During his “Fan Appreciation” tour, which kicks off on Saturday in Houston, [artist id="1961441"]Chris Brown[/artist] will hit 19 cities to thank fans for supporting him during his tumultuous 2009, which saw the 20-year-old singer pleaded guilty in June to a felony charge of assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna in February.
Brown has pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds to a pair of charities from the outing, one benefiting people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and the other aiding victims of domestic violence.
Brown explained that despite being sentenced to 180 days of community labor in the case, he is able to go on tour because he has five years to complete the term. “I’m doing as many hours as I can now, like knocking em’ out, trying to do all the many hours so when I do go on tour it’s kind of like a break period and then I can go right back to it,” Brown explained. The shows will hit primarily clubs and intimate theaters, which are much smaller than the arenas Brown hit on his last major headlining tour in 2008.
One of the beneficiary organizations, Best Buddies International, was founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989 and is the world’s largest non-profit organization aimed at providing friendships, jobs and leadership opportunities for the developmentally disabled. Brown announced that he plans to visit with some Best Buddies participants while on tour and encourage fans to consider volunteering with the organization.
In a statement, Kennedy Shriver said he was fully behind Brown’s efforts at rehabilitation. “I support Chris Brown’s efforts to show the world why he deserves a second chance, given that the commitment he has made to Best Buddies — not only to perform at our Miami Gala, but also to join the Best Buddies family as a volunteer — is a huge step in the right direction,” he said. “I also appreciate Chris’ generous offer to donate a portion of the proceeds from his tour to Best Buddies. I believe Chris’ fans will be equally inspired to support Best Buddies’ mission to provide opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities once they see his enthusiasm and commitment to the cause — and just how much his efforts mean to our participants.” A source close to Brown said that the singer personally chose the two charities and that his commitment to helping them is not court-ordered.
“Best Buddies, who actually [does] deal with kids with disabilities and adults with disabilities, it gives [those people] an opportunity to feel like they have a friend and [feel] like a normal person, so they feel like their life isn’t any less, like they’re equal,” Brown said. “So they get to have a best buddy or friend or whatever the case may be, and technically, I guess I’m the best buddies for all of them. So I try to give back to them and have fun.”
Though the press release announcing the tour did not mention that the nearly 30-year-old Los Angeles-based Jenesse Center is an organization primarily aimed at aiding domestic violence victims — noting their stated goal to “empower and equip women and men, address the needs of children and strengthen families for the next generation” — Brown has said he’s hoping to get the word out to his fans about the group’s work.
“It’s not like a whole world tour,” he said. “It’s for all of my fans. It’s basically for the people who supported me, who stick by me, who actually genuinely love my music and want to see me perform again. So I’m going back out there and just giving them a nice little show, having fun.”
Brown, who told MTV News’ Sway Calloway that he’s still a bit “confused” about his public perception in the wake of the assault, said he’s incorporating the charities into the outing not to prove anything to doubters, but for himself.
“I’m doing stuff to show — not showing the world, because I’m doing it for me — [that I'm using] my power and my actual talent to show people that I can give back and really, from my heart, make a change, make a difference,” he said.