Chris Brown: Not for children

Chris Brown's South African tour passed with little fuss, with many willing to ignore his bad reputation. (Reuters)

Chris Brown's South African tour passed with little fuss, with many willing to ignore his bad reputation. (Reuters)

Chris Brown gave a stellar performance at the Northgate Dome on Saturday night as part of his Carpe Diem World Tour.

The multiplatinum-selling artist has been plagued by (much deserved) bad publicity. From physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend Rihanna, to throwing around sexist slurs on Twitter, Brown has a dark cloud hanging over his head.

He has since apologised to both Rihanna and his fans, and recently launched the Symphonic Love Foundation, which aims to help young aspiring artists develop their musical talent. This foundation encourages “positivity, respect and love".
I must admit that I find this ironic.

While many articles have been written about whether or not we should forgive Brown for his crimes, or even support his music, local protesters were nowhere in sight at his first concert or upon his arrival in South Africa.

Without wanting to excuse Brown's behaviour, one cannot deny his ability to engage his audience. Brown is no class act when it comes to good behaviour, but he sure is good at performing.

Brown's performance featured great choreography, stage props and multiple costume changes. He  gave the audience a good mix of old and new. Wandering around the stage,  Brown, who looked as if he could have been drinking, kept asking if we were "real", seemingly surprised at the turnout or the fact that "Africans" knew the words to his songs.

What I found interesting was that some parents saw it fitting to bring their primary school-age children to the concert. I wondered how they thought they would be able to protect these innocent ears from Brown's strong language and weed-fuelled stage antics.

Some yanked their children out of the packed venue, mortified by Brown's lyrics and crotch action on stage. I wondered if any of them had to deal with questions about the definition of "pussy" and "big bootied freaks” when they got home, or perhaps witnessed their children mimicking Brown's gyrating.

I must admit, I was ambivalent about the experience. On the one hand, I thoroughly enjoyed Brown's performance, and on other, I was confused as to why the show did not come with an age restriction. I cringed every time Brown said something inappropriate, because the little girl standing in front of me looked around uncomfortably whenever a "bad word" was uttered. Then again, maybe the parents should have checked what they were spending their money on. Surely Brown's music video to Take You Down would have given them a hint about what to expect.

I have always been under the impression that an hour and a half,  or perhaps two hours, is the standard running time of a concert by an international star. But, for some reason, Twitter critics were left upset by Chris Brown’s hour and a half performance, comparing it to his role in Stomp The Yard (where Brown's character dies within the first 10 minutes of the movie).

The high from the concert was short-lived, with criticism soon being aired on Twitter. Hash tags such as #thingslongerthanCBperformance became trending topics soon after the Jo'burg concert.

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