Taking One For The Team: Are Today’s Fans Doing Way Too Much for Their Favorite Celebs?

25 comments
December 12, 2012 ‐ By Toya Sharee

Source: ThatGrapeJuice.net

Lady Gaga has her “Little Monsters”, Rihanna’s Reign has enlisted a “Navy” and Nicki Minaj leads her “Barbs” in a hot pink Twitter parade. When did it become boring to just be a fan?

When I was an infatuated, eighth-grade Immature fan, I literally remember making creative borders out of construction paper for the millions of Immature posters that decorated my wall.  I’d get dressed up to watch premieres of “Never Lie” and “I’m Not a Fool” on Video Soul after deciding that my adolescence would culminate with me meeting and falling in love with lead singer “Batman.”  His guest appearances on Sister, Sister became the one thing I could look forward to after a week of blending in the back of the classroom and questioning my adolescent awkwardness.  Much like performers of the past, today’s R&B and pop artists know their audience: teenagers struggling to build their self-esteem and sense of belonging by feeling like they are a part of a “team.”  But the truth is that the only ones winning are the artists themselves.

All you have to do is visit the comments section of any popular celebrity blog to witness the stanning that surrounds Beyonce or the virtual gang wars that go down between Team Breezy and Trey’s Angels.  You can’t tell fans today that their dedication and hard work won’t one day be rewarded with an almighty celebrity Twitter follow or retweet. Besides, being a teenager is hard.  Why focus on your real life worries of getting good grades or finding out if your crush feels the same way when you can obsess over whether Beyonce actually birthed Blue Ivy (even if it makes not a lick of difference in your own life).

But sometimes all that stanning can pay off in a major way (if you consider meeting and being associated with your celebrity idol a big deal).  Take Team Drizzy for instance.  What started off as a close knit group of dedicated fans who met online weekly to tiny chat about Toronto rapper Drake, eventually blossomed into a friendship based on their mutual adoration for October’s Very Own.  They collaborated on a book filled with pictures and letters expressing their love for the “Take Care” artist.  Eventually they were able to present “The Big Fan Book” to him in person after following him across the country on tour.  They got some team jackets, recruited some more fans and now have everything from charity events to contests which are supported and endorsed by the artist himself.  Not to mention the occasional shout out and affiliation with the whole OVO entourage (whether anyone in Team Drizzy is a paid employee, I am still unclear about).  You may call them roadies or groupies, but they consider themselves a team with Drizzy as their captain.

 

But I question this team mentality.  At the end of the day all of Drake’s earnings go into his bank account and his only.  All of Beyonce’s Grammys are sitting on a marble shelf in her house and not on my momma’s mantle.  So how exactly are we a team if I am not winning anything but a general shout out in the liner notes of your last album and some backstage passes.  Maybe it’s because I am actually a mascot:  Dressed in your gear, cheering you on from the sideline, while you get all the glory.  I actually applaud the fact that celebrities are now able to create what may feel like a closer relationship with their fans through Twitter and Instagram so that they can express their appreciation in their own words.  But it’s both a gift and a curse.  A lot of young people with no sense of identity or purpose truly believe that Rihanna is riding out for them as hard they ride out for her.   As much as I like Rihanna, when she refers to her Navy saying, “We did it!” after getting yet another #1 single, all “we” did was become a few dollars broker while she boards a plane, pours champagne and cuddles with Chris.  Ditch the dog and pony show and make music that won’t be forgotten in a few years.

A majority of artists today spend way too much time pimping their publicity and not enough time investing into their talent (if there’s any talent in the first place).  I don’t want a narrative or to be on anyone’s team, I just want decent music and quality lyrics.  I don’t want to pay for your album twice, only for the deluxe version to have two remixes, one guest feature and songs like “Stupid Hoe” and “S&M” that I can’t even play for my future grand-children at the family reunion.  Being a fan is a full-time job nowadays with fans doing too much unpaid promotion: I’m  trending you on Twitter, buying your albums and concert tickets, blogging about you and every single person you share a meal with and all I have to show for it is a re-tweet and a crappy single that will bang in the club for about as long as your next relationship.

I appreciate artists’ effort to seemingly show fans how much they are appreciated by giving them a good show.  But let’s be honest, lyrics like “Starships were meant to fly, hands up and touch the sky,” won’t exactly be leaving any legacies.  I get it: some music is just meant for a good time, but if I’m shelling out hundreds of dollars for a concert, I need something epic, something timeless, something that I won’t forget as soon as I am forced to stan for the next gimmick the music industry forces upon me.  Until then, I have a life to live and the only team that I will be playing for is one that’s financially compensating me.

Are today’s fans doing the most for their favorite celebs?

Toya Sharee is a community health  educator  and   parenting education coordinator who has a passion  for helping  young women  build  their self-esteem and make  well-informed choices  about their sexual  health. She  also  advocates for women’s  reproductive rights and blogs about  everything  from  beauty to love  and relationships. Follow her on Twitter   @TheTrueTSharee or visit  her blog Bullets  and  Blessings .

