R&B and pop artist Chloe Bailey was recently criticized for announcing a collaboration with fellow R&B singer-songwriter Chris Brown. The pair’s duet, “How Does It Feel” dropped on streaming platforms today, alongside an accompanying music video featuring both singers. The track is the first single from Bailey’s debut solo album, In Pieces. Bailey previously released music alongside her sister Halle Bailey, and the pair have received several Grammy nominations for their work.
The backlash towards the collaboration was born out of years of domestic violence convictions and allegations against Brown from several of his previous romantic partners. Brown was notoriously proven guilty of beating Rihanna during their relationship, and just last year his ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran was awarded a permanent restraining order against him after he threatened to kill her in a voicemail.
Shortly after the debate about the ethics of the Chris Brown feature took over the internet, Chris Brown chimed in and addressed the situation himself. He focused on the Rihanna incident, which he claims to have apologized for privately. Brown went on to list several white celebrities who have allegations or charges of domestic abuse. The post to his Instagram story started a further discussion about domestic abuse in music and entertainment at large, specifically due to his inclusion of Emma Roberts on the list. Roberts was never charged for allegedly hitting ex-boyfriend Evan Peters, who opted not to press charges. The incident was revisited across social media, as many of the details remain unclear.
The revisiting of the Roberts controversy briefly distracted from the Chris Brown controversy, until the widely contested single dropped today. Some were surprised that controversies aside, they enjoyed the single musically.
Say what you want but Chloe and Chris Brown have a hit pic.twitter.com/7RgfDQJ5Cc
— Titans 7-9 ⁶𓅓 (@_ovohb) February 24, 2023
Chloe and Chris Brown ate DOWN! This sounds and looks so f*cking good! 😍👏🏾🔥pic.twitter.com/r6gsOHUQAj
— this crazy (@Meka_luvs_music) February 24, 2023
Others remain none too pleased, as there were several other powerful male R&B artists that Bailey could have chosen for her first collaboration as a solo artist, but she chose one with a history of alleged abuse.
everyone after hearing Chloe and Chris Brown and seeing the positive responses to the song. pic.twitter.com/CoJgQpdBh4
— Boochie Mane. (@stawpfeenin) February 24, 2023
Others feel that while the video is visually appealing, the damage to Bailey’s reputation as an artist may have not been worth it. Brown’s slightly older demographic of fans are likely not the same demographic that Bailey caters to, and many critics feel that this was a misstep.
Chl*e, the video is beautiful, but the song is not good enough for the reputational damage. SMH
— Kimberly Nicole Foster (@KimberlyNFoster) February 24, 2023
Why are those two making fun of sel? They both can’t afford it. Selena defends hailey and takes a picture with her to stop the hate against her and this is supposed to be the thanks? #selenagomez is such a Queen – a Beauty inside & out and don’t deserve this After all. #haileybieber #kyliejenner #selena #kylie #haileyandselena #haileyandjustin #jelena #justinbieber #justinandselena
Chloe Bailey never responded to any of the backlash– a move that some felt was hypocritical after a career of making women-empowering music.
It’s time to check in your #chrisbrown nostalgia goggles at the door! That man has been terrible. #musicnews #chloebaileywashere #inpieces💔 #hennyondatok #hottakes
Many felt that Brown’s abuse was continuously minimized throughout his career.
will not be streaming! #fyp #chrisbrown #chloebailey
Brown’s pattern of abuse has particularly impacted Black women, and how cases of domestic violence in entertainment against Black women are handled in the media. Some TikTok users felt that this collaboration sets a dangerous precedence for Black women artists, and young Black listeners.
Id understand if he was sorry and worked on himself through ALL these events but hes not #chrisbrown #chloebailey
The conversation that this single has generated alone has already begun to shroud Chloe Bailey’s solo artist career. The backlash has led many to announce that they plan to boycott the single, or even the upcoming album.
Now Chloe miss girl.. I love you, but if you’re gonna put Chris brown on a song do it on a bop so ignoring him is worth the rest of the song. This one is really not her best and there is mister pedo on it, I don’t think I’ll be streaming. Still looking forward to the album tho pic.twitter.com/HJ4I76AsOm
— We are never ever getting Nino together (@tisthedamnnino) February 24, 2023
Some fans want listeners to see how it feels for themselves before casting judgements on the entire album. In Pieces drops on streaming platforms on March 31.