On Aug. 13, a high spirited Chris Brown gave Billboard his first formal interview since leaving jail in June. Kicked back in front of a control board at Hollywood’s hot Chalice Recording Studios, a vintage-gear-stuffed space favored by young artists, the 25-year-old was taking a late-afternoon break from putting the finishing touches on his sixth studio album, X. But like much of his recent life, the day featured a major distraction from the music: Hours earlier, the singer, who lives in Los Angeles, had to appear in a courtroom to get a (positive) progress report on sticking to his probation.
That five-year probation stems from Brown’s 2009 conviction for assaulting ex-girlfriend Rihanna, an attack that remains notorious despite his public apologies, trips to rehab for anger management and diagnoses with both bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorders. Brown’s sometimes belligerent attitude and other tangles with the law haven’t helped. The 108 days he spent in a Los Angeles county jail this year were for violating parole after assaulting a stranger outside a Washington, D.C., hotel in October 2013. (Brown, who pled guilty to that charge on Sept. 2 and was sentenced to time served, punched the victim after the man tried to get into a photo with him.) He also has allegedly brawled with Drake and Frank Ocean.
Trouble has found him, too. On Aug. 24 — less than two weeks after Billboard’s interview — hip-hop mogul Suge Knight and two others were shot at Brown’s pre-MTV Video Music Awards party at Hollywood’s 1OAK. Unsubstantiated rumors spread that Brown was the actual target, and TMZ reported that he was “throwing gang signs” before the shooting. On Sept. 4, Brown provided this exclusive statement to Billboard regarding the events of the last few months:
“I realize that what I do for a living opens my life to public scrutiny and that I have a responsibility to everyone because of that exposure. I can say that I am only human and I have made mistakes. I can say that I try to live my life in the most true, honest way that I can. I am not perfect, no one is. No one is harder on me than me. No one can please everyone. No one can live in the past and expect to grow. I have been moving forward and hope that I am not defined by just a few moments in my life but all of the moments that will make up my life.”
Amid all of this “mayhem and hoopla,” as he himself calls it, Brown’s commercial clout remains massive. His most recent hit, “Loyal,” peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and generated 1.1 million of his 41.3 million total downloads as a lead artist, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The Grammy-winning singer has scored 13 top 10 Hot 100 hits, including two No. 1s; 30 top 10s and four No. 1s on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart; and two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200. All told, Brown has sold 6.1 million albums.
Brown also boasts one of music’s most dedicated — and sometimes aggressive — online constituencies. “Team Breezy” numbers 38 million on Facebook, 13.6 million on Twitter and 4.7 million on Instagram. Women account for the majority of these fans: Brown’s manager Mike G estimates the artist’s base skews 65 percent female. (Many of them are teens, too: 21 percent of the overall visitors to his Facebook page are between 13 and 17.)
Brown is undoubtedly one of the most controversial stars in music. But during this conversation he was gracious and engaging, if a bit circumspect. As he tinkered with the final mix and sequencing for X, which RCA will release Sept. 16, he sang, bobbed his head and tossed out instructions (“Let’s tone that down so it’s not too dominant”) to his engineer. In this Q&A, Brown discusses life behind bars, his growth as a person and whether society is ready to let him be considered a role model.
Did you spend time writing while you were in jail?
No. You know, jail isn’t a place of many creative spirits. But as far as my creativity, I put it on hold until I got out. Jail is more of a regimen and a structure. I’m more of a free spirit when it comes to creating music, painting and art. So when I got out, I was very excited to get into the studio. I didn’t have any ideas or concepts; they usually come as I go [in to record]. I was drawing and sketching most of the time, biding time.
What was the daily routine like?
A guard wakes you up; you eat. You stay in your cell most of the time, basically 24 hours a day. Maybe on Mondays you go to the roof inside of a cage and have a phone call. It’s isolation. You have time to focus on what matters, on what to do and what not to do.
What lessons did you learn from the experience?
My maturity level has risen as far as my realizing what’s important. Realizing that I’m human like everyone else. At the end of the day, it’s just a humbling experience. You’re more appreciative of everything else that’s on the outside. A burger tastes 1,000 times better when you’re out (Laughs.) I’m just more appreciative of the things I’m blessed with and the things I do: music, being able to take care of my family, being able to see my friends and family. And do what I love and still be able to do it in a timely fashion to where people don’t think, “Oh well, he fell off.” Still being able to be consistent.
