Don’t Boo Chris Brown Around Kelly Rowland

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

During Sunday’s American Music Awards, in what was perhaps the most cringeworthy moment of the night, Kelly Rowland announced that Chris Brown had won the Favorite Male R&B Artist award. He beat Lucky Daye, Brent Faiyaz, GIVĒON, and the Weeknd.

It went something like this: Rowland said Brown’s name; the crowd booed. Rowland went on to add that Brown was not at the show and she would accept the award on his behalf. Instead of keeping things moving, Rowland took a moment to address the audience.

“Excuse me,” she said. “Chill out. But I wanna tell Chris, ‘Thank you so much for making great R&B music,’ and I wanna tell him, ‘Thank you for being an incredible performer. I’ll take this award, bring it to you. I love you. Congratulations.’”

Brown was supposed to be at the awards show — that is, until his Michael Jackson tribute performance was canceled days before the awards. On Instagram, Brown shared a video of himself rehearsing for the performance with the caption: “WOULDVE been the ama performance but they cancelled me for reasons unknown.”

Variety and Puck reported that the tribute was canceled over the optics of Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend, leading a tribute to Jackson, who faced a 2005 criminal trial for child molestation but was acquitted. All things you’d think producers would have considered prior to a few days before the show!

The response to Rowland’s show of support has been as polarizing as people’s feelings about Brown.

Don’t Boo Chris Brown Around Kelly Rowland