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  • Miss_Understood

    Some of these people “dissociate” from their normal, stressful, sad or boring lives by connecting themselves to these celebrities as a way to mentally escape…it’s sad but it’s better than joining a cult or the Aryan brotherhood

  • Britt

    I do think at times today’s fans or stans are doing a lot. There’s no need to make death threats at people just because they don’t like your favorite artist. I think today’s artists give their fans names like Navy, Team, or Barbz because they know that they require a lot of fan interaction in order to be successful and it creates a relationship with their supporters. Even though fans of Rihanna aren’t seeing any money when she has a number 1 single, she knows that she wouldn’t have all of her success or riches without her fans, so I guess that’s why she thanks them. When it comes time for album promotion, the people these artists have to connect with are their fans and they’re the ones that make these albums debut high on the Billboard charts. Fans are important to an artist’s success, so I guess the nicknames are a way of acknowledging that. We can’t complain about an artist not being successful if they don’t have good fan engagement. Just my opinion.

  • http://twitter.com/Jus_RaeDae Raven

    OMG. Yes they do. Say something semi critical about Beyonce in the wrong room and you might have to fight someone! Seriously. These stans are starting fights and all they get is a used towel at the end of a concert.

  • Yeppers

    I mean it’s one thing to defend someone u like if someone disparages their talent… I mean who wouldn’t go awf a lil if your coworker say Whitney Houston couldn’t sing.. I mean it’s an opinion if someone says they don’t like a talent on your fave, but who hasn’t gotten into polite disagreements about music??? Ill wait… Now it’s COMPLETELY another thing for fans to cut stab and threaten people over their faves personal business or some music u don’t like. I think it all goes downhill with the personal attacks on artists. From Chris and rih antics to beyonce and the whole nine… People link these people personal lives to the music they make which should be totally apart. So then you have young impressionable children defending these artist PERSONAL LIVES… Like it has anything to do with the music they make or anything to do with them. What do Rihana smoking weed have to do with her music. I do blame the artist as well… Rih and others pull their fans into personal business… AND THESE FAN NAMES HAVE TO STOP… IT IS GETTING COMPLETELY REDICULOUS. Be a fan… But stop naming people this that and whatever that creates the teams and the artists themselves either start it or keep it going…. IT’S NOT FULLY THE FANS FAULT.

  • Kaf

    I think its even worse when they get tattoos, i still cant get my head around the fact, there is a chick in the world with DRAKE on her forehead!!

  • cbjiggy@yahoo.com

    A mascot – wow – I don’t think the hammer could have hit the nail any harder!!!!!!!!!!!! And the sad part is, these same crazy fans are usually not doing anything to better their own lives, situations, communities, families, etc. They would rather put on a mascot’s uniform, spend all of their money on products endorsed (not used) by the celeb and go broke trying to prove their undying allegiance. Stupid is as stupid does – all the way to the bank.

  • pickneychile

    Yes fans are doing too much these days! I’m not really a fan of most mainstream music and I haven’t been for a while. I won’t pay to go to concerts anymore unless I really support the message the artist portrays through their music. The last mainstream concert I went to was a Kanye concert almost 5 years ago and for the show he put on they should have paid US for wasting our time on that foolishness. I don’t do Twitter either.

  • realadulttalk

    I think a lot of these celebs do way too much to try to get or keep fans.

  • jane

    Well I hate to say it but this generation is the weakest I’ve ever seen mentally. Gaga, Rihanna and especially Britney Spears, I swear they could aske everyone at their concerts to drop a cyinde capsule and they would.

    • realadulttalk

      I call it the “virtual friend” generation. Everyone online is their friend and no one thinks its odd that they don’t interact with people offline. Very sad.

  • IllyPhilly

    Sheeple, it’s nothing new.

  • ANTMilf

    I’m not crazy for any celeb, they’re human just like me. Only person I’m crazy about is my daughter, that is all.

  • sabrina

    Even though I like One Direction and Zayn Malik (as old as I am), there are girls out there that fully admit that “Zayn is the only reason why we’re alive” and “If it wasn’t for Zayn, I would be dead.” And I’m absolutely sure there are other stans out there that feel the same way towards other celebs..

    …Are you kidding me? This can’t be life.

  • Meyaka

    When you don’t have much ,haven’t been anywhere and don’t have any accomplishment of your own,it’s easy to get sucked in someone else’s life. I find “Stans” very uneducated and pathetic,I mean do you read or listen(YouTube) to them? It’s the saddest thing on earth,meanwhile the object of their affection is sitting somewhere living the life… I wish I would,I’m grown .

    • Suchalady

      Agreed.

  • Cleo

    Yes, a lot of these crazy fans act as the celebrity is paying them to act s fool. Stans need to stay in 2012

    • Cleo

      *a

  • Sasha

    It’s not that serious. Do as much (or as little) as you like. Live and let live.

    #beyhive

    • Sheena

      Your a lame. I just hope your a 16 year old lame and not a 36 year old lame……for your sake.

      • Sasha

        Calling me names and I’m a lame? Lol. Again, live and let live.

    • Suchalady

      Signed behive aka the worst group of individuals I’ve seen in a long time.

  • Trisha_B

    I can’t stand Stans! I mean why would you call yourself a “stan?” (the Eminem song about his crazy stalking fan). Stans make me not like that celeb anymore lol. I follow rihanna on instagram, & her stans need to get a life lol. They copy her tattoos, hair style, hair color, nail style. It’s like come on, do you not have a life outside of Rihanna? & then you got the Beyhives who act like you can’t say anything bad/negative about Bey like she’s jesus or something.

    • Cleo

      Preach!!! Those two have the worst fans ughh along with nicki minaj wack self

    • Trisha_B

      Who remembers that MTV show called Fanatic? lol if that show existed today i could only imagine how crazy it would be

  • Kaori

    Yea they are.

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