For over twenty-five years, I have had the privilege to watch some the greatest living artists create the most powerful cultural movement that America has ever seen. I saw Run-DMC sell out Madison Square Garden, the Beastie Boys get licensed to ill, DMX release three #1 albums in a row, LL Cool J rock the bells, Kanye West artistically push his generation to a new level, Diddy pave the way for a new wave of urban entrepreneurship…and those are to name just a few artists who went through a period of tremendous personal struggle after achieving their “dreams.” I have worked everyday of my adult life to uplift the potential of the artist, who I believe has the greatest potential of uplifting the generation. It is the artist that breathes clarity into a world that is full of clutter. And today, now more than ever, the world is very cluttered.
On Tuesday night, I sat with Chris Brown, one of the greatest performing artists of his time, during his celebration dinner for the release of his new album, F.A.M.E. I know that this young man’s dancing, singing and art are his prayers. Without them, he’s left to deal with a cluttered world in a way that is far too complicated than he imagined when he was a thirteen-year-old kid with a dream of being famous. I am troubled by the people, critics and members of the media who drag Chris away from his art. His freedom is deeply rooted in his artistic expression. It is during those seconds of stillness when you’re dancing that the Christ/Buddha/Allah/Moses inside of you is awakened and comes to power. This is the freedom Chris knew as a child, but as he rose to fame, finding freedom became a lot more complicated. Coming back home is a very difficult thing. Coming back to being normal, coming back to that pure place of artistry. But, when fame snatches your freedom, the ability to control your own life becomes much more difficult.
And when you become famous, you are told and think that happiness will be found by buying more toys and spending more money on things you know you don’t need. There’s nothing in the outside world that’ll make you happy. It’s written in every scripture over and over again. The only happiness comes from inside. And NO ONE can look deeper inside than the artist, cause you’re working on the inside because you’re lucky enough to see a piece of god in your dancing, a piece of god in your presence, through your songwriting and singing and all your artistic expression. And you get a glimpse of god and goodness and happiness which is all that’s inside you. However, you are being pulled away and you lose the perspective that the inside is all happiness, because the outside pulls you to work on the album’s marketing and promotion, the business deals, the corporate dinners, the groupies, the rest of the world.
I am reminded of my brother Rev. Run’s sermon that he tells every time about his breakdown. He was sitting in the bathtub getting his hair cut while he was smoking a joint while he was eating pancakes. And hair was falling in the pancakes and ashes from the joint were falling in the pancakes and the syrup was falling in the tub and he was waiting for the phone to ring from some girl he had met on the road. And he had a brand new Rolls Royce delivered to front of the hotel he was staying in, waiting for him to drive away. Had he been writing a song during that time he’d be okay, but he wasn’t. The things were there, but people were forcing him to deal with the outside when the outside was nothing but sickness. Because the outside is noise and the inside is the spirit.
So, you end up eating pancakes in the bathtub. That’s all it’s worth to you. Eat pancakes in the bathtub, get your hair cut while you smoke a joint and wait for the phone to ring for some girl, some groupie that might show up. It’s a lot. And all the things you think you want, make you sick. People always want to say “well you got all that money and shit!” you “should” be happy. But, the mistake is to believe that money’s gonna make you happy. Most of the people reading this blog wish they had all these things that the artists have. Almost every one of you would have trouble dealing with them as well. Because you too, think you need these things. But, I am here to tell you, the more you get the more you need. And yet, all scriptures remind you neediness is the cause of suffering.
And Chris is suffering from the same thing as almost every young star has gone through, including the Disney kids. And, having lost control, some of these young artists, sometimes, do an unspeakable thing at a moment of time. And they pay the price. But, as I and my team have said repeatedly on my site GlobalGrind.com, what’s not fair is artists paying the price of the sins in their young lives for the rest of their lives. Again, and again, and again. That’s just not fair. If we insisted on that there would be no art. There would be only shame; there would be no learning, no redemption, there would be no road for millions of fans to travel the journey of the artist to enlightenment. It would negate the very purpose of art itself which is to reconcile, through a redeeming journey, the intractable contradictions in life and society. This is something I have fought for all my life. And, you know, Disney kids are allowed a little bit more of a break. Sometimes you have to even feel sorry for them. Not that the media didn’t continue to drive Britney Spears freakin’ crazy. Not that the media doesn’t mess with Miley Cyrus every day. Not that the media doesn’t stalk Lindsay Lohan. I’m just saying, give this man a break. I spoke to him last night for a long time and I know how good of a young man he is. He’s having the same type of struggles that all those other Disney kids have and all the other people who have instant fame… And because of that one regretful incident, no one will give him a break. You can give them media coaches, but can you give them life coaches? A media coach is great, but a life coach is what he’s in need of. And my heart and my office door is always open to him.
If only the hateful and non-forgiving people in this world would think like this, it would be a better place. Let Chris live!