If you have any form of social media, you can’t help but to know that Chris Brown has been denied entry into Canada the day before flying out to perform two of his concerts for his Between The Sheets Tour, and subsequently, both were cancelled. As the beginning of this tour had already been postponed after his probation was revoked due to unplanned travel and failing to complete community service on time, you can only imagine how disappointed Montreal and Toronto fans were. My Twitter timeline was flooded with tweets regarding the news and I found myself chuckling at some of the funny ones that ripped on Breezy not being denied by the Canadian government, but instead by Drake. If you’re familiar with Drake’s newest mixtape, this one in particular had me rolling:
If you’re familiar with Chris Brown’s music, this one was even funnier:
My laughter came to a halt when I saw tweets of anger and frustration towards the Canadian government. Now, I feel for those who were looking forward to this concert, had their hot outfits chosen, and were ready to have a dope night in T.O. with their friends vibing it out to Breezy, Trey, and Tyga. It’s never fun to have a concert cancelled on you, especially so last minute, but I found it appalling that people, especially women, were lashing out towards the government and talking smack because Canada chose to do right and enforce laws. My frustration with this matter runs deeper than people encouraging bending laws for celebrities, as it’s more about being able to excuse misogyny and disrespect. The denial of entry stems from multiple criminal offences, including a domestic violence case, and that’s not to be taken lightly.
Chris Brown’s denial into Canada surrounds his checkered history with the law that we can all remember. It all began with pleading guilty to felony assault in an incident with Rihanna back in 2009. After an argument that escalated into physical violence, Chris Brown left Rihanna with visible facial injuries that required hospitalization. He was luckily sentenced to just five years probation and 180 days of community labour, and yes, just. He had made steady probation progress until he had been sentenced to 1,000 hours of community labour after being involved in an alleged hit-and-run accident and later on was jailed for nearly three months after violating probation for a felony attack in Washington. He was admitted into rehab and eventually expelled.
It outraged me that people who were not even attending the concert were so angry with our government and faulted them and refused to even consider holding Chris Brown responsible for anything. I kid you not, I saw multiple tweets; not only begging Canada to let him in, but passionately cursing and making rude remarks towards Canadian immigration laws. It is insane to me how easily people forget their humanity for the sake of a celebrity and don’t bother to realize that his denial stems back to the character of a misogynistic, violent, and degrading human being–not a celebrity, but a human being–who made the decision to violate another human being, point blank.
I’ll level with you and admit that if you scroll through my iTunes, you will find a number of Chris Brown songs and I continue to bump his music as much as the next R&B lover and think he’s a phenomenal entertainer. However, it is important to emphasize that it is his music I admire, not who he is as a person. There have been times where I’ve also captioned my Instagram photos with Ghandi’s famous quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” yet he was a righteous leader who beat his wife for years. So while that analogy may be a bit of a stretch as one could argue Ghandi did a lot more for the world than Chris Brown has, my point is that many people will hold famous people in high regards solely for what they give to the world and are able to compartmentalize their personal life from their career, and I happen to be one of those people. My problem, nevertheless, is seeing my generation blinded by their infatuation with a celebrity to the extent that they unconsciously encourage his horrid behaviour, and are so infuriated by a decision they should be proud of. I mean, seriously, following that awful incident, he even managed to extend his punishment by severely violating probation a number of times. This kind of disobedience warrants further punishment, and most of you would concur if it were regarding an ordinary criminal. So yes, I am proud of my country, and I applaud its decision. Is Chris Brown a threat to Canada by coming and performing two concerts? No, probably not, but it’s a matter of punishment and discipline for a horrendous crime. We are quick to support not bending the rules for ordinary people, and we should not encourage doing so for celebrities either.
– Jasmine Shaffeeullah