Friday, July 16, 2010

The Raw Charisma of Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke and Bobby Brown: A Case Study

What is it about boxer Mike Tyson, actor Mickey Rourke and singer Bobby Brown that keep audiences on the edge of their seat anytime these men give an interview or tie themselves to a project? If you say “charisma,” then we have to review how do these men’s charisma differ from the likes of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama? Or even a fellow entertainer like actor Denzel Washington. How do Tyson, Rourke and Brown compare to carefully crafted images of Clinton, Obama and Washington? If charisma requires a certain level of finesse, the former characters have found a way of assuaging difficult situations with a sense of flair. defines “finesse” in part as: “skill in handling a difficult or highly sensitive situation; adroit and artful management; a trick, artifice, or stratagem.” In short, Tyson, Rourke and Brown have used sheer personality, great will and shrewd ambition to meld their brand of charisma into a synergistic, seemingly edgy concept. No matter what level of professional success each achieved, they seemed to be unfazed by the glitz and glamour that attaches itself to marquee athletes and entertainers. For these men, they would be equally entertaining and mesmerizing even if the klieg lights were off. It is easy to suggest celebrity as the cause for audience interest. But, they are not buffoons or charlatans attempting to extend their 15 minutes of fame. No, they interact on the world stage as if success and money are incidental to a higher purpose, not always clearly understood by the populous. As they attempt to exorcise their personal demons, their honed professional craft is used to exercise the muscles of the internal battle.

In a recent Detail magazine interview, when asked about his bout with Evander Holyfield, Tyson said:

“Man, I didn't care about boxing anymore. I was wrong to do that—all wrong—all crazy to do that. But that wasn't about boxing. I just wanted to f--king maim him. I had no business being in that ring. A year out of prison, 16 months out of prison, already with two belts to defend? I had no business with those belts. I was already done. They put you, a writer, in prison, for three years, hands tied behind your back. Then they put you up against some hack, and you outwrite him, and they give you two awards. And then I put you up against a Nobel Prize winner? Absurd.”

Bobby Brown talks about his need for control and focus:

“I like being in control of making all the major decisions pertaining to my projects. That`s something that you don`t get to do in a group. Everything has to be voted on - every minor decision.

“I could really care less about what they think about me, but at the same time, I do have something to prove.”

Mickey Rourke talks about his career and choices:

“A couple of guys won Academy Awards for the things that I turned down. Today, after coming to terms with everything, after being in therapy for a long time-there are areas where I will compromise.”

“What I've got to do now is let them judge me for who I am as an actor and not for my notoriety.”

The raw charisma of Tyson, Rourke and Brown emanates from intense authenticity with incomparable ambition. Their focus is the pureness of their craft and inner voice rather than image management. In this regard, they are freer than Clinton, Obama and Washington to push their creativity and thus their charisma to the limit.


Bobby Brown Quotes. Lucy.Com, Retrieved from:

Mickey Rourke Quotes. Brainy Quote. Retrieved from :

Solotaroff,I. (2010 August). Everything you think you know about Mike Tyson is wrong. Details Magazine,Retrieved from:

Related: Charisma