Kelly Rowland Sticks Up for Chris Brown Amid Booing at American Music Awards

"Excuse me. Chill out," Rowland told the crowd before accepting the Favorite Male R&B Artist award on an absent Brown's behalf.

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Kelly Rowland Sticks Up for Chris Brown Amid Booing at American Music Awards
Kelly Rowland speaks onstage during the 2022 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2022 in Los Angeles Photo:Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for dcp (Getty Images)

You got something to say about Chris Brown? Kelly Rowland has this to say to you: “Chill out.” The Destiny’s Child singer was on hand (in latex glove) to present the American Music Award for Favorite Male R&B Artist at Sunday’s ceremony. Rowland’s announcement that Brown had beat out Brent Faiyaz, GIVĒON, Lucky Daye, and The Weeknd sparked an audible rumble of boos in the Microsoft Theater.

After announcing that Brown was not present at the ceremony, Rowland scolded rowdy members of the audience, saying, “Excuse me. Chill out. But I wanna tell Chris, thank you so much for making great R&B music, and I wanna tell him thank you for being an incredible performer. I’ll take this award, bring it to you. I love you. Congratulations and congratulations to all the nominees in this category.”

At this point, Brown is a polarizing figure in R&B. He retains a loyal audience (say anything remotely negative about him on social media and find out just how loyal Team Breezy is) and continues to have hits (his “Under the Influence” is at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart). Brown winning the award for Favorite Male R&B Artist in 2022 tracks with his relevance (even if it makes my boomer teeth hurt to hear him effectively described as “continuing the lineage of R&B music” set in part by Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross, Usher, and Maxwell, per Rowland’s introduction to the category). That said, he physically abused Rihanna in 2009 (before the Grammy Awards) and had glaring issues with taking accountability (and overall petulance) afterward, so it’s not at all surprising that a rather vocal fraction of the audience refuses to forgive him, some 13 years later.

Brown, by the way, was supposed to perform a tribute to Michael Jackson at Sunday’s AMAs, but that was pulled just days before the ceremony “according to sources and a report in Puck,” per Variety, “apparently over the optics of Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna the night before the 2009 Grammy Awards, leading a tribute to Jackson, who faced a 2005 criminal trial for child molestation but was acquitted.” The show’s executive producers Jesse Collins and Stephen Hill reportedly clashed with the network (ABC) over the tribute, and ABC won. Dick Clark Productions provided a statement to Variety: “Live shows change all the time, it’s the nature of this business. Unfortunately, this element of the AMAs didn’t come together as we couldn’t align on the performance, to no fault of Chris Brown.” Brown confirmed the canning on Instagram, writing, “WOULDVE been the ama performance but they cancelled me for reasons unknown.” Even though we could have guessed, now we know—allegedly.

The AMAs also featured mentions to Colorado Springs’ Club Q, the queer club where a gunman killed at least five people Sunday morning, from Kim Petras, Dove Cameron (in her acceptance speech for New Artist of the Year), and host Wayne Brady, who also paid tribute to slain Migos rapper Takeoff. “We have to stop this senseless and terrible gun violence,” said Brady. Also, Pink paid tribute to Olivia Newton-John, who died earlier this year. Pink is generally known for getting physical and scaling the height of whatever auditorium she’s in, as well as sometimes buildings, but with her feet on the ground, she performed a relatively subdued cover of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from Grease.

Also, Taylor Swift won everything, and Machine Gun Kelly (sarcastically?) wondered aloud if the moon landing actually happened.

You’re not crying, Adele is crying. Literally, wept openly as she addressed the crowd during the opening night of her long-delayed Las Vegas show on Friday.

Adele told the crowd that “a lot of shit” had been written about her after canceling the shows originally scheduled for the Vegas residency earlier this year, and that “90 percent of it is absolutely completely made up.” If nothing else, rumors of her Vegas show’s demise were greatly exaggerated.

  • Eva Mendes called Ryan Gosling “my husband” during a TV interview. Could it be so? [People]
  • The memorial for Leslie Jordan in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Sunday drew hundreds. [Page Six]
  • The drama about the reporting of the New York TimesHarvey Weinstein exposé, She Said, made a paltry $2.2 million in wide release at the box office this weekend. Its underperformance in tandem with several other high-profile critical darlings (like Tár) led Variety to write the following very depressing words: “…The business model for prestige fare has capsized.” RIP. [Variety]
  • Bob Iger’s return as CEO of Disney is apparently good for business. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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