Bobby Brown reflects on his ‘RBRM’ tour with BBD, his life and family
Bobby Brown has been entertaining audiences for the past 40 years, first, as part of the R&B group New Edition and then as a successful solo and Grammy Award-winning artist.
This fall he’s back on the road with BBD (Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe) as part of the RBRM tour. The tour of 25 U.S. cities kicked off on Sept. 6 in Ontario, California and makes a stop in Boston tonight (Thursday, Sept. 20) at the Boch Center Wang Theatre at 8 p.m.
Reuniting with Ronnie, Ricky and Mike has been a blast for Brown. Speaking by phone from his home in Los Angeles, he described the tour’s first shows the previous weekend. “They were incredible. It was great to be on stage with the guys. The show is so amazing,” said Brown as he was packing and preparing to head to the airport to meet up with BBD for their next set of tour dates.
Brown, who turns 50 in February next year, admires BBD’s extraordinary dancing abilities. “They move like teenagers and they got me back into moving like a teenager again,” laughed Brown. “This show is just all excitement. It’s so much fun to be on stage with them, laughing and dancing and singing with them.”
Being back on tour together also has offered them a chance to reminisce about the old days in Boston, performing at the Hi-Hat, at Roscoe’s [Lounge] and at the Strand Theatre. “It was like we had been on stage the whole time — throughout all my bumps and bruises. It feels even better now because of how we are as friends, as men,” remarked Brown.
In addition to the national tour, Brown is still coming off the success of the two-part biopic, “The Bobby Brown Story,” which aired earlier this month on BET. It comes on the heels of the 30th anniversary of his “Don’t Be Cruel” album, which was certified seven-times platinum in the U.S.
The Boston native is happy with how the biopic turned out. It’s a continuation of the telling of his life, his way, from last year’s successful airing of the network’s “The New Edition Story.” It shows his triumphs and tribulations over the past 30 years, including the highs and lows of his musical career, his romantic relationships, becoming a father, his marriage to Whitney Houston, and the death of their daughter Bobbi Kristina.
According to Brown, the biopic was shot in 40 days in Atlanta, Georgia and went smoothly. “It was a wonderful time. We had a great cast. Great director. Great writer along with that. We nailed it and we got out everything that we needed to get out at this time,” said Brown. He added, “I’m not finished. There might be a number two because God is still working with me.”
It was a cathartic experience for the singer, who was an executive producer on the project, to be able to share his life with his fans, and most importantly with his family, while he’s still “here, healthy and happy.” He said he wants his kids to be able to see where he came from and how he’s striving and working to be a better man. “Sometimes you will go through some ups and downs, but you gotta know how to bounce back. You gotta know how to pick yourself up when times are hard. That’s basically what we did it for.”
The father of seven and grandfather of two is busy as ever. He released his first single in six years, “Like Bobby,” which reunites him with producers Babyface and Teddy Riley. In addition, he and his wife and manager, Alicia Etheredge-Brown, have established a domestic violence non-profit organization called the Bobbi Kristina Serenity House, in memory of his daughter Bobbi Kristina. Their hope is to provide a safe haven for victims of domestic violence and abuse.
With age and time comes perspective. These days, Brown is focused on his family and on spending as much time with them as possible. He has three grown children from previous relationships and three young children (9, 3 and 2) with his wife of six years. He mentioned that when they’re all together at his home, you can often find them in the kitchen cooking, talking, laughing and making up recipes. Of his marriage, Brown said, “We just try to keep it one hundred with each other. We try to keep it real in this household. Just love. My wife is the perfect woman in this world for me, I know now. Having her love and her respect and her joyfulness is everything.”