News - Bobby Brown

For becoming a New Jack jailbird

Bad boys, as everyone knows, are crazy, sexy, cool. A bad man, on the other hand — specifically, a 33-year-old father of four who can't seem to stay out of trouble, or remember to carry his driver's license when going out for a spin — isn't quite so cool. When it's a former hip-hop heartthrob who hasn't had a hit in 10 years, whose name typically sees print only when he gets arrested or checks into rehab, and whom many fans blame for the career slide of his more-famous wife, then we're descending toward the realm of the pathetic.

Folks are willing to cut beloved celebrities slack for loutish behavior — within limits. Here's how it works: You can get away with trashing a hotel room if your name is Leonardo DiCaprio, but not so much if it's Corey Feldman. And people will rush to forgive an aging star like James Brown for the occasional high-speed chase because he's James Fuckin' Brown. If the Brown behind the wheel is Bobby, however, we're no longer quite so indulgent with Soul Brother No. 273.

In the last few years, Brown has been: charged with leading his bodyguards in the nightclub beating of a guy whose ear was nearly torn off (not a good PR move by a musician); arrested for sexual battery in Beverly Hills; accused of blackening wife Whitney Houston's eye; and jailed for violating parole. Next week, he returns to court yet again in DeKalb County to explain why he blew off a DUI hearing in 1996.

The lesson? Once your celebrity moment has passed, then it's probably time to clean up your act. If Brown wants to exercise his prerogative to speed around town with his posse in a new Cadillac Escalade like Ludacris, then he should start selling records like Ludacris.

The Weekly Scalawag is now accepting nominations. E-mail scott.henry@creativeloafing.com.??

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