Wrong Fingers: Chris Brown is a Role Model alright…

Chris Brown, Mom

Chris Brown and his mother Joyce Hawkins on Larry King Live in 2009
where he said he’d prove to be a positive role model for his young fans.


Go ahead,

Tell me how he’s such a great performer and I need to drop it…
Tell me how Rihanna seems to like bad boys and shouldn’t have gotten him upset, or that she asked for it…
Tell me how someone like Charlie Sheen have a lengthy list of violence against women and gets a pass, so Chris should too…
Tell me how _________ is such a great song, and it’s all about the music.
Tell me how I need to forgive people’s mistakes and allow for folks to be human.

Tell me how I need to get a life and stop hatin’…

Here’s the bottom line on this: Chris Brown is a role model, whether we like it or not.


Recently when Chris Brown was asked by paparazzi outside the Gotha nightclub to comment on Frank Ocean revealing he is bisexual, Brown responded by saying, “Man, no homo!”

For those unfamiliar with the term, here is a short video regarding the phrase ‘No Homo’

Chris and Frank apparently have had issues going back to 2011 and included this footage of Brown’s cousins chasing Ocean. I wrote a previous Higher Unlearning piece exploring Chris Brown’s childhood and history with violence. We go into detail about his history of violent and homophobic behaviour including a true account of his violence towards Rihanna.


So, as we explain in that post, Chris loves to go to Twitter and make spontaneous comments, the more controversial ones usually disappear. In classic Chris Brown form, here is his response to the uproar over the No Homo comment.

…so we continue to point the ‘wrong fingers’.  “readabookbitch” …his maturity has clearly maintained the status quo, but here is where it matters.


As of July 30th, Brown has close to 11 million followers on Twitter. I’d assume many are female fans, with male fans following him as well. Brown’s fans are affectionately called ‘Team Breezy’ and defend their fav singer with a feverish passion. They also clearly have learned well from him and  follow along with Brown’s mature example of handling situations . During the 2012 Billboard Awards in May, model Chrissy Teigen took to her Twitter account (as did others) to critique a seemingly bad lip-synced Chris Brown’s performance.


  • “So excited to see Chris Brown! I love loud and surprising background fits of rage I can hear from the audience”
  • “Why sing when you can dance?”


The following is a small sample of the hundreds of replies, comments and death threats toward Teigen as a result of her observations:


  • “b**** who the f*** are you hoe? you unknown b****. you need some D*** in yo life? u mod? cause he winning.. b**** get a life”
  • “All you do is talk s**t, you need to be raped and murdered.”
  • I don’t beat women, but you are one b**** I will make an exception for.”
  • you’re a f****** hoe and I hope someone kicks her f****** a**!!!!!”
  • Why you yelling, young thing? RT @mrsdorsey4life ONE MORE THING DON’T BE HATIN ON BREEZY CAUSE HES OUR F***** KING WE OBEY HIM”
  • i hope someone tortures you alive so you can feel the pain & i can hear your amusing screams for help 🙂


These hundreds of tweets from Team Breezy calling for Chrissy Teigen to be killed or raped led to her boyfriend, another Grammy award-winning singer John Legend, defending her on Twitter.


Chris Brown finally responded to his fans rabid attack, to get them to stop the violent behaviour, he sent out the following:

“Team Breezy! Lets stop sending death threats!…I know y’all bout that life but it’s the wrong message! Ur turning haters into victims!”

Again, the message to his fans publicly wishing rape and death on a woman was “I know y’all about that life…but it’s the wrong message…you are turning haters into victims.”   What does he mean by ‘that life’? Brown constantly messages and talks to his millions and millions of young fans via social media, and the example he sets for them is there for the world to see in his tweets, his lyrics. his actions…and lack of action.  That life, indeed.

Our young men and boys need to see stronger role models and examples of being a man, and our young women and girls need to see these examples as well. These cycles of violence and destructive behaviour and attitudes need to be broken, urgently.

Until we see some accountability from someone claiming to be a role model and ignoring the impact they are having on millions of young devote followers, we have to continue pointing the ‘wrong fingers’.



p.s. Here is a great review of his last record







Higher Unlearning

Higher Unlearning is an online space for us to discuss how ideas of manhood & masculinity affect us in everyday situations and scenarios. Created by Jeff Perera of the White Ribbon Campaign. Higher Unlearning allows for folks from all walks of life to contribute interactive articles, stories, testimonials, essays, photo essays and videos on how ideas of gender limit and impact us all in a variety of ways. Watch Jeff’s TEDx talk ‘Words Speak Louder Than Actions’.

Let’s encourage men to embrace being the positive influence they can be in a child’s life.

About It Starts With You

It starts with you. It stays with him. is an online-based, social media campaign developed by the White Ribbon Campaign  to inspire men to promote healthy, equal relationships with the boys in their lives. Helping young people achieve consent, set boundaries, value people of all genders and use respectful communication in all their relationships is something we can all do. Learn more about the tips, tools and resources, e-modules and digital stories available online for free at www.itstartswithyou.ca

One comment

  1. Some additional thoughts:

    A/ I think the word ‘role model’ can be very misleading. Wiktionary gives us this definition: “Role model generally means any “person who serves as an example, whose behavior is emulated by others”

    Perhaps the term ‘influencing factor’ is a better term?

    B/ Chris Brown in his interview with Larry King on CNN (which can be found in my original article re: Chris Brown https://higherunlearning.com/2012/02/26/chrisbrownandthesoundsofyoungmeninfreefall/) talked about embracing his role as a role model to youth and his young fans. He said he would deliver on this, as part of his work to atone for his public violence towards Rihanna.

    No one should ever leave parenting to anyone other than themselves, but role models or influencing factors can make a tremendous impactful (or more so) on a young person. Chris Brown or any celebrity does not need to live a squeaky-clean life, as we can learn as much from a person’s mistakes and flaws as we can from positive actions. Chris publicly discussed acknowledging his status and influence as a musician targeting specifically towards young people aged 13-24.

    He has a twitter account of 11 MILLION fans. guaranteed most followers are under 24 yrs old. His Twitter account serves a function different than the average person, who uses it to reflect, react, comment and share opinion , views and links. Twitter is his marketing space….his Twitter handle is part of his persona and marketing outreach as he spends as much time promoting his music and connecting with his fan base to drive up record sales.

    A simple Google search of Brown’s Tweets (including those deleted) will show they way he interacts with his young fans. Someone like Lady Gaga or Katy Perry have similar aged fans, but use the medium to intimately connect with fans, but not cross the lines Chris crosses regularly (homophobia, sexism, bullying, calling out others into battle, fights with rappers/other artists etc).

    When Beiber fans attack a person on Twitter, I don’t think it is the same as this example of Team Breezy’s vicious tweet-assault. Chris speaks and acts like this constantly (again peep my article or research his numerous incidents of verbal violence) and it reflects in his audience.

    He doesn’t owe us anything, but he owes his young fans. I am first to acknowledge, if we knew what famous singers or actors did in their real life, we’d stop buying their records and watching their films…

    Chris initially said he’d atone and embrace the role he has in the lives of young ppl who still look up to him…that’s different than with other celebs who reject being a role model from day one (even though they are also influencing factors whether they like it or not).


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