Chris Brown, who last made headlines as the man who beat up Rihanna, appeared on stage at the BET Awards last night with a 7-minute tribute to Michael Jackson. It was Brown's first major stage appearance since he pleaded guilty to felony assault charges in 2009.
Chris Brown's Michael Jackson tribute was likely motivated by two things. First, Brown was a major fan of Michael Jackson's and Jackson supported his career as well, but due to the criminal proceedings he was facing, Brown was excluded from the BET Awards tribute last year. Second, Chris Brown would probably like his career back.
The Michael Jackson tribute was almost as big a story as the comeback of DeBarge. Chris Brown came out to wild applause, singing and dancing to a medley of Jackson hits but breaking down in tears when he got to what should've been "Man in the Mirror." The audience started singing it for him in a show of support that I admit moved me to tears, too.
Chris Brown crying on stage at that point just may be the telling part. Ever since his attack on Rihanna was made public, Brown has remained apologetic and focused on getting his life back in line. Jackson's song talks about getting right with yourself before changing the world.
So is Chris Brown's Michael Jackson tribute a form of apology? One large plea for people to be willing to start accepting him back into the spotlight? Personally, I think Chris Brown's dedication to making things right and not excusing his behavior is a good sign. And he's serving his probation and going to therapy. Why not give him a shot, right?
If you complain that Chris Brown doesn't deserve it because he pleaded guilty to felony domestic violence charges, how about sending a bit of hate toward Tommy Lee for being on the same stage playing drums for Ludacris? Or do woman-beaters get second chances only some of the time? Tommy Lee only pleaded no contest to kicking a pregnant Pamela Anderson.
And so you can judge that performance for yourself, I give you the video of Chris Brown's Michael Jackson tribute at the BET Awards. Do watch it all.
And in case you can't watch the video, here are some choice still shots from ChrisÂ Brown's tribute: