This morning, daytime television’s gossip queen, Wendy Williams, surprisingly broke down during her “Hot Topics” segment. The audience was dead silent as the host seemed to be overcome with emotions pertaining to Chris Brown’s alleged drug use.
Last week, Billboard published a lengthy article about Chris’ Brown’s increasingly erratic behavior which stems, in part, from his diagnosed Bipolar Disorder. Brown reportedly refuses to take his meds, preferring instead to snort smoke weed, and get his Lean On. You can read the article here.
Wendy Williams has never been shy about her own sordid past, which includes at one point being so addicted to drugs that she would head out to Jerome Avenue in the South Bronx to cop crack cocaine, “like a true fiend,” she once said. It’s clear that Wendy’s personal history with abuse played a role in her response. And she’s right, Chris Brown needs help and he needs it fast.
But here’s the thing: Why are we so capable of showing compassion to Brown, but we rarely display this degree of compassion to women with similar issues? Women, who, for the most part are self-destructive, but not violent against other people. When women have similar issues, the media pokes fun at them. When women choose to stay with their abuser, we call them opportunists or stupid. We do not acknowledge that they are perhaps just as damaged as their abusers. We do not weep for them.
Chris Brown’s story isn’t new. While we don’t have all the details, it seems that his problems stem from untreated mental illness, and a childhood that included seeing his mother beaten by his father figure. No doubt there are prisons filled with many a Chris Brown. Likewise, there are plenty of productive members of society who have diagnosed mental illness and come from screwed up family lives. The difference? They don’t have millions of dollars a their disposal, and they don’t have anybody taking on the burden of their poor choices. Make no mistake: Chris Brown is criminally violent.
And yes, he’s super talented and we’ve sort of watched him grow into manhood, so it’s sad. And listen, no one is saying we can’t feel bad for the guy, but if we’re going to have compassion let’s spread it around equally. At this point, Chris Brown is an adult, and there has to be a way that we can collectively wish him well, without seeming to justify or explain away his actions.
Chris Brown’s response to Wendy’s emotional plea? See for yourself: