Despite not attending the American Music Awards on Sunday (November 20), Chris Brown received a harsh reception at the event. Kelly Rowland collected the prize for the singer who had won Favorite Male R&B Artist. The audience audibly jeered when Rowland accepted the award on his behalf.
The audience booed when Rowland presented the nominations, which included Brent Faiyaz, Given, Lucky Daye, and The Weeknd, then revealed Brown as the winner, according to Deadline. Rowland was taken aback by the response and admonished the crowd to “calm down.”
“Since Chris Brown is not present tonight, I will accept this award on his behalf,” she remarked before adding, “Excuse me… “relax,” per Deadline.
Rowland also personally addressed Brown while winning the prize, stating, “But I wanted to tell Chris, thank you so much for making such beautiful R&B music, and thank you for being such an incredible performer. I’ll accept this prize; please deliver it to me. I love you. Congratulations. And congratulations to all nominees in this category.”
Brown was scheduled to sing a Michael Jackson tribute at the AMAs. Still, the performance was canceled once ABC officials learned of the preparations, according to today’s “What I’m Hearing” newsletter by Puck’s Matt Belloni. Brown, who dropped out of the program after his performance was canceled, posted practice footage of his planned Michael Jackson medley on Instagram on Saturday, November 19, with the caption “U SERIOUS?” and the comment “WOULD HAVE been the ama performance but they canceled me for unexplained reasons.”
Belloni explained the context in his newsletter, stating that AMA executive producers Jesse Collins and Stephen Hill had been working with Brown on the tribute performance, which reportedly included “Beat It” despite Brown’s past physical abuse of then-girlfriend Rihanna, for which he was charged with felony assault.
Belloni said in his newsletter that when he enquired about “the potential of a convicted domestic abuser feting an alleged child molester on a Disney network,” ABC and Disney execs were “furious” over the plan but were open to revising Brown’s performance in a more “thoughtful” manner.