Nick Chiles

Author & Journalist

NY Times Review of ‘Every Little Step’

Posted on Jun 25, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 5.48.05 PMMan in Motion: The singer Bobby Brown has a memoir on this week’s ­hardcover nonfiction list — “Every Little Step,” co-written with Nick Chiles, debuts at No. 9. Brown rose to fame with New Edition in the 1980s before drug problems and a turbulent marriage to Whitney Houston made him a mainstay of police blotters, cementing his tabloid reputation as “the bad boy of R&B.” Those days are behind him now, according to the memoir, but Brown is still willing to share the wild details. Among frank ­passages about liaisons with Madonna, Janet Jackson and an entertainer at his bachelor party (“Let me say the night with the midget blew my mind”), Brown casually announces he’s also had a close encounter of the paranormal kind: “One memorable night, one of the ghosts ­descended from the ceiling and had sex with me. . . . And let me add this: This was before I ever touched any drug besides weed and alcohol.” The book isn’t all sex and drugs, though. There’s plenty of rock ’n’ roll, too. “My God, funk was everything to me,” Brown says of his listening habits when he was growing up in Boston. “When I put on the funk, I’d start the dancing.” He adds that, in the rough projects where he lived, his sense of rhythm offered him a kind of protection. “Although violence was always around us, one of the main ways I battled back then was not with my fists — it was with my dance moves. I wasn’t necessarily confident about my singing yet, but I knew I could whup anybody’s ass in a dance battle. . . . Break dancing, pop locking — man, I was unbelievable.”