What did you miss the most?
I just missed my family. At the end of the day, music is definitely a passion. But when you’re dealing with your own personal issues, family is first. I just dealt with that. I missed my dad and mom, all my cousins … seeing people’s faces and smiles … seeing people who were just encouraging and positive.
How did you keep yourself motivated?
[I had to feel] like this happened for a reason. There was a purpose. Maybe I was out of control too much. Or I needed something to humble me to the point where I get it. At that point, I didn’t look at it as trying to get out of the situation but learn from it.
How have you been able to maintain such a loyal fan base?
First, I’d say God. Honestly. My faith in knowing what my purpose is and how I’m trying to find out what my purpose is. My fan base speaks volumes [to that]. I never want to say that I know everything or I know what the best song or a hit is. I just put it out there for people to like and love. I make music for myself personally, but I also try to do music that people can relate to, have fun with; evoke as much emotion as possible from my audience and peers. It’s God and just consistency with my talent. Being able to persevere if I get knocked down and always get back up. A lot of times, you can get convoluted and confused with all the mayhem and hoopla that’s going on. I just try to stay grounded; keep my family first. And always focus on what my purpose is: putting out great music. I don’t really focus on any extras or stories in the tabloids. It’s nonsense.
You’ve moved forward, and Rihanna says she also has moved -forward. Do you see a day when your relationship won’t be brought up at all?
When we’re not relevant anymore, that might be the case. As long as you’re doing something good, people will always bring up old stuff or negative stuff because they don’t want you to surpass a certain level or elevate. But as long as you have your head on straight, it shouldn’t matter what people want to say.
Explain what it’s like to live in the public eye.
I just have to realize it comes with the territory in this day and age of social media. My age group and younger stay on the phone and Internet. It’s easy access. So I just like to focus on what I’m doing instead of getting caught up. Everybody gets caught up watching Instagram or whatever; they have jokes and all kinds of things. I can still engage in it but not participate in the negative side. Not everyone in the world is going to particularly love me. But I’m cool with that. As long as I love myself and my music, I’m fine. People are going to say what they want to say. I don’t look over my shoulder or wish I could turn back the hands of time. Life is a learning experience, so I’m learning as I go. I’m not walking around angry about anything. So you just have to let it be.
Do you consider yourself a role model?
As far as my mistakes in life, that’s being a role model, because people can see my mistakes and learn from them. I’ve gone through more stuff than most 35- or 40-year-olds, and I’ve dealt with it. As far as becoming a man in the public eye, continuing to persevere and stay positive throughout trials and tribulations … that’s the only thing I’d say contributes to my being a role model. If kids look up to me, that’s amazing; great. As far as me as an artist and a person, I always want to exude positivity. But as far as saying, “Hey, I’m a role model, I’m the best of this,” I take the humble approach and let people make that decision for themselves.
How would you define redemption?
Being able to learn from mistakes and inspiring people to learn from yours. Redemption is being able to be completely humble and love yourself. Know that you’re human and understand that life has its ups and downs, but God always balances it out.
If you couldn’t make music or dance, what would you do instead?
I would be somewhere in the industry, but not necessarily around music. It would be more like fashion design, or I’d probably be a painter or street artist. I’m eclectic, with different styles of creativity. But painting is one of my biggest passions. I just started getting back into it since I’ve been so focused on music. It’s not like, “OK, I’ve got to do an art show so people buy my paintings.”
Do you feel positive about the outcome of the Washington, D.C., assault hearing?
I just feel positive about life in general. Whatever happens will happen, and God has me. I’m going to keep my faith and be focused on my family, friends, fans and music. And from there just be the best Chris Brown I can be.
Shantel Jackson Sues Ex-Fiance Floyd Mayweather Jr., Says He Beat Her A$$, Threatened To Shoot Her (video)
Shantel Jackson has filed a lawsuit against former fiance Floyd Mayweather Jr, alleging he abused her during their relationship.
With her attorney Gloria Allred by her side, Shantel held a news conference and read a prepared statement.
“I loved Floyd deeply, but he continued to disappoint and intentionally hurt me,” Shantel said. “I have been embarrassed and humiliated more than I could ever imagine by Floyd, who I once called my best friend and fiancee. I have tried everything I could. I have given Floyd every opportunity to do the right thing. Unfortunately, he has refused every opportunity to make things right. It is with a heavy heart that I finally realized that the only way to set the record straight, and to achieve justice for what he has done to me is through filing of this lawsuit.
