fact that he looks like he weighs 100 pounds soaking wet nowadays, with that blonde hair, and that his gaunt-looking body looks like it hasn’t truly rested in months and that it has a tattoo placed almost everywhere possible on skin that looks like it could be pulled off without much effort. I’m talking about how he continues to let two ladies who are supposed to mean a lot to him, and their friends, throw shade at one another on the regular, even if it’s subliminal, and then embarrass them by appearing at events and parties with the other (and don’t even get me started on that confessional video he posted about loving two women). And I’m really talking about why someone who clearly doesn’t have the best relationship with social media would continue to stay on it, and continue to argue with fools who he’ll never please day in and day out, making himself look like a fool too. Twitter, Instagram–all of that ish, has not been very kind to him, and it doesn’t help that he pays attention to th0se who make it their job to let him know that they think he’s the scum of the earth (case in point: the whole Jenny Johnson debacle). But it’s only when he has a newsworhty back and forth with other celebrities and regular trolls that he decides to back away from it all because he thinks he’s being crucified for no reason. I just don’t get it, and that’s what I’m talking about.

But despite what I don’t understand about Chris Brown, and at this point, what I can’t take, is it crazy that I want him to win? I’m so sick of watching truly talented young people do what young people do–make bad decisions–and get turned inside out by people (including some on our website too) for it. I couldn’t deal with the ugly scrutiny myself. And I don’t think we should revel in watching very young people do a Lindsay Lohan as their lives fall apart in front of us. But he HAS to do better. And as someone who I saw with sooooo much potential just a few years back, and every talented bone still sitting in his body now, I just want him to get it together. Stop feeding into the negativity and then dishing it out as a response. Stop letting people rile you up when you know you have anger management issues. Stop answering questions about your past and learn to only push and promote your future. Own up to your part in messiness and stop comparing yourself to Jesus and wondering why people are giving you crap when you still haven’t learned to walk, if not run, away from drama. You can do it young sir, I still have some faith in you because we can all change.

Sure, Christopher Maurice Brown is a mess right now, but at 23, does he not have room and opportunity to grow up and get better? And it’s not up to you or I to “give him a chance” or “forgive him,” but it’s up to him to give himself a chance so that he can nurture the voice and the talents that God gave him, and for once, finally just focus on THAT. Not the foolery.

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