“It was like an older man who was dying,” Brown told Rolling Stone about the last time he was on stage.
“You just want to cry.”
For Brown, that was the day he decided to quit performing arts.
He had grown tired of being stuck in a world where “you’re either playing a part, or you’re not.”
Brown had found himself in a situation where he was either “playing a part” or he wasn’t.
The first time he quit, he told Rolling Stones’ David Byrne, “I was so embarrassed I felt like I was going to throw up.
It was like the worst feeling in the world.”
Brown, who performed as a soloist in the 1990s, is now one of the few musicians to have had the courage to take a stand against the corporate, corporate culture that has permeated the performing arts for too long.
It’s not just an art form, but also a profession, a way of life, a calling, a life.
Brown has been fighting for the right to do that for many years, and he’s not done it yet.
“It wasn’t until a year ago that I really thought about it,” Brown said.
“I said, ‘Well, what if I was to die right now?’
And I think a lot of people who are contemplating suicide today, they’re just like, ‘You know what?
It’s better to be dead than alive.’
And I said, that’s fine.
But what if it’s your only way out of this thing?”
He went on to say, “When you have a choice, you have to be in control of it.”
Brown believes that people like him should have a say in whether they want to continue to be a performer, but the industry’s lack of awareness of the problem and the lack of willingness to address it are driving people to take their own lives.
He is hopeful that the changes that will come from his book, which is set to hit bookstores in January, will change that.
“A lot of the things that people are talking about are really going to change the way we think about suicide, because the media is just completely ignoring this, because it’s such a taboo,” he said.
Brown is not alone.
“People are just taking their own life, which isn’t good for any society,” said Lina Kollman, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington.
“The only way that we’re going to make a difference is to make sure that people realize they are the ones who are going to take this decision.”
It’s important to remember that suicide is a very personal decision.
It is a process that takes a lot out of us, she added.
Brown believes he has found the right words.
“What I’m trying to say is that I believe it’s OK to be sad and lonely,” he told New York magazine.
“Because that’s who you are.”
It was a bittersweet moment for Brown, but he hopes that others will take note.
“We’ve been so far behind,” he concluded.
“Now we’re getting a chance to start acting like it.”
With reporting by Alana J. Walker