2022 american music awards show 2
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Kelly Rowland Defends Chris Brown From Booing At the AMAs

After an absent Chris Brown was awarded Favorite Male R&B Artist, Kelly Rowland defended the singer, accepting the trophy on his behalf.

Kelly Rowland is taking a stance against Chris Browndetractors. While presenting the Favorite Male R&B Artist category at the 2022 American Music Awards, the former Destiny's Child member accepted the trophy on Brown's behalf after the noticeably-absent singer was booed by some audience members. Also in the category were The Weeknd, Lucky DayeBrentFaiyaz and GIVĒON.

“Excuse me — chill out,” Rowland retorted to those protesting in the crowd. She continued, “But I wanted to tell Chris, thank you so much for making great R&B music. And I want to tell him thank you for being an incredible performer. I'll take this award, bring it to you. I love you. Congratulations. And congratulations to all the nominees in this category.”

Brown was previously expected to attend the AMAs, also performing an eight-minute set honoring the 40th anniversary of Michael Jackson's 1982 landmark album Thriller. In footage of the singer's Thriller choreography, Brown, with an added cameo from Ciara, was supposed to dance to “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin' Somethin’,” “Billie Jean,” and “Thriller" before the performance was called off at the last minute.

On social media, Rowland was criticized for defending Brown, many noting Brown's history of colorism and domestic abuse. Earlier in the week, Rowland went to Hot 97 to discuss her next film Fantasy Football, but was derailed by questions about longtime collaborator and friend Beyoncé. When co-host Peter Rosenberg asked Rowland about "playing second" to the Renaissance artist, Rowland explained that both "shine together."

"Here's the thing, light attracts light. I am light," Rowland said. "So I am a beautiful brown shining light. So I don't think anybody's light dims anyone else's. I think that when other people start to compare you, I think that's when it shows how dim they are of themselves."