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On the 30th anniversary of Don’t Be Cruel, Bobby Brown says if social media had existed in 1988, it would have been way bigger than it was


TDave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Imageshis year, as Bobby Brown celebrates the 30th anniversary of his multi-platinum Don’t Be Cruel album — it came out June 30, 1988, he remembers how the album was a massive success, despite how difficult it was then for black artists to get booked on TV shows.

Don’t Be Cruel was the best-selling album in America in 1988, selling over seven million copies, winning several American Music Awards and featuring three number one gold singles: the title track, “My Prerogative” and the Grammy-winning “Every Little Step.”

However, as Brown looks back at the height of his solo success, he believes the album would have been even more popular if Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were available then.

“When Don’t Be Cruel was at the top of the charts, if we had social media, it would have been way bigger than it was,” he tells ABC Radio. “We didn’t have social media back then, and television was scarce. There were not many shows that we could go on that were black-orientated.”

Brown recalls that one of the few talk shows in 1988 that would book black acts was one hosted by a certain comedian from Cleveland.

Arsenio Hall happened to be there,” Brown remembers. “That was one of the shows that we could express everything, our talents, and we could verbally speak to the masses, and that was a great thing.”

Following the success of BET’s The New Edition Story, the network will present The Bobby Brown Storyon September 4 and 5.

Brown is also performing with Bell Biv DeVoe on the RBRM tour, which kicks off September 6 in Ontario, California and runs through September 23 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

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