At the beginning of August, Remy Ma was released from prison after more than six years behind bars. She came home to some things being the same, sure, but there was also much that had changed. Twitter was unknown and Instagram hadn’t even launched when she was locked up. Drake hadn’t released So Far Gone yet, and President Obama hadn’t been sworn into office.
And not only was “Orange Is The New Black” not yet one of the most popular shows around, but the memoir that it’s based on — about a woman’s experience in prison — hadn’t yet been published.
Though there’s surely no singular prison experience, and with that, Remy’s circumstances and those of “OITNB” main character, Piper Kerman certainly had their differences, MTV News wanted to show the Bronx, New York rapper a few memorable scenes from the 12-time Emmy nominated show — both to catch her up on one of the year’s important pop culture moments, and for some insider analysis.
So, how accurate is the show? Check out Remy’s fact-checking in the video above.
Oh, and a quick shout to the producers of the series, if you’re reading this: Remy is ready for her shot on camera. “I would actually like to be on the series,” she told us. “I think it’d probably give it a more realistic feel.”
For those who have been keeping up with LAHHATL this season (it is currently on part 1 of its 3 part finale), you are well aware that Nikko revealed to Mimi that he is married- and has been married for well over seven years. The woman’s name is ‘Margo Simms,’ and she is from Canada but currently lives in New York where she works as a bartender. When asked why he didn’t tell Mimi about his marriage, Nikko simply replied he didn’t feel she ‘need to know,’ that.
Recently Sister-2-Sister magazine reached out to Mimi for a sit down to have her discuss her reaction to Nikko’s marriage, including if she thinks him and his wife plotted against her for fame and whether or not she is going to stick to continue seeing him. Personally, after dating Stevie J for so many years and going through what she did with him, there is nothing she probably can’t tolerate. Check out what she had to say on the next page.
On if she thinks that Nikko pursued her with intentions to later exploit their relationship:
“I don’t think he went into it to do that. I don’t think that was his intention from the start. I’ve known Nikko for years. We dated back in the past. So, when I met back up with him in 2012, we started dating again. I just think things happen. I don’t think when I saw him again in L.A., he thought, ‘This is what I’m going to do.’ I don’t believe that at all.”
On if she’ll be open to her friends’ criticisms when she’s ready for her next romance:
“At the end of the day, people are going to do what they want to do regardless. I know very few people that upon meeting someone, will listen to a friend . . . People have to go and bump their head. People have to figure it out on their own. It depends on each individual person. If you’re like me, I’m stubborn. I’mma do what I want to do. I don’t care who feels what about it. I have to go through my own experience, figure it out and then keep it moving.”
learning how to trust her instincts more:
“Listen to yourself more so than your friends or your parents. Listen to yourself. Yourself will never, ever steer you wrong. There were times when myself told me, ‘Something’s not right about the situation’ and I ignored it.”
Also, meet Nikko’s wife and all her pics here. She is a funky dressing fan of fashion and all things music (she’s also in a small band). And is a bartender.
Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta – Allegations Crack Cocaine Triggered Violent Brawl
A vicious “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” brawl has triggered a lawsuit … which now alleges one of the stars was smoking crack cocaine at the reunion show.
Althea Eaton has filed suit against Joseline Hernandez, who is caught on tape punching Althea in the face and dragging her to the ground … then hitting and scratching her for good measure.
In the suit, Althea claims eyewitnesses allegedly observed Joseline smoking crack cocaine out of a pipe backstage during the show. Althea believes Joseline was high as a kite when she attacked.
It’s interesting … Althea is NOT suing the show or the network, which means one of 2 things:
1. Producers didn’t orchestrate the fight
2. They did but she needs the job
On the surface, “Bottoms Up” is a documentary film that examines the newest booming trend in aesthetic surgery — big butts. Placed under a microscope, the film explores the media’s impact and other societal pressures that have propelled big butts from a cult fetish to a mainstream phenomenon. With an influx of new “it” girls from Kim Kardashian to Nicki Minaj, the images are inescapable. Women have taken drastic — and often dangerous — measures to achieve the impossible and often unreal.
Is bigger always better? When it comes to breasts and lips, the answer has been yes — with thousands of women going under the knife each year in search of augmented features. In recent years, the focus has shifted from breasts downwards, towards other ass-ets. In fact, in 2013, the number of butt augmentations increased by 58%. The film doesn’t just point the finger at women and the media, as men have played an equally important role. From Sir Mix-a-Lot, whose 1992 hit “Baby Got Back,” sensationalized round posteriors “I like big butts and I cannot lie” to new artists like 2Chainz “She got a big booty so I call her big booty”, it is men who actively pursue women with this new fetishized feature.
