How Do You Say “Hide Your Daughters” in Mandarin?
I am going to set aside that Chris Brown is a man-child who is prone to throwing tantrums in green rooms when people bring up his public behavior.
I am not going to talk about how he, a child of abuse, abused his famous girlfriend and then got back with her to the dismay of nearly all his fans.
Over the last few years those things have been hashed about by better writers than myself, who know more information and follow more gossip rags than I do. If you are on Team Breezy then there’s nothing I can say to deter you.
But! I will parse his new video.
First off I’m like…. waaaaah?
We come in on a young Chinese family where the father talks about belonging to a triad (gangsters) but can’t let his daughter date a guy who is young thug.
Shot to the daughter who is wearing a dress that looks like a 21st century cheongsam.
And I ain’t gone lie, I covet that dress.
Underlying story, he’s the boy next door, how can he be a thug?
Then, Chris goes into song and dance à la Michael Jackson, “The Way You Make Me Feel“.
If you remember anything about MJ’s song and the context behind it, you will remember it comes at a time before the child sexual allegations but at the height where people were starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with his Peter Pan/asexual imp act. He was grabbing his genitals on stage but hanging out with Emmanuel Lewis and McCauley Culkin, something wasn’t right.
MJ had to change the narrative to make himself seem like a ladies man, which he accomplished by spending 4 minutes chasing after female doppelgänger Tatiana Thumbtzen then one minute to two minutes taking out his sexual angst by demolishing a car.
Yeah, that happened.
So, where MJ tried to cultivate an air of masculinity in the late 80s and early 90s by telling you he’s bad, Breezy is trying to defend his image by allaying your fears.
“It’s alright, I’m not dangerous” he sings. “When you’re mine, I’ll be generous.”
At the end of the video the father comes back to defend the Karreuche Tran look-alike. But really, I don’t think the young lady is supposed to be a stand in for Karreuche or even Rihanna. The person Brown is trying to love but keeps seeming to be taken from him is the public love. Fame is china fine: delicate, expensive, hard to obtain. In the end we have a stand-off between Team Breezy fans, Team Breezy critics who are keeping Brown away from his lady love.
So the question is, was Brown’s song and dance good enough to get back his lady love? Are you applauding it? For a minute we had fun (though we didn’t truly believe) that Michael had fun with Naomi Campbell and Iman in his early 90s music videos. He even went as far as to sell an album as dangerous, although he was singing about a woman.
By the end of the 90s things turned around a lot differently for MJ.
Maybe things are different. Maybe Brown is as innocent and innocuous as his music purports.
And if he isn’t, his fans will have good music to dance to.