Is It Still Too Soon to Forgive Chris Brown?

Sweet little Chris Brown. This is how we prefer to remember him. This video came out when he was, what, 16? He's so young here, so adorable, so polite! The way he calls that girl dressed entirely inappropriately for her age "miss." The way he explains to her the simple steps of dancing while performing his own fancy footwork and kind of stalking her down the sidewalk. His voice hadn't even finished changing yet.

He does get a little grabby in the back of that car, though. Rocks Off's kid sister was watching back then - she had a bit of a crush on Brown. Even though we don't approve of him keeping "three or four sweeties on your clock" It all seemed so innocent then compared to this washed up image of him right here.

Maybe that's the key to keeping this all in perspective, this incident. Brown has talked extensively about his family's history of domestic abuse, even before his own problems started. For a while early in their relationship, neither Brown nor Rihanna would admit that they were a couple.

Looking back, Rocks Off wonders about this. Was it something about the pressure of fame on two people who are just barely adults? Or was there another, internal pressure?

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So much has been written about Brown and Rihanna on pop-culture blogs, feminist blogs and everywhere else that there isn't much more to say. And yet both Chris Brown and Rihanna are embarking on a promotional Cold War, which for Brown includes the "Fan Appreciation Tour," stopping at House of Blues Saturday. "Fan Appreciation Tour" - grovel much?

For Rihanna, promotion of her new album, Rated R, includes a two-part interview with Diane Sawyer. The way Rocks Off sees it, Rihanna owes nothing to her fans. She has nothing to explain. Chris Brown, if he wants to recover in any way, he's the one who needs to explain himself, who needs to take responsibility, and not in a way that seems to say, "How do I get over it?".

Brown's road will be a tough one, but it's not impossible. Other stars have been able to bounce back from equally devastating allegations. As Rocks Off's friend recently wrote, being good and being good at something are not the same things.

If there can be anything good said about the case it's that it had brought domestic violence into the spotlight, though this article in particular is horrifying. We think about our little sister, now an adult, and wonder what she thinks of Brown - if she sided with him, or if she sympathized with Rihanna.

Both stars are still so young, they have their whole lives and careers ahead of them to make this part of the past. And that's how we want to think of it. Optimistically, at least. It was a just a youthful indiscretion, and they'll learn from their mistakes.

Chris Brown's "Fan Appreciation Tour," with New Boyz, is 8 p.m. Saturday, November 14, at House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, 888-402-5837 or www.hob.com/houston.



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