Aug. 6, 2014

Music fans in America and Canada will have to wait for the much-discussed reunion between Drake and Chris Brown. The singers were scheduled to perform together at the OVO Fest 2014 in Canada, which is Drake’s home country, for the first time since a widely publicized feud between the pair seemed to finally be settled. Media sites are reporting that the budding “bromance” and planned show, while expected to be wildly popular with rap, hip hop, and R&B music fans, would not carry the kind of weight needed to overcome Canada’s strict policies in regard to denying entry to non-citizens convicted of violent criminal felonies.

Chris Brown, as you may or may not know, was convicted in 2009 of assaulting his then-girlfriend and music sensation Rihanna. That conviction was followed by a number of alleged probation violations. He is currently awaiting trial on an assault case in Washington, DC in which he – along with his bodyguard – stands accused of attacking a man who tried to take a photo of him outside of the W Hotel last Halloween. The charge, originally filed as a felony, has been since been reduced to a misdemeanor.

Aside from what seems like his never-ending legal woes, Brown has suffered in many ways since his 2009 conviction. Though numerous fans still support him, he certainly lost a few. And the ensuing coverage of the incident triggered a sharp drop in business opportunities, according to interviews he has given over the last several years.

Certainly the average individual arrested and convicted of assault is not worried about potential record sales loss. They should, however, be concerned about damage to their reputation and current or future employment. Being barred entry into certain countries, including Canada and those within the UK, is just one of many potential complications that can arise from a criminal conviction. Such a mark on one’s record can prevent people from qualifying for certain background and security checks required of many jobs in the DC Region. Criminal convictions can derail loan applications or thwart clearance for rental agreements and can even result in expulsion from certain colleges and universities, or a denial of an application and scholarships.

Brown, who is only now 25, has spent five years in a very public struggle with alleged anger control issues, stints in rehab, and various probation violation issues. While some may argue that all publicity is good publicity, and that bad publicity is even better in the rap and R&B world, it seems likely that are a number of music executives and companies that have considered and rejected the idea of working with Brown based on his various troubles.

As a criminal defense firm that advocates on behalf of those accused and convicted of crimes, we would like to point out that Brown deserves the same consideration as any other defendant in this country and bans or restrictions on his ability to earn a living are not lot likely to help him overcome what appear to be issues related largely to having too much fame and money at a young age. We would also note many people convicted of serious crimes, particularly in their youth, do go on to redeem themselves by staying out of trouble. When people are successful in these efforts, they deserve the opportunity to have their records expunged, or cleared of all charges. Expungement is probably the single most effective way to eliminate negative fallout triggered by having a criminal record. If you have a past criminal offense on your record and would like to learn more about having your record sealed or expunged, contact a defense attorney.