Despite not attending the American Music Awards on Sunday (Nov. 20), Chris Brown was met with a harsh reception at the event. Kelly Rowland collected the prize on behalf of the singer who had won Favorite Male R&B Artist. The audience audibly jeered when Rowland accepted the award on his behalf.
The audience booed when Rowland presented the nominations, which included Brent Faiyaz, Giveon, Lucky Daye, and The Weeknd, then revealed Brown as the winner, according to Deadline. Rowland was apparently taken aback by the response and admonished the crowd to “calm down”
“Since Chris Brown is not present today, I will accept this award on his behalf,” she remarked before adding, “Excuse me… “relax,” per Deadline.
Rowland also personally addressed Brown when winning the prize, stating, “But I wanted to tell Chris, thank you so much for producing such beautiful R&B music, and thank you for being such a fantastic performer. I’ll accept this prize; please deliver it to me. I adore you. Congratulations. And felicitations to all nominees in this category.”
Brown was scheduled to sing a Michael Jackson tribute at the AMAs, but the performance was canceled once ABC officials learned of the preparations, according to today’s “What I’m Hearing” email by Puck’s Matt Belloni. Brown, who withdrew out of the program after his performance was canceled, posted practice footage of his planned Michael Jackson medley on Instagram on Saturday, November 19, with the caption “U SERIOUS?” and the remark “WOULD HAVE been the ama performance but they cancelled me for unexplained reasons.”
Belloni explained the context in his newsletter, stating that AMA executive producers Jesse Collins and Stephen Hill had been working with Brown on the tribute performance, which reportedly included “Beat It” despite Brown’s past physical abuse of then-girlfriend Rihanna, for which he was charged with felony assault.
Belloni said in his email that when he enquired about “the potential of a convicted domestic abuser feting an alleged child molester on a Disney network,” ABC and Disney execs were “furious” over the proposal, but were open to revising Brown’s performance in a more “thoughtful” manner.
“Disney wasn’t opposed to Brown performing, but the juxtaposition of this performer with this content was potentially radioactive and hence unacceptable,” he says.
Brown was unwilling to make any changes to the performance and dropped out of the AMAs; however, according to Belloni, “producers would have likely figured out a non-Jackson workaround if Brown was game.”
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