*If you are looking for a heartfelt, scintillating, well-written celebrity memoir, you can find it in Bobby Brown‘s new Every Little Step. In fact, the book is so well-written that after reading just one chapter, I initially questioned whether Brown had actually written it.
Then, it occurred to me that I had never had a conversation with Brown, and that I may have been judging him based on very little direct data. Brown deserved a chance to speak for himself, I realized, so I decided to give the book a shot. And while I was unable to connect with Brown, I did chat with his co-writer, Nick Chiles, who confirmed that, perhaps, many of us have judged Brown too harshly.
“In the African American community, we need to be careful how we conceptualize our opinions of these so called ‘controversial’ black male figures,” Chiles told me by phone. “Often, our opinions are derived by the way white mainstream media covers them and these are people who may make the white mainstream media uncomfortable. Because they’re uncomfortable, the artists are covered in a way that makes us uncomfortable.”
“Bobby Brown was presented to the world as this overtly hyper sexual figure,” Chiles continued. “In the 1980s, the white media was not going to be comfortable with this person presented as a sex symbol to young girls, many of whom were young white girls. So the way he was covered was reflective of the media’s discomfort with his image. We need to search our own souls and memories and think about where we got our negative views from, and if they were from tabloid media reports, we need to think about what the point of those reports was.” Continue reading