She accepted an award on his behalf.
It just wouldn’t be an awards show without a weird, controversial celebrity moment, and the 2022 American Music Awards didn’t waste any time in delivering just that. After Kelly Rowland came to the stage on Nov. 20 to announce Chris Brown as the winner of the Favorite Male R&B Artist, viewers were already pretty upset given Brown’s well-documented history of domestic violence. But the situation only got more bizarre when Kelly Rowland shushed the crowd to defend Chris Brown’s AMAs win, sending Twitter into a tailspin.
Rowland took center stage at the 2022 AMAs to announce the Favorite Male R&B Artist winner, but she had more to say than just what was on the teleprompter. After revealing Brown won the trophy, she shushed the audience’s noisy mixed reaction to send Brown her love.
“I want to tell Chris thank you so much for making great R&B music,” Rowland said, after revealing the artist couldn’t be there to accept his award. “And I want to tell him thank you for being an incredible performer. I’ll take this award and bring it to you. I love you, congratulations.”
Once the video hit social media, it immediately caused a stir.
Brown has been a controversial figure in the music world for over a decade. In 2009, he pled guilty to felony assault after attacking his then-girlfriend Rihanna. In the years since, Brown has faced several more lawsuits filed by women who alleged he violently attacked or assaulted them. The pattern of behavior has understandably prompted many music fans to stop supporting Brown, but it seems that Rowland is not among them.
Immediately after Rowland delivered her supportive comments, Twitter blew up with upset, confused fans trying to understand what just happened.
This isn’t Brown’s first American Music Award. Before his Rihanna abuse trial, Brown took home the top prize, Artist of the Year, at the 2008 AMAs. Even after his pattern of violence towards women had come to public attention, the AMAs gave Brown the Favorite R&B Male Artist award in 2016. Still, Brown’s win in that same category in 2022 came as a surprise, but not as shocking as Rowland’s unprompted praise of the controversial star.