Is there anyone more sheltered from reality than Chris Brown?
With minimal legal consequences (five years probation and six months of community service) for his 2009 assault of Rihanna, and an absurdly bloated 45-song album clouding his sense of how many people still listen to his music, Brown seems to think touring with three of 2018's biggest pop stars—Ri, Bruno Mars and Beyoncé—is something he could do without a hitch:
Brown doesn’t occupy the same space as any of these artists—that’s to say, Grammy-winning, Super Bowl Halftime Show-appearing, high quality music-making acts—but within the last few years, all of these artists have expressed their support for Brown’s ongoing career in one way or another, for whatever reason. In 2016, Mars tweeted at Chris Brown after he was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon: “Prayin for ya @chrisbrown we need ya.” (Who is the we??)
Brown and Rihanna reunited for a brief time in 2012 and 2013, including a guest spot on her song “Nobody’s Business,” which seemed to address any naysayers of their complicated relationship. Beyoncé recorded a collaboration with Brown that wasn’t used for an album, but surfaced on the web in 2015.
The situation between Rihanna and Brown feels black and white to an outside observer (and to be clear—I think he should have gone to jail,) but on a personal level, it’s likely shrouded in grays. Of course it’s bullshit and he shouldn’t be able to tour in this capacity or any other, but just because we think Brown is a morally compromised artist beyond repair, does not mean that these A-list musicians, who listeners tend to project their own values onto, feel the same.
That said: fuck this tour.