Kelly Rowland shut down the crowd at the 2022 American Music Awards with praises for Chris Brown. When the audience started booing after Chris won Favorite Male R&B Artist, Kelly checked ’em with four words and a warning finger.

“Chris Brown is not here tonight, so I’m accepting this award on his behalf,” Kelly said after the winner reveal, before directing an “excuse, me chill out” at the rowdy audience.

Then, Rowland praised Brown’s contributions to R&B amid the crowd’s reaction and the AMAs reportedly canceling his Michael Jackson tribute at the last minute. Chris won against nominees Brent Faiyaz, GIVĒON, Lucky Daye, and The Weeknd.

“But I want 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,” Kelly said. “I love you. Congratulations and congratulations to all the nominees in this category.”

Brown Says AMAs Canceled Performance, Celebs React

Days before the 50th American Music Awards, Chris released a video of him performing his song Under The Influence and multiple Michael Jackson classics like Beat It. In the caption, he wrote, “U SERIOUS?” 

“WOULDVE been the ama performance, but they canceled me for reasons unknown,” Chris wrote in the comments.

After the news spread, fans flooded the AMAs’ comment sections on Instagram–demanding answers for the cancellation. Meanwhile, industry peer like Tank, Jermaine Dupri, and The Game shared their thoughts on the decision.

“Dear AMAs, good morning, we want to know why. We want to know. We need a reason. You hire our brother Chris Brown, you send him through rehearsals. He’s creating one of the most epic performances ever, and then you cancel,” Tank said. “You pull the rug out from under him and all the hardworking people around, we want to know why we do. You hired him. You told him to get ready, prepare. It is time. Then you canceled, we want to know why.”

Jermaine Dupri said:

“So if the American Music Awards canceled the Chris Brown, then that means they canceled the 40th Anniversary of Thriller, which means they canceled the Michael Jackson tribute. Black music we in trouble.”

Chris Brown’s mother reposted JD’s video with the caption, “THOUGHTS? THAT MEANS WHAT? WHO OR WHAT WERE THEY REALLY TRYING TO CANCEL?”

Following the show, Game shared a message about Black artists moving in unity against decisions like the one AMAs made.

“When they pulled [Chris Brown]’s performance from the AMAs…al hip hip & R&B artist should’ve declined to…but we’ll never be that unified & that’s why they keep & will always use us, suck the culture dry & disrespect us in our faces & behind our backs,” Game wrote.

Show Production Company Responds To Cancelation

According to reports by Puck and Variety, a rep from the show’s production company said the change was not Brown’s fault.

“Live shows change all the time, it’s the nature of this business. Unfortunately, this element of the AMAs didn’t come together as we couldn’t align on the performance, to no fault of Chris Brown,” a Dick Clark Productions rep said.

But, reports say the tribute was canceled given the optics of the performer and the honoree. Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna in 2009, and Jackson was acquitted in a trial for child molestation. Though the network ABC did not oppose his performance, the combined optics allegedly posed an issue. According to Variety, Chris’ last performance on network television was at the 2017 BET Awards.

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