Chris Brown shows off his many talents

Not many songs can get Chris Brown into the holiday season quite like the late Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.”

So when he was asked to perform it (as well as Otis Redding’s R&B classic “Try a Little Tenderness”) in the new romantic comedy “This Christmas,” which opens today, Brown was absolutely “thrilled.”

“Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke are my idols and biggest musical influences,” Brown said in a recent interview, flashing a smile as bright as his diamond earrings.

“With the song ‘This Christmas’ I wanted to do something that was kind of different,” the 18-year-old singer says. “I mean, Donny Hathaway is an amazing artist. “So I wanted to bring my flavor to the song so when people over the age of 45 or 50 hear it they’ll be like ‘OK, he did his thing with that record.’ It’s like I can appeal to everybody and not just a younger demographic.”

The multiplatinum award-

winning singer is also scoring points for his acting in “This Christmas.” He made his film debut in the box-office hit “Stomp the Yard” and also had a recurring role on “The OC.”

“Chris Brown is the real thing and such an incredible talent,” says Loretta Devine, who plays Brown’s mother in the movie. “What’s funny is I had been listening to and enjoying his music for a while without knowing who he was. But my 3-year-old nephew sure knew about him. Chris just has that ‘it’ factor and has such a following with young and older audiences. He’s so good.”

“This Christmas” star Regina King and writer-director-producer Preston A. Whitmore II were equally taken by Brown’s work ethic.

“This movie had such a large cast of veteran and new actors, it would have been easy for everyone’s egos to get in the way,” King says. “But they didn’t. We checked them all in at the door to make this movie. It’s really a heartwarming depiction of an

African-American family.”

“There are a lot of people out there that are in the music profession that can’t necessarily make the transition to film,” Whitmore says. “Chris Brown was not late one day for filming. And even though he is an international phenom, he could have brought an entourage to the set but didn’t.”

At the rate Brown is going, he’s proving his flavor is everlasting. He recently released the album “Exclusive”; his concert tour with Bow Wow comes to Oakland’s Oracle Arena on Dec. 29. Brown credits his mother — who travels with him on press and tour stops — for keeping him so grounded.

“Having the right people around you all the time is important,” he says. “I do take the acting seriously. But this is all fun. I look at it like smoke and mirrors. I still think it’s a dream, but I ain’t pinching myself yet.”

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A lab worker from the Medical Examiner’s Office was arrested with an evidence bag of methamphetamine in August. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Audit over lab worker meth arrest finds medical examiner is missing drugs

An audit of the Medical Examiner’s Office prompted by the arrest of… Continue reading

City officials argue that the dominance of a few third-party delivery services gives them disproportionate leverage against restaurants. (Courtesy photo)
Cap on food delivery app fees may remain until indoor dining allowed at full capacity

Proposal seen as financial relief for restaurants struggling in pandemic

A voting station will be open in Portsmouth Square in Chinatown from Oct. 31 until Nov. 3 to let residents drop off ballots and provide assistance to SRO residents. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown voting station to help SRO residents make their voices heard

In a bid to boost voting access for single-room-occupancy tenants in Chinatown,… Continue reading

Public observation pier at the new Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline.
New regional park officially opens next to Bay Bridge toll plaza

The East Bay Regional Park District opened a new shoreline park Wednesday,… Continue reading

Most Read