Kelly Rowland defends Chris Brown's AMAs win after crowd boos: 'Chill out'
Rowland presented the nominees, which included Brent Faiyaz, Giveon, Lucky Daye, and The Weeknd, and accepted on an absent Brown's behalf when he was crowned winner. It elicited boos from the audience, as the controversial artist has a long history of legal troubles pertaining to sexual assault and rape allegations, the latter of which he has denied.
"Excuse me, chill out," the Destiny's Child alum told AMAs attendees amidst the boos. "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. I love you. Congratulations."
Brown's win comes after he claimed on Instagram that he had a Michael Jackson tribute performance planned at the AMAs, but organizers "cancelled me for reasons unknown." He shared a lengthy video of his dance rehearsals that featured "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "Thriller," among other hits from the polarizing King of Pop, who has been the subject of multiple child sex abuse allegations and investigations, as well as a lawsuits. Jackson denied all the allegations against him. A 2019 documentary, HBO's Leaving Neverland, tells the story of two men accusing Jackson of child sexual abuse, allegations the late singer's estate continues to deny.
Reps for the AMAs didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment about the tribute.