Last week was a great one if you're a fan of pop music--both Carly Rae Jepsen and Frank Ocean released new albums that were met with just about unanimous praise. Ocean's Blond is a stellar album to listen to all the way through if you feel like being introspective, and Jepsen's Emotion is simply addicting--if you're one of the hipsters who wrote her off back when she released "Call Me Maybe" in 2012, be prepared to be floored. Beyond these two, however, was one more album drop that refuses to be ignored. In case you live under a rock and haven't heard, pop royalty Britney Spears has come back strong with Glory.
I've been a ride-or-die Britney fan for as long as I can remember. Even at the tender age of 5, my best friend and I had our own dance routine to "Lucky" from the classic Oops!...I Did It Again album (I still feel nostalgic for 2000 every time I hear this song). I even dressed up as Britney for Halloween in second grade. For me, my fan loyalty has never been a question. For many, however, it has. 2007 was a notoriously rough year for the pop princess. In late 2006, Spears spent one night at a rehabilitation center where she infamously shaved her head, much to the paparazzi's delight. Her divorce from K-Fed was finalized in 2007, splitting up one of the biggest celebrity couples of the time. Due to possible negligent parenting, Spears was forced to surrender custody of her children to her ex-husband. Her 2007 performance of "Gimme More" (forever my favorite Britney song) at the VMAs was low-energy and uninspired. This seemed to be the tipping point for Spears. Since then, she has been slowly getting healthier and stronger, but the public doesn't seem to care. Check out any media outlet's article about her new album and you will find a disgusting amount of hateful comments. People regularly bring up her troubled past, which, as discussed, peaked nine year ago. She is often derided as "trashy", "crazy", "ugly", or any combination of the three. Now don't get me wrong--everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including those of musicians. However, the amount of hate Spears gets is unacceptable. It is one thing to dislike popular music, but it is quite another to have no sympathy for someone who has been through quite a lot. Let's remember that Spears first came into the public eye when she was on The Mickey Mouse Club as a child. In other words, she's had essentially no privacy for the large majority of her life. Sure, fame has its perks, and getting to do what you love for a living is the dream, but imagine being followed around constantly by strange men with cameras attempting to catch you at your worst moment. The fact that there were multiple pictures of her outside of the rehabilitation clinic she spent time in shows how invasive these people are to her. It may seem harmless to you to post something mean on her Instagram or tweet about how awful of a person you think she is, but remember that she is a real person. If you were to go through mental illness struggles, how would you want to be treated? I'm sure you would want respect, empathy, and kindness at the very least. Take my advice and do the same for celebrities who are going through difficult times as well. If you really have nothing positive to say, then don't say anything at all.
As for me, I'm listening to Glory on repeat and getting excited for Britney's first VMA performance in nine years. I know she's going to kill it!