So just browsing through Netflix like I do from time to time.. and CHRIS BROWN comes up! Like what the hell? When? How did I not know about this? A full on documentary, about his life. I didn’t need to give it a second thought, it was getting watched right that second.
Chris Brown is and always has been my favourite male artist, I don’t think there’s any songs of his I don’t like, but I do have my favourites. I remember his early stuff when I was 15/16 years old, and it literally has just got progressively better over time. Over the years I have mentioned his music on twitter and I’d get the odd reply here and there from haters, saying he can’t possibly produce any good music after the whole Rihanna allegations 🙄 but I’ll go into that later..
Obviously I didn’t know anything about this documentary before watching it, I didn’t even know there was a documentary so I had no idea what to expect. It starts with interviews from Chris Browns mother Joyce talking about how Chris was first discovered, which was interesting to me because it’s something I didn’t know. He was 13 years old, and a record label guy came into the gas station his dad was working at, and said he was looking to sign up a new artist. The rest followed. His mum explained how the fame happened quite literally overnight, how she raised Chris as a single mom for many years, how she tried to keep him grounded in the early days when it all took off and how proud she was of him. The documentary shows lots of never seen before footage of Chris as a teenager and when he first got signed. Interviews with him then, and now. Usher was interviewed as well as various other artists including Rita Ora, Jamie Foxx, music producers, Tyga and even JLO. It states in the documentary quite early on, that Michael Jackson was thought to be the one who introduced Usher into the music business and Usher then went on to do the same for Chris Brown. Lots of his music was played throughout the documentary too which I loved, some I had forgot about which obviously were added straight back on to my Spotify!
Chris Brown speaks openly about being at the top of his career at such a young age, being 16/17 years old and performing at the VMA’s, the fact he could get whatever he wanted, and how blessed he was to have had the fame and the fortune that came so quickly to him. He also went into detail how that all came crashing down when he was arrested for domestic violence against Rihanna. I was shocked hearing him reveal information that I hadn’t read online or in the media before, it was quite refreshing to hear him explain it in his own words, as in the media, I think we have only really ever heard Rihanna’s side of things, I remember when she did that huge Oprah special and spoke all about what she went through with Chris Brown, so yeah it was nice to hear his version of events. He said how he was 15 when he first met Rihanna, how they were friends for years but always had a “thing” between them, but never made it official until moments before the pair went on stage together for their VMA performance, they were backstage and Chris told Rihanna he wanted to be official and be with her properly. Weeks later they were in a car driving somewhere and Rihanna went through Chris’s messages on his phone and found one that said some girl wanted to meet him at an after party, and she flipped. Chris tried to reassure her it was nothing but Rihanna wasn’t having any of it, and that’s where the two of them got into a physical fight. Chris talks openly and honestly about this, I quite liked the fact he left all the bullshit at the door and held his hands up and admitted what he’d done. It was extremely emotional when you hear him say, in that moment when he punched Rihanna, gave her a split lip and then started biting her, he viewed himself as a monster and all he could see was his step dad, who he had grown up witnessing beat his mother. In his own words, he said this was the one thing he had spent his adult life running from, but later realised he became. During this part of the documentary you hear interviews from family members, Chris Browns lawyer, other musicians and celebrities, and get their perspective on what they thought about the whole Rihanna relationship and domestic violence charges. After this all happened, Chris explains how his life quite literally spiralled out of control, he felt suicidal, worthless and that he was becoming somebody he wasn’t. He talks about his album F.A.M.E that came out not long after his split from Rihanna, and that it stood for “forgiving all my enemies” – again, something I didn’t know until watching the Netflix documentary.
I also got really emotional during the part where he performed a tribute to Michael Jackson 1 year after his death, you see Chris Brown break down on stage and you can see his pain, and that was moving to watch. He talks about checking in to rehab following his charges, but how he was soon asked to leave rehab following false allegations that he began a sexual relationship with a member of staff from the rehab facility, his community service and finally his 3 month prison sentence and how during his time in solidarity confinement he would draw on the walls and read the bible. All of which was facinating to me as I felt like I was getting to know a part of him that I did not know, as a fan of his music for so many years.
After prison, Chris Brown decided to turn his life around and focus on his music, he began a new relationship with Karrueche, but admitted he was still in love with Rihanna and battled between loving two people at the same time. It was around this time, he found out he was a father to a daughter he didn’t know anything about. He explains in the documentary about the first time he met his 9 month old daughter Royalty, and how he knew instantly that she was his, and god had created her for him. It’s very clear to see in the documentary his love for his daughter and that now everything he does is for her. Karrueche left him when she found out that Chris had a child she knew nothing about, and Chris talks about his too.
All I know was that I was utterly gripped throughout watching this on Netflix, and when I’m gripped on something without even checking my phone, that’s when you know its really really good. I had a couple of people tell me not long after I’d watched the documentary that they always saw Chris Brown as a twat after what they heard happened with Rihanna, but do you know what? In my personal opinion, whatever crimes he commits in his personal life, does not define him as a person. To say you don’t like or don’t listen to someone’s music just because they punched someone in their teenage years, however wrong it was, is beyond pathetic I’m afraid. His music, his song writing and his presence when on stage is beyond talented. Chris Brown is the Michael Jackson of our generation, and there quite literally is nobody like him.
If you like his music, you will absolutely love the documentary, and if you don’t really know if you like him or his music, still give it a watch because I think you’ll be extremely surprised, and come away from this Netflix documentary feeling like you now know a little bit about Chris Brown, his life and his career.
I absolutely LOVED it. Now I’m just waiting for him to tour the U.K., because Tazmyn and I will be first in line to get tickets!