Being greatly admired for one’s talent, creativity, style, swag, charisma, beauty is quite popular and common. We at various points in our lives have being completely floored by a person creativity or talent. That’s how we have the bulk of celebrities and influencers we have anyways. We greatly admire their voice, sarcastic jokes, charisma, acting and this trait brings them to the limelight. This admiration can very well mature into a fanship or more acutely into a stanship. While fans are lovers or admirers of one’s talent and the likes, the latter develops into severe, dramatic admiration that borders on obsession.
The word Stan became popularized by American rapper Eminem . It was a song released in October 2000 from his third album, The Marshall Matters LP. The song is about an overly obsessed fan named Stan, who writes letters to Eminem and ends up driving off a bridge with his pregnant wife because Eminem didn’t write him back. With an imaginary special bond with the artist, he takes his lack of response hard and picks a strong grievance. Such is the obsessive nature of most stans.
While the Nigerian music industry is yet to experience any of such stanship so dramatic. There is a growing increase of fandoms and standoms with people acting unhinged on the internet. People are so obsessed with the life of singers, actors, producers and need to know the nitty gritty of all that happens with them which without saying, is pretty unhealthy.
How can we spot these stans? How do you know even you are not part of this increasing cult like behavior on the internet? It’s pretty easy. Let’s walk through their characteristics.
From causing unnecessary disputes between artists who are very talented in their own rights fueling unnecessary rivalry. Very potent an example is the constant debacle between Wizkid/Davido stans.
“Your fav did this… Your fave couldn’t do this… My fave is so mature, he wouldn’t do this unlike so so so and so, my fave is so loaded yet humble unlike XYZ …”
Even the things used to brag can be so silly. You wonder if those causing such a ruckus online do not have some form of occupation to be busy with. There are the first to notice any side eyes, haughty looks, funny body language and more. They can literally spin a tale from a celebrity sleeping. Artists who perhaps aren’t friends but have no bad blood are put in a tight spot where they are constantly compared to one another. They are left to respond however to these constant attacks on their art and person. When we eventually get the fight we’ve been waiting for. We slurp up the drama and diss from each party like it is the very elixir of life. We are quick to retweet and quote. It becomes trending gist on entertainment blogs. We even recreate the videos. We are like vampires feeding off the bad blood that spills forth. We get robbed of glorious collaborations which would have in turn led to better quality music, the music being the reason we loved them in the first place . Isn’t the sky wide enough for all birds to fly? How does one person’s win disturb another. Obsessive stans can’t process that. It’s either their faves or nobody.
Another quality is the inability to ever see wrong with their faves. They are the pioneers of celebrity worship. No matter the level of mind boggling nonsