Nick Cannon Addresses Criticism Over Casting Chris Brown In Female Empowerment Film

When Nick Cannon announced his new film, “She Ball,” in December, not everyone was happy about the project’s theme and its involved cast.

Not only is Cannon starring in the upcoming film, but he wrote, directed and produced the flick, which has since wrapped filming. The aspect that fans took issue with was that Chris Brown was cast despite Cannon touting it as a female empowerment movie. The “Wild ’n Out” host and creator told International Business Times he finds it “silly” though that there was so much objection to Brown’s role.

“That’s so silly that people have that type of — like, I feel like if we were categorized and judged based off of dumb mistakes that we made for the rest of our lives, like nobody would be able to prosper,” he told IBT. “We’ve all done stuff that we regret and we were sorry for, paid our debts to society.”

Brown pleaded guilty in 2009 to felony assault on Rihanna by means likely to cause great bodily injury and agreed to a plea deal that kept him out of jail. He was 20 at the time of the case agreement and 19 when the altercation occurred. Because of this violent incident towards a woman, many were angered by the news of his involvement in “She Ball.”

“He was a kid that made a dumb decision,” Cannon said of Brown. “And now we want him to wear a scarlet letter and call him a monster for the rest of his life. It’s sad. I mean, I think people can grow, that’s what being human is about, evolving, but people never give others the opportunity. And the people that they want to turn into monsters, I feel bad for them. I mean, but they pick and choose their battles.”

cannon brown movie casting Nick Cannon, pictured on Nov. 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, speaks out about filming a new movie with Chris Brown, pictured on June 6, 2017 in Los Angeles. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images; Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Riveting Entertainment

He continued: “We’ve had so many different people in entertainment and not to name names, but we all know them that have dealt with domestic violence and, you know, they let Charlie Sheen do whatever the hell he wants to do. And like, he done had so many things go wrong, but then TV show after TV show. You know, and several A-list actors who they never bring up that type of stuff when they cast them in films.

This left Cannon to wonder, “Why do we want to classify and categorize Chris Brown so much, especially when, you know, he was a teenager when he did this?”

The upcoming sports flick focuses Avery Watts (Cannon) as he enlists a women’s streetball league to help him save a community center. It’ll feature real female athletes, like Jaliyah Manuel and former Harlem Globetrotter Tammy Brawner, as well as stars like Brown, Cedric the Entertainer and Evan Ross. Like how “She Ball,” overall, aims to empower women, Cannon wants everyone to build each other up, even Brown.

“More than villainize him, we should embrace him and help him,” Cannon said. “You know what I mean, clearly he’s someone who was lost and didn’t have any understandings and it’s interesting that the character he plays in this film, my character actually speaks to those transgressions and talks to him about that and not giving up on people.”

This film is a passion project for the TV personality, and he created it simply because he had a “vision” of what it could be. Wanting it to move forward, he did a lot of the pre-production process on his own and then rounded up the cast by reaching out to friends.

“Really, everybody just came through on a favor and it was really fun,” he said. “So, we’ll get the opportunity to see how that turns out. It’s a fun movie, so we’ll have some fun with it.”

All about female basketball, Cannon wants the movie “to give them a cool way to shine and show a lot of the elements that have yet to be seen.” Aside from the sports aspect, Cannon hopes his character’s chat with Brown’s will help people look at their own actions, as well as society’s.

“Like, why do we give up on people so easily?” Cannon asked, when giving examples of the types of questions his character will bring up. “Why do we villainize people so easily? As humans, why do we judge so quickly, like we’re perfect? I think anyone who has something to say about that should actually look within and ask themselves why are we so quick to be judgmental.”

“She Ball” does not yet have a release date.

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