MUSIC, LEADERSHIP, CULTURE… and humor (sometimes)

Does Talent Trump Transgression? Chris Brown’s Comeback.

In case you didn’t hear about this yet, Chris Brown made an appearance on Dancing With the Stars the other night:

I don’t know what you thought after watching the video but I am reminded of how talented this guy is.  I mean, he’s just an absolutely electrifying performer, a force of nature and charisma in a box.

Oh, and his new album was the #1 bestseller this week.

Not too long ago, this guy beat his girlfriend into a bloody pulp.  Her name was Rihanna. People said his career, his life, was over.

Look at him now.

This is the kind of success story that’s a little bit tricky.  On one hand, everyone deserves a second chance and it’s great that he’s getting it.

But what if Chris Brown wasn’t famous and talented? What if Chris Brown didn’t have video game-caliber dancing chops?  Would everyone be so quick to forgive and move on?

People forget that Kobe Bryant was once accused of rape.  Multiple championships and all-star game MVPs later, this is rarely a topic of discussion anymore.  (Unless you’re amongst a group of haters but that’s another topic for another day.)

Michael Vick was scum of the earth and public enemy number 1 when it was revealed that he was running a canine version of the kumite.  After a successful run with the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick is back on track.

When Tiger Woods starts collecting jackets and trophies again, people will gladly remove the Scarlet Letter from his cap and let the Nike Swoosh reign once more.

I am all about redemption and grace. I love seeing forgiveness and renewal take place in the public eye for all to witness and marvel at.

But this Chris Brown story feels a little bit different.  It seems to me that his other-worldly talent might have served as a broom to swiftly sweep his dust of violent rage under a large rug of instant success.

Maybe I’m wrong (which happens on occasion) but I am seeing a pattern here and I wonder if we give too much credence to talent.

Watch this:

In our subconscious we may think that talent excuses us from being human, from really dealing with and going through the process of brokenness, from taking the time to heal and mend properly.

Talent only goes so far and for Chris Brown’s sake, I really hope he is dealing with his deep issues of anger.  I hope he celebrates the fact that he stands forgiven by God but that the responsibilities and consequences of his actions still linger. And this is to shape him and make him a better man.  This goes for all of us and our junk.

As he performs and climbs the charts he cannot forget what he’s been through and what he’s done.  That, to me, is not grace and redemption.  It’s something completely different and I hope for his sake and those that admire him that he doesn’t get lost in his own hype.

Talent does not trump transgression.


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