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Inside the mind of Chris Brown

In 2005 I was serving my country in the Air Force, stationed overseas in Europe. During the weekend, I was a DJ at the base night club. I always tried to play new music as part of my sets to gauge crowd response. I remember playing Chris Brown's debut single "Run It" and the crowd's euthanasic response. Twelve years later, Brown seems to be more known for his off-stage antics and less for his musical talent.

With the release of his documentary Welcome To My Life, directed by Andrew Sandler, fans get an inside look at the singer. Brown decided to address his controversy and tell his story to his fans around the world. In the works since 2014, the film is an entertaining & eye-opening 90-minute journey with one of music's most talented performers. Given that the screening was a Fathom Event, I fully expected a sold-out crowd. In the theater, my wife and I were surrounded by millennial young adults wearing Chris Brown t-shirts. During the countdown to the film, trivia questions were displayed, which the audience answered with ease. Once the movie started, Brown's fans erupted into thunderous applause.

The film starts with Brown's quote, "I am tired of giving people something to talk about, you know? As the documentary rolls on, you cannot help but get the feeling that you are watching an episode of "Behind The Music" on the big screen. When Chris's home movies are shown, it evident that he had star quality as a child from the way his former teachers and coaches speak about him. Usher, Jennifer Lopez, Chris's mother, and DJ Khaled are all interviewed, and all speak highly of Chris's talent.

The first half of the documentary showcases Chris's rise to R&B Phenom. In the second half, the film's real grit is when Chris addresses his infamous 2009 incident with then-girlfriend Rihanna. During this segment of the film, you could have heard a pin drop as Brown told the audience his version of what happened that night. Brown does not hold back with his telling of what transpired that night, nor does he make excuses or shift the blame.

Brown also details his mother's abuse from one of her boyfriends, which he witnessed growing up. His 2011 incident at "Good Morning America" and his issues with singer Frank Ocean, rapper Drake and the 2014 fight in D.C., which ultimately led to Chris serving jail time. Suppose you hope to hear Chris speak on his second high-profile relationship with socialite Karrueche Tran or his incident with the SWAT TEAM outside of his home last summer. In that case, you will be disappointed as they are not discussed in detail, if at all. Brown does briefly mention Karrueche, in any case.

During the documentary's final act, Chris speaks on being a father to his daughter Royalty and his initial reaction when he discovered he was a dad. When Brown speaks on his love for his daughter, we saw the same humbleness in Brown when he first appeared on the music scene in 2005. Brown's career had its ups and downs, of his best music came after his incident with Rihanna, as he poured himself into music.

I have always felt that had it not been for legal issues, Brown would easily be where Usher was during the Confession's era at this point in his career. As we walked out of the theater, I asked my wife what she thought, and her reply was good; and she has a newfound respect for Chris, and she forgot just how many songs he had that she liked. Even if you are not Team Breezy, this is one documentary worth a look at.

Final Grade B+

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