Kelly Rowland isn’t a particularly divisive or contentious figure in pop music. However, when the Destiny Child member was forced to accept the Favorite Male R&B Artist trophy on behalf of the absent and undeniably divisive and controversial Chris Brown at Sunday American Music Awards ceremony, she ended up confronting the protesting audience.
Brown was expected to not only attend the AMAs on Sunday, but also to pay tribute to another divisive and controversial artist, the late Michael Jackson, in honour of the 40th anniversary of Jackson landmark Thriller album. Brown posted a seven-minute Instagram video the day before the awards, captioned only “U SERIOUS?” of himself rehearsing an elaborately choreographed medley of Jackson’s “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “Billie Jean,” and “Thriller,” claiming in the post’s comments that his Jackson tribute had been cancelled at the last minute.
“Would’ve Been the AMA Performance, But They Canceled me for unknown reasons,” he wrote. The AMAs’ representative did not immediately respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.
Brown did not attend the AMAs on Sunday, presumably in protest, leaving presenter Rowland to accept his award. She appeared taken aback and even annoyed by the strong reaction when she announced that Brown had won Favorite Male R&B Artist over Brent Faiyaz, Givon, Lucky Daye, and the Weeknd.
“Excuse me — relax a bit out,” Rowland said sternly, pointing his finger at the boisterous crowd. “But I wanted to tell Chris, thank you so much for making great R&B music,” she continued. and I’d like to thank him for being such an outstanding performer. I’ll accept this award and bring it to you. I adore you. Congratulations. and best wishes to all of the nominees in this category.