Chris Brown cancels after protest

-Hits and Jams

The Hits and Jams Entertain-ment Group yesterday announced that the management for R&B singer Chris Brown, who was scheduled to perform at a Boxing Day concert, has cancelled his appearance due to the protests over his visit.

“Chris Brown’s Management team expressed concerns over recent media reports about protests over the artiste’s intended visit to Guyana and his performance here… they do not feel comfortable at this stage allowing the multi-award winning singer to come to Guyana as they have been following reports in the local and international press about the protests over his Guyana appearance,” the organisation said in a press statement.

The statement noted that over the weekend, the singer’s performance in Europe was smeared with widespread protests. “His team appears to be making efforts to avoid similar protests,” it said.

However, Hits and Jams Chief Executive Officer Kerwin Bollers told Stabroek News that all was not lost as Brown’s management has not ruled out a performance here at a later date. “They have stressed ‘not at this time’ and we take that to mean now. So, we have not ruled out maybe sometime next year and that is positive,” Bollers said.

Bollers also informed that since many would have anticipated the concert, dubbed “Unforgettable II” and billed for the National Stadium, plans were immediately shifted to get another ‘A’ list R&B act as an adequate replacement. “We are right now working to get a replacement act and you guys will hear something definitive in about four to five days… what we do know is that the public will not be as disappointed,” he added.

Protests here and around the world have questioned the appropriateness of the government’s support for the concert in light of the fact that Brown was convicted of battering his now former girlfriend, R&B star Rihanna, three years ago. Local activists had argued that his coming here would have been an inappropriate signal, considering the high levels of domestic violence here. Other groups opined that Brown’s coming should be used to make a positive impact and suggested that proceeds from the show should go towards domestic violence sensitisation efforts.

Women’s rights activists Stella Ramsaroop told Stabroek News that the cancellation was a sign that the works of organisations such as hers, the S4 Foundation, did not go down in vain. “The protests against Chris Brown by many women’s advocacy groups in Guyana, as well as the protests across Europe this past weekend, send a message to celebrities, political figures and others on an international stage that women—and the men who care about women—will no longer sit idle and pretend that violence against women does not happen or allow it to be swept under the rug,” Ramsaroop said.

“As this Sunday is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, let this be a reminder that abusers will be [held] accountable for their actions, if not by the law, then by the women of the world.

For entertainers, it means a loss of revenue. For political figures, it means being voted out of office,” Ramsaroop added.

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