Chris Brown Publicly Apologizes to Rihanna & His Fans



Chris Brown offered up what appears to be a sincere and heartfelt apology to Rihanna and his fans

Chris Brown offered up what appears to be a sincere and heartfelt apology to Rihanna and his fans

In a video that appeared online late Monday afternoon (July 20), Chris Brown has apologized publicly for the first time about the domestic altercation that took place between him and Rihanna earlier this year.

In the clip, obtained by MTV News, Brown, dressed in a red long-sleeve shirt with buttons on the front, spoke directly to the camera and apologized to his former girlfriend and his fans.

“I’ve told Rihanna countless times and I’m telling you today, I’m truly, truly sorry that I wasn’t able to handle the situation both differently and better,” Brown said.

At the beginning of the two-minute clip, Brown explains that his attorneys advised him to not speak about the situation until the legal ramifications were settled. But Brown said that ever since the February incident, he’s wanted to speak about the matter. The singer expressed his “deepest regret” over the fight and said he “accepts full responsibility” for the incident.

According to the police report, on the eve of the 2009 Grammy Awards, Brown and Rihanna engaged in an altercation that left the “Umbrella” star with facial contusions. Just last month, Brown pleaded guilty to one count of felony assault. The singer will attend anger-management courses, seek therapy and perform community labor as a result of his plea deal.

Toward the end of the apology, Brown continues to express remorse. The singer said up until the incident, he was living his life in a way that would make those around him proud. Through soul searching, he said, and help from his minister and mother, Brown intends to work on himself and gain forgiveness for his actions.

“I only can pray that you forgive me, please,” he said to his fans.

Below is the video:


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Mark Anthony Neal: The Demise of VIBE



The Demise of VIBE
By Mark Anthony Neal– Contributing Critic
Jul 19, 2009, 21:48

Professor Mark Anthony neal

Professor Mark Anthony neal

There is no small irony to the fact that the announcement of the folding of Vibe Magazine occurred the day after the death of Michael Jackson. Though Jackson’s career was on the downside in the United States when Vibe Magazine published its first issue in September of 1993, the magazine was the product of a cultural landscape that Jackson had a large hand in crafting. Presenting a glossy and urbane view of urban culture, Vibe became a preeminent venue for journalists and scholars chronicling contemporary Black popular culture. The lists of writers who can claim a Vibe by-line represent the cutting edge of a critical intelligentsia, many of them Black writers who would have had few other legitimate options to hone their craft. As such the death of Vibe Magazine raises questions about the future of popular criticism at a moment when few print or on-line journals see the value of paying for such content.

Vibe Magazine was launched just as rap music and hip-hop culture were gaining mainstream credibility in terms of delivering a substantial buying audience to advertisers. The galvanizing of that audience was set in motion years earlier when MTV embraced rap music in the form of Yo MTV Raps—an embrace that was made possible, in large part, due to the efforts of Michael Jackson, CBS Records head Walter Yentikoff and Vibe founder Quincy Jones to force MTV to open up its playlists to Jackson and, by extension, other popular Black recording artists in the early 1980s.

As scholar Todd Boyd recently opined, “In the early ‘90s, hip-hop had made the successful transition from Sedgwick and Cedar through Compton on its way to global dominance. Along the way, as the music grew more and more pervasive, its influence had started to become evident in multiple cultural arenas.” Vibe Magazine was a blatant attempt by Jones and publisher Len Burnett to trade on hip-hop’s increasing commercial and cultural influence. In the process the magazine helped establish a generation of Black writers and critics as tastemakers for an American—and increasingly global—public desiring to consume the best of Blackness.

kevinpowellcolor-225Figures like Joan Morgan, Kevin Powell, Toure, Karen Good, Danyel Smith, Michael Gonzalez, and Scott Poulson Bryant—what I’ll call the Vibe Magazine generation—along with seasoned critics like Harry Allen, Greg Tate, Barry Michael Cooper and Nelson George (all veterans of the Village Voice in the 1980s) were among the writers that graced the pages of Vibe Magazine, contributing to what became a late 20th century renaissance of Black thought and thinkers. The best of those writers brought contemporary Black popular culture in conversation with the rich traditions that came before. At its best, the Vibe Magazine generation helped establish the criteria for high-end popular cultural criticism and perhaps the first sustained critical view of Black youth culture that was informed by Black youth culture.

