It’s been four years since Chris Brown and Karrueche Tran broke up, but Brown seems to be having some trouble moving on. The 30-year-old R&B singer was caught leaving shady comments on an Instagram photo that Victor Cruz, Tran’s current boyfriend, posted of the two of them. In the photo, the couple stands facing the camera with their arms around each other. Tran is wearing a neon green snakeskin-patterned dress and Cruz is wearing an all-black outfit with purple sneakers. Brown’s borderline incoherent comments targeted Cruz’s sartorial choices.
“No shade boo,” Brown wrote, “BUT PLEAS STYLE HIM.” In another comment he wrote, “Nothing bad or major. UPGRADE HIM SIS. I’ll take him around to style him,” an offer he likely won’t be able to deliver on since Tran has had a restraining order against Brown for two years. He left six comments in total, insisting he meant “no shade.”
Earlier in the day, Brown posted a cryptic Instagram story, typing in all caps “Is it a sucka move to think about your ex?” The Shade Room Instagram account shed light on the bizarre Insta story, posting screenshots of Brown’s comments on Cruz’s photo. To make an already desperate move worse, Cruz posted the photo four days ago. Not only was Brown thinking about his ex, he was actively social media stalking her boyfriend.
People online are interpreting the posts as an embarrassing joke with Brown as the punchline, replying with cry-laughing emojis and sharing it on Twitter. But in the context of his and Tran’s relationship, his comments shouldn’t be taken so lightly. Their four-year on-again, off-again relationship was tumultuous and marred by abuse. Tran alleged that when they were together, Brown punched her in the stomach and pushed her down the stairs. In 2017, the actress and model was granted a permanent restraining order against Brown. The evidence against Brown included profanity-laden voicemails and text messages in which he threatened to “beat the shit” out of her. She said that he also threatened to kill her. These dark details cast his since-deleted Instagram comments in a different light.
Chris Brown’s history of violence has been well-documented, most famously in the context of his 2009 arrest after brutally assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna. According to the police report, he repeatedly punched her and threatened to kill her. Fans were shocked when horrifying photos of Rihanna’s bruised and battered face circulated. And this was just the beginning of what would prove to be a decade of misogyny and violence from Brown.
So why hasn’t he been cancelled yet? In the past 10 years, he has continued to top charts and rack up awards. Last month, the reliably problematic Justin Bieber shared an Instagram post comparing Chris Brown to Tupac and Michael Jackson (yes, Michael Jackson, but that’s a different story). The caption was a lengthy prophecy of Brown’s legacy, that ended with, “the people who have overlooked this mans talent because of a mistake he made..you need to reevaluate!” And just this week, Drake and Brown released a single together titled “No Guidance.” Twitter users were quick to point out how disrespectful it was for Drake to collaborate with Brown considering his former friendship with (and public declaration of love for) Rihanna.