At the Sunday night American Music Awards in Los Angeles, presenter Kelly Rowland came to the defence of controversial artist Chris Brown after receiving the award on his behalf.
“Now, Chris Brown is not here tonight so I’m accepting the award on his behalf”, she announced. The booing echoed throughout the arena at the mention of Brown’s name, to which Rowland responded saying, “Excuse me. Chill out.”
Chris Brown was previously arrested following an assault on Rihanna, of which he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to community service, counselling and a restraining order, and has not performed on television since the BET Awards in 2017 due to past behaviour.
“But I want to tell Chris, thank you so much for making great music, and I want to tell him thank you for being an incredible performer. I’ll take this award and bring it to you, I love you! Congratulations, and congratulations to all the nominees in this category” she continued as the audience shouted and booed.
Twitter users took to the platform to express their dismay, with one saying “Kelly Rowland defending Chris Brown with her whole chest. Yikes.” Another stated, “What decent thing has Chris Brown done in recent years that warrants any type of pardon or praise… quickly.”
Brown had taken to Instagram earlier in the week, claiming that the AMAs had cancelled a planned tribute to Michael Jackson at the eleventh hour. The tribute was due to the 40th anniversary of Jackson’s biggest album, Thriller and was said to be including songs like ‘Beat It’, ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Thriller’.
“U SERIOUS?” he wrote in reaction to shared footage of him practising for the reported performance. He then proceeded to comment “WOULD’VE been the ama performance but they cancelled me for reasons unknown [sic].”