 But Vibe’s success would undermine its very role as a critical arbiter of urban culture and, ultimately, the legitimacy of accessible mainstream cultural criticism. Many will point to the magazine’s role in the bi-coastal tensions that arose between the Death Row and Bad Boy record label camps, personified in the war of words between the late Tupac Shakur and the late Christopher Wallace. As Boyd suggests, “Vibe’s place as a nexus in this bi-coastal war cemented the magazine’s status as a relevant chronicle of hip-hop’s rapidly expanding evolution from sub-cultural status to mass cultural behemoth. Vibe, like The Washington Post during Watergate, no longer simply reported on the story; the magazine had at this point become an integral part of the very story that it was supposed to be reporting on.”

Equipped with a new sense of gravitas, Vibe became a part of the promotional machine that fueled hip-hop’s invasion of the American mainstream. Vibe Magazine was not alone in this regard; the Source Magazine, particularly after Bakari Kitwana’s editorship, was in many ways far more egregious in this matter, though it never professed the kind of mainstream appeal that Vibe Magazine garnered at its circulation peak. Many of the so-called urban journals of the late 1990s and early 21st century became little more than enablers of hip-hop’s most distasteful excesses, instead of providing the kind of critical scrutiny that many expected the magazine to maintain. In the process the very criticism that the magazine was founded on became devalued in a marketplace more interested in access to celebrity lifestyles. Magazines like Vibe were all too aware of the price that was to be paid if they didn’t toe the line. Such was the case when Damon Dash, then of Roc-A-Fella records pulled advertising from the magazine after Elizabeth Mendez Berry’s expose on domestic abuse among hip-hop figures placed the mogul in an unfavorable light.

Though many will cite the current recession as the primary force in Vibe’s demise, the magazine’s closing is just confirmation of a trend that began earlier in the decade when print media became challenged by free Internet content. With a wealth of cultural criticism available, print journals have been hard pressed to justify paying for content such as book reviews, film criticism and music journalism. The use of in-house bloggers has been one of the responses by print journals, though writers are paid a fraction of what they were paid even three years ago.

JohnMcWhorter-225The Internet has been an important component in bringing so many more voices to light—voices that were largely ignored a generation ago—but the democratization of criticism has undermined the value of cultural and critical expertise. Thus figures like Stanley Crouch and John McWhorter can be pitched as credible critics of hip-hop culture, though neither man has expertise on the subject.

With diminishing resources available for thoughtful and accessible cultural criticism (the academy remains a viable option for inaccessible criticism), contemporary mainstream Black cultural criticism exists as little more than commentary on the Obama White House and complaints about Black Entertainment Television. Blackness, however more visible, has been reduced to fit a 24-hour news cycle.

Longtime critic and author Nelson George alluded as much in a recent interview on the Michael Eric Dyson Show when he lamented that with a lack of available venues for Black criticism to be nurtured, very often audiences and consumers are unable to discern what is essentially “product” and what is “art.” Increasingly many Black critics have taken to publishing their criticism on self-contained blogs and websites, without remuneration, simply to make sure that the story of Black culture gets told right. Still others, confronting a public less interested in reading, have begun to produce video blogs and podcast in an effort to maintain a critical public voice. The best critics have been able to adapt to the limitations placed on their writing and I have faith that this generation of Black critics will do the same.

Mark Anthony Neal is the author of several books including New Black Man and Songs in the Key of Black Life: A Rhythm and Blues Nation. He is a professor of African-American Studies at Duke University.

Sad News-Beastie Boy member Adam Yauch has Cancer


By Nolan Strong


We wish Adam Yauch a speedy recovery from his cancer

We wish Adam Yauch a speedy recovery from his cancer

The Beastie Boys have announced that their upcoming tour and album Hot Sauce Committee Part 1 have been postponed indefinitely, after a cancerous tumor was found in group member Adam “MCA” Yauch.

Representatives for the group told that a cancerous tumor was found in Yauch’s left parotid (salivary) gland.

 Luckily, the tumor was caught early and is localized to one area, but the treatable tumor will require surgery and several weeks of treatment.

 Also, reps said the tumor was in an area that would not impact Yauch’s vocal cords.

 “Our thoughts, love and prayers are with Adam Yauch, his family and the Beastie Boys,” representatives for the group’s label, EMI told in statement. “The most important thing is to allow Adam to focus on staying healthy. We wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.”

 The news comes as the group also prepares to launch a limited pressing of the track “Too Many Rappers” (featuring Nas), from the Hot Sauce Committee Part 1 album.

 The single was recorded live at Bonnaroo in 2009. Only 5,000 vinyl pressings of the single are being distributed.


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