While most of North America was cheering on the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts Sunday, it might have been a difficult day for Chris Brown. Just a year ago news broke that Brown and Rihanna had been involved in a car accident, followed by allegations of a domestic dispute just prior to the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. Now, a year later, it is hard to believe how much has happened for Chris Brown and the way we now perceive the once crowned ‘Prince of R&B/Pop’. After pleading guilty to a felony assault charge, appearing in numerous interviews, and apologizing repeatedly for his actions last February, sources say Brown has learned a lot over the last year. “He has matured a lot in the last year and people will see that when he re-emerges,” a source told PEOPLE late last week. “He wants to be a better person before he gets serious with someone again. This wasn’t something he took lightly.” Releasing an album that some say came too soon, Brown seemed assured that success would follow. In the end however, he quickly learned the fact that not everyone is forgiving. Whilst promoting “Graffiti,” Brown lashed out at retailers for allegedly “blackballing” his album by telling fans it was not in stock. Retailers dismissed the singer’s claims but, his resulting album sales proved to be much lower than any of his previous efforts (“Exclusive,” “Chris Brown”). Brown has also been heckled while traveling and promoting the album. Now schooled on just how much a private matter can affect his career, sources say Brown will likely recover a better person. “He’s learned that when you’re a celebrity, public perception is fragile,” said Sway Calloway of MTV, who interviewed Chris Brown in November (2009) shortly after Rihanna delivered her first on-air interview on ABC’s 20/20 with Diane Sawyer. “But I think he’ll recover. He’s a good dude who made a big mistake.” Moving into the new year, Brown continues to follow rules, avoiding contact with Rihanna. Most important however, the “Crawl” singer is moving forward. He will release a mixtape on Valentine’s Day (February 14) titled “In My Zone” and will return to movie theaters in the Screen Gems film “Takers” alongside T.I., Idris Elba and Michael Ealy.
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