“The Bobby Brown Story” strives to paint sympathetic portrait


“The Bobby Brown Story,” a two-part biopic that aired on BET this month, seems to strive to paint a sympathetic portrait of the singer. The mini-series follows the biopics of Brown’s late ex-wife, the iconic Whitney Houston. In the movies about Houston, Brown is arguably seen in a less than favorable light. While his own story would logically make Brown look better than the portrayals in other movies, it can be argued that “The Bobby Brown Story” goes to far. Even those without personal knowledge of the singer can identify false notes that the series hits, and in the end, viewers end up feeling sorry for Brown and Houston’s late daughter, Bobby Kristina.

`The Bobby Brown Story”: hope and promises

Coming as it did after multiple movies about Houston, “The Bobby Brown Story” was subject to negative speculation before it even aired. Likely fans and critics alike had doubts about the project’s veracity,

What even the casual fan wanted from the mini-series was a focus on Brown’s formative years and how his interest in music related to his meeting the rest of the young men who would form New Edition. More New Edition performances, original,  not reunion-era, would have been a nice touch. Not that fans or audiences of any kind should have expected any neglect of Houston’s role in Brown’s life; however, too often the series sounded like a rebuttal to something that might have been portrayed in a movie about Houston.

One of the more poignant aspects of the movie came from the potrayal of Bobbi Kristina, and the way she bonded with Brown through a classic soul track that they sang to each other.

Other scenes with Bobbi Kristina were also meaningful. There was one scene in which Brown and Houston were arguing loudly while a young Bobbi Kristina sits in bed, overhearing every word. Viewers get to know the young woman and see her as a victim. Her demise is the saddest part of the series.

Multiple sources report that last week that Brown’s sister, Leolah Brown Muhammad,  panned the project, too. Her claims were reported in People.com, Vibe, and Page Six, and essentially reveal that the series didn’t portray the truth. She also slammed the series for its overwhelmingly negative take on Houston. The claims shouldn’t really surprise anyone, as audiences likely suspected that the series would err in that manner.

Interested fans should probably watch the movies about Houston and “The Bobby Brown Story.” Somewhere in all the portrayals, the truth, or something close to it, exists.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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