Chris Brown Ruins Christmas (Again)

Dear Chris Brown,

Hey, it’s Rembert. We’ve never met, but you might recognize my name from the letters I’ve sent in years past:

2007’s “HOW DARE YOU”
2008’s “HOW COULD YOU”

Due to your lack of response, I want to assume that you never received these letters, but I’m starting to believe you’re just ignoring me. Anyway, Christopher, I’m writing you for a fifth straight December for two simple reasons:

1. To tell you that you are still ruining Christmas.

2. To urge you to make a public apology for blasphemously covering Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.”

Look, I know you were in a movie titled This Christmas. I’m completely fine with that, and to prove I don’t irrationally despise everything about you, I actually enjoyed your performance. But to then take it a few long jumps too far and cover perhaps the most iconic R&B Christmas song of all time, that’s just unacceptable and I refuse to let it slide. Why, you ask?

1. Some things are too perfect to be touched. Growing up, Donny’s Christmas standard was so beloved, radio stations would sometimes throw it on in the middle of the year. I’d hear “This Christmas” on the way to summer camp and would be thrilled. That’s how good the song is. So for you to have the gall to assume you were worthy of singing this song shows a great deal of arrogance and exhibits your lack of respect for the legends that came before you. Jerk.

2. Donny Hathaway is a singer. You, on the other hand, are a dancer with a temper that happens to have a voice box. A wise man once told me, “stay in your lane,” with regard to the way I approached my craft. With your cover of “This Christmas,” you are swerving blindfolded on an eight-lane highway against traffic.

Even with all of this, the worst part isn’t that you covered it. The real damage is that with every passing year, people are beginning to hear the words “This Christmas” and think “Chris Brown.” Do you understand the danger you are increasingly putting our culture in? The fact that I type “This Christmas” into YouTube and “This Christmas Chris Brown” registers first could not be a more depressing reality. Hathaway deserves 100 percent of the glory for that song, so for you to step in and encroach on his territory quite honestly makes me sick to the stomach. I know you aren’t the one forcing people to like your song, but all I’m asking from you is a simple statement saying:

    Hey, I did this song as a tribute to Donny Hathaway. While I appreciate you listening to my version, never forget to listen to the classic original. I’m sorry for any Christmases I ruined and I’m sorry for thinking that I was something more than a younger, more charismatic Ginuwine. Happy Holidays, to you and yours. — Breezy

That’s all I’m asking of you, Chris. The real damage has been done. Now I just want you to acknowledge your crimes, take responsibility for them, and maybe as a society we’ll get back to a place where some things remain sacred.

In conclusion, for a fifth straight year, happy holidays, Chris. I truthfully wish you the best, and if you don’t respond by New Year’s Day, the Twitter beef I warned you about in 2010 will become a reality.

You’ve been warned. Merry Christmas.

— Rembert Browne

Filed Under: Chris Brown, Hip Hop-Ology

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert