As everyone knows, Chris Brown performed at the Grammys last night. Everyone knows this because in the days leading up to the big show, Chris Brown’s scheduled performance dominated the conversation, up until Whitney Houston died. (Let us remember that on the eve of the Grammys three years ago, Chris Brown beat up Rihanna.) A post on HelloGiggles called “I’m Not Okay With Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys and I’m Not Sure Why You Are” was so popular it temporarily shut down the site. Before and during the performance, celebrities and non-celebrities on Twitter expressed their dismay that the entertainment industry would welcome back someone who so brutally beat up a woman, let alone one of its stars. Others were okay with it. But the controversy did not dissuade Grammy producers. They didn’t even flinch. Brown performed not once, but twice. First was a lip-synced medley of his hits, complete with his MJ-redux dance moves. Next was a bizarro medley tribute thing to Electronic Dance Music, where Brown led a crowd of pretend ravers into the auditorium to watch Lil’ Wayne put his street cred at serious risk.
From a business perspective, Chris Brown at the Grammys made sense. F.A.M.E was one of the bestselling albums of 2011, and love him or absolutely despise him, he puts on a good show. And whether or not you agreed with the decision to feature Brown on the broadcast, the move got everyone talking. But what’s the general mood like today, in this post-Chris Brown haze we’re all living in? What are people saying and thinking about what they saw last night? Do they have any opinions? Why yes, yes they do.
The New Yorker‘s resident music expert Sasha Frere-Jones wasn’t having any of it. “Woman-beating rage-broccoli Chris Brown lip-synced his single “Turn Up The Music,” Jones wrote. “He ended his performance by back-flipping off the stage, though sadly not off the earth. He returned to the stage one or two or maybe eighteen times. It was one of the Grammys’ weirdest choices ever, since the person who almost unanimously invigorated R&B in a variety of ways last year was Drake, but his album came out after the September 30, 2011, cutoff point. So we got Chris Brown. Meet Chris Brown’s apologetic army of fans, whom he addressed as “Team Breezy” from the stage when accepting the award for Best R&B Album.
Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post thought the performance sent a bad message to kids: “If the Grammys wants to be seen as doing good for public schoolchildren, the organization ought to think about the messages it sends. The last thing young people need to see is an organization that represents the music they love give an early pass to a man convicted of felony assault — and one who didn’t think it necessary to ask for forgiveness from his community when he accepted an award he won Sunday night.
The New York Daily News noted that last night marked the completion of Brown’s comeback. Meanwhile, Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich went on ABC radio to claim that it was the Grammys themselves who were victimized by Brown, but that the time to forgive him was last night. And finally, Buzzfeed did the obvious by trolling Twitter for die-hard members of Team Breezy, who sent out joke-y tweets about wanting to be punched in the face by Chris Brown. Of course they did.