Grammy Award Winning Artist’s Unreleased Yearbook Photos and Demo

Not only is Chris a great singer and performer, he was also a really good basketball player. A lot of folks from Tappahannock said he could have easily played D-1 if he pursued basketball instead of a music career.

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My name is Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW and I am the author of Nelson Beats the Odds , Tameka’s New Dress and Nelson Beats the Odds: Compendium One. I wasn’t the first person from Tappahannock, Virginia to beat the odds, that honor belongs to Grammy Award winning artist Chris Brown. A few years ago, my fiance and I were going through some stuff and she found a demo CD Chris Brown passed out before he became famous.

I didn’t know he went by “C-Syzle”, even though we rode on the same school bus to school in the mornings. Chris and his family attended a church my father pastored for over 20 years. I saw Chris at least six days a week, so you can only imagine how surprised I was to see him on BET. I remember watching the “Run It” video at Old Dominion University like, “yoooo, that’s Chris Brown!” Chris had star power since Kindergarten. The older kids on the school bus would practically beg him to sing Candy Rain by Soul For Real every single day. We would also ask him to do Michael Jackson and Usher Raymond impressions. 

My fiance is a few years younger than me so there were photos of Chris in her old yearbooks. I was shocked to see how tall he grew- the Chris Brown I remember was a short, curly haired kid. His older cousin was in my grade, the two were inseparable.

Chris is a natural born entertainer. I remember him wooing the crowd with back flips and Harlem shakes during half time of varsity basketball games. Not only is Chris a great performer, he is also a really good basketball player. A lot of folks from Tappahannock said he could have easily played D-1 if he pursued basketball instead of a music career.

Not many people make it big from Tappahannock Chris, so it’s been amazing watching your career take off. I knew one day you would be famous, but had no idea you would be one of the most talented artists of this generation. Through the ups and downs, you will always have my support. You single-handedly put our town of the map and inspired me to push Nelson Beats the Odds to the top.

About the author: Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW is a therapist, author and business owner. He is the author of Nelson Beats the Odds, Tameka’s New Dress and Nelson Beats the Odds: Compendium One. With the help of Protenza Global Solutions, Sidney developed the Nelson Beats The Odds Comic Creator app . For inquiries, email him at ronnie@creative-medicine.com. Please visit his website at www.creative-medicine.com for more information.

Author: Ronnie Sidney II, MSW

Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW, is a father, therapist, author, app developer, professional speaker, philanthropist and entrepreneur. He received a Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014. Ronnie was raised in Tappahannock, Virginia, and attended Essex County Public Schools (ECPS). While attending ECPS, he spent several years in Special Education after being diagnosed with a learning disability. The stigmatization of special education created a lack of interest in school. With limited options regarding four-year colleges, he decided to enroll in J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Virginia. The following year, he transferred to Old Dominion University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services in 2006. Sidney has since published two books, "Nelson Beats the Odds" and "Tameka's New Dress". He also developed the Nelson Beats the Odds Comic Creator.

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