While Chris Brown’s onstage breakdown during a Michael Jackson tribute at Sunday night’s BET Awards likely left many viewers speechless, MTV News readers had plenty to say about the emotional tribute to the late King of Pop.
Many commenters weighed in on an MTV News story about the performance, during which Brown executed some spot-on Jackson choreography for “Remember the Time” and “Billie Jean” while modeling some of MJ’s signature looks. He then cried and was unable to get out the lyrics to the moving “Man in the Mirror.”
“He left his heart on that dance floor and when those tears dropped from his face, so did the audience around the world,” Music4Ever wrote. “He truly gave that his all and showed Michael that he was his idol.”
Kjabbamodern called Brown’s performance “amazing” and said he was spot on. “When you watched the awards you truly felt the incredible spirit he had, and when he broke down, it was truly genuine. Anyone that cannot understand that and see his true spirit is seriously NOT human. [Brown] made a mistake. … I hope people find it in their hearts to forgive this young man.”
The performance was one of the most high profile for Brown since the singer pleaded guilty last summer in connection with his attack on former girlfriend Rihanna. Since then, he has struggled to get his career back on track, meeting with disappointing sales for his album, Graffiti, and recently being forced to cancel European dates when the conviction stopped him from obtaining a work visa in the U.K.
Not everyone was convinced of the emotional sincerity of Brown’s teary display. “Publicity stunt … so funny that most of these commenters don’t even remember all the backlash MJ had to endure!!” Eddie wrote. “Where was the forgiveness then? So sad that a sick person like Chris can put on a show of ‘tears’ to a REAL MUSICIAN’S MUSIC to get sympathy. … His tears were for what he lost, which I pray he will never get back!!!”
Insantity wasn’t feeling it either, adding, “I guess you can beat the life out of women, as long as you ‘cry’ at a tribute show.”
Rebel was less harsh about Brown’s intentions, writing, “This young man has suffered ENOUGH. Just let him move on and remember that there is not one amongst us who has never made a mistake in their life.”
The night included notable performances from Alicia Keys , Eminem , Nicki Minaj , Kanye West , T.I. and Diddy. But Shai182 said simply, “Chris Brown’s performance was hands down the best performance of the night!!! He killed it!!!” And chickhappy23 opined, “MJ would have been proud & we know u’ll hold true to your promise Chris.”
MTV’s readers weren’t the only ones torn over the tribute from one of Jackson’s most avowed young followers. The Los Angeles Times ran a poll of readers on its site, asking whether they bought Brown’s performance. At press time, 39 percent said that “Chris was thinking only of Jackson and was choked up by his death,” followed by 21 percent who countered, “Chris was 100% faking a breakdown to get sympathy.” The rest of the vote was split between 12 percent who said, “Chris was 50% upset by Jackson’s death and 50% over-acting to get sympathy,” and 9 percent who thought, “Chris was 100% freaked out that he had a real singing gig again. It had nothing to do with Jackson or faking it.”
Was Chris Brown’s BET breakdown genuine? Continue the conversation in the comments.