R&B singer Chris Brown has had his fair share of problems over the last few years with women and women’s rights groups following the 2009 altercation and assault of his then-girlfriend Rihanna. And there have been calls for boycotts of his music by former fans and non-fans alike, but in the intervening years, he has rebuilt his standing in the R&B and pop communities. His last album, Fortune, even landed at the top of the US and UK R&B and Pop charts. But it appears as if recent events have sparked an interest in boycotting the singer’s music again — the album has landed itself “Don’t Buy” warning labels in some UK stores.
According to Gigwise, the labeling seems to be the work of “anti-domestic violence campaigners.” The labels, which read: “Warning — Do not buy this album! This man beats women,” appeared on CDs in only one HMV store, according to Huffington Post.
Gennaro Castaldo, the head of press & PR for HMV, told the popular blog site that the labels were quickly removed from the CDs. (A Twitpic of the stickered copies of Fortune can be seen here.)
“Someone went into one of our stores and put the stickers on,” Castaldo said in a statement to the Post. “We spotted and removed them quickly but before we could do so the person circulated a photo to media.”
Although the labeling might be an isolated incident, opposition to Brown and his continued success is not. Fortune received heavy criticism from several critics, including Chloe Papas at X-Press Magazine, who called it a “repugnant record that we can only hope will be his last” and an “overly auto-tuned” album that could have been done by any R&B artist.
Fortune was released in June. It debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 1, selling 134,000 copies its first week. But it has sold only 295,000 copies in all to date, suggesting that sells of Brown’s music — at least in album format — outside a core group of fans might be a problem.
The recent mini-scandal of a tattoo Brown had inked on right side of his neck might also have lent itself to Brown’s association with domestic violence. Although it was widely reported that the tattoo was of a “beaten woman” and that it bore a shocking resemblance to the “leaked” photo of Rihanna following the assault in 2009, Brown and his reps have denied the connection to Brown’s ex-girlfriend and explained it as a rendering of a “sugar skull” from the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead.”
A subsequent photo of original from which the tattoo was taken seems to point to there being some truth to Brown’s explanation. In fact, Brown has been making efforts to clear up his image, even appearing at charity events involving domestic violence victims.
His return to a successful career seemed to have been solidified with the new Fortune album and the recent double 2012 MTV Video Music Awards winner. But the quick rise of outrage at the so-called “beaten woman” tattoo and the warning labels applied to the Brown CDS at the UK HMV stores also suggests that there are those that, like Papas at X-Press Magazine, are not willing to forgive or forget what he admittedly did to Rihanna just a few years ago.
And it is apparent they certainly won’t be supporting Chris Brown’s career in any way. It is also apparent they would like others to join them.