• DERRICK DUNN

The Brown Bomber gets up close and personal in Biography : Bobby Brown


R&B superstar Bobby Brown tells his story in Biography: Bobby Brown. From growing up in the housing projects of Roxbury, Massachusetts, through his rise to fame with New Edition and beyond, Bobby Brown shares his personal journey like never before in “Biography: Bobby Brown.”

In exclusive interviews, the R&B icon unveils his struggles with substance abuse, his marriage to Whitney Houston, the devastating loss of Houston and his two children, and his life as a devoted father and husband to Alicia Etheredge-Brown. Confronting his very personal yet very public struggles, Brown recounts what it was like to become a music phenomenon at such a young age in this tell-all documentary.


In an effort to come to terms with his tumultuous past, Bobby, for the very first time, visits the gravesite of Whitney Houston and his daughter Bobbi Kristina and holds a profoundly moving tribute in honor of Bobby Junior. The documentary includes interviews with Usher, Jermaine Dupri, Keith Sweat, Babyface, New Edition’s Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill, and his family friends who experienced this journey with him.


Anyone who knows me will say one thing about me: I am a New Edition super fan. Taking place over two nights, the four-part documentary (2 parts each night) hits all the familiar beats we know about, from his early days in New Edition to his solo success and, of course, his first marriage to Whitney Houston. Regarding Brown, I’ve seen him live numerous times, read his autobiography, listened to his audiobook, and even purchased products from his cooking line.


The first episode of the documentary opens with Mr. Brown on vacation, and he candidly speaks about where he is in life now and his past addictions. We then cut to Brown speaking on his early life in Roxbury. There wasn’t a lot mentioned in the documentary that I didn’t already know in hindsight. Nevertheless though hearing Brown tell his story about his early childhood, it makes sense that he would become an entertainer. Brown’s recollection of Candi Staton’s “Young Hearts Run Free” and the correlation to his personal life was a particular highlight. As we move into the later episodes, it was terrific to hear from other entertainers who validated how much of an icon Brown was during his prime run.


I highly recommend the documentary; however, I did have a few grievances. While I can understand that the documentary isn’t entirely about Bobby, the music superstar, I would’ve loved to hear Brown speak on the famously unreleased album Mystical Magic and the production of his 1992 album, Bobby. In addition, it would’ve been great to hear from someone in the Houston family to speak about their feelings towards Mr. Brown. Finally and most surprising is that we don’t get any dialogue from New Edition member Ralph Tresvant, but the rest of the NE clan also speak in the documentary.


Biography: Bobby Brown hits all of the familiar tropes one would expect. There’s never a moment where the Aquarian traits of Brown’s personality do not come out. However, hearing Brown speak eloquently about his success and failures adds an extra layer. While diehard fans will give this documentary a look, here’s hoping some of Brown’s naysayers also give it a view.


Final grade: B+


Biography: Bobby Brown” two-night event airs Monday, May 30 and Tuesday, May 31 at 8pm ET/PT

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