So who is to blame — the media? Men? Women? “Bottoms Up” offers different perspectives on this new issue. Jam-packed with commentary from plastic surgeons, women who desperately long for larger ones, and men who want a little more than a handful, the film takes a look at booties from every angle.
Facebook has become the Google of social networks. If you’re not updating your status right now, chances are that you are uploading photos or taking some sort of odd quiz. We post tons of intimate details about our lives that we normally wouldn’t share with anyone. We think that as long as we make sure our privacy settings are set correctly that we are safe and snug within our circle of friends.
The problem is that we never know who’s really looking at our information. Our friend’s account could have been hacked when they installed some rogue application, or their creepy uncle might be using their account because they forgot to log out. For the sake of the safety of you and your family, there is some information that you should never post on Facebook. Here are 5 things you should consider removing or not posting to Facebook and/or other social networks.
1. You or Your Family’s Full Birth Dates
We all love getting “happy birthdays” from our friends on our Facebook wall. It makes us feel all warm inside knowing that people remembered and cared enough to write us a short note on our special day. The problem is when you list your birthday you are providing identity thieves with one of the 3 or 4 pieces of personal information that is needed to steal your identity. It’s best to not list the date at all, but if you must, at least leave out the year. Your real friends should know this info anyway.
2. Your Relationship Status
Whether you are in a relationship or not, it may be best not to make it public knowledge. Stalkers would love to know that you just became newly single. If you change your status to “single” it gives them the green light they were looking for to resume stalking now that you’re back on the market. It also lets them know that you might be home alone since your significant other is no longer around. Your best bet is to just leave this blank on your profile.
3. Your Current Location
There are a lot of people who love the location tagging feature on Facebook that allows them to let people know where they are 24/7. The problem is that you have just told everyone that you’re on vacation (and not at your house). If you add how long your trip is then thieves know exactly how much time they have to rob you. My advice is not to provide your location at all. You can always upload your vacation pictures when you get home or text your friends to let them know how jealous they should be that you’re sipping an umbrella drink while they toil away at work.
4. The Fact That You Are Home Alone
It is extremely important that parents make sure their children never put the fact that they are home alone in their status. Again, you wouldn’t walk into a room of strangers and tell them you are going to be all alone at your house so don’t do it on Facebook either.
We may think that only our friends have access to our status, but we really have no idea who is reading it. Your friend may have had their account hacked or someone could be reading over their shoulder at the library. The best rule of thumb is not to put anything in your profile or status that you wouldn’t want a stranger to know. You may have the most stringent privacy settings possible, but if your friend’s account gets compromised than those settings go out the window.
5. Pictures of Your Kids Tagged With Their Names
We love our kids. We would do anything to keep them safe, but most people post hundreds of tagged pictures and videos of their kids to Facebook without even giving it a second thought. We even go so far as to replace our profile pictures with that of our children.
Probably 9 out of 10 parents posted their child’s full name, and exact date and time of birth while they were still in the hospital after delivery. We post pictures of our kids and tag them and their friends, siblings, and other relatives. This kind of information could be used by predators to lure your child. They could use your child’s name and the names of their relatives and friends to build trust and convince them that they are not really a stranger because they know detailed information that allows them to build a rapport with your child.
If you must post pictures of your children then you should at least remove personally identifying information such as their full names and birth dates. Untag them in pictures. Your real friends know their names anyway.
I would be a hypocrite if I said that I have completely removed all tagged pictures of my kids on facebook. It is a daunting task given the amount of pictures that we take as proud parents, but I have started on it and I’ll do a little bit each day until it’s finished.
Lastly, think twice before you tag pictures of the children of friends and relatives. They might not want you tagging their kids for the reasons mentioned above. You can send them a link to the pictures and they can tag themselves in place of their children if they want to.
Just one of the most adorable moments thanks to Blue Ivy who also stole the show last night …this little cute mama knows exactly how her and Mommy Bey wake up—Flawlessly! Peep the hand gestures and facial expressions! Absolutely adorbs! She is a perfect mix of Jay & Bey! #BabyBlue …she rocks in this clip and auntie Kelly practicing for her son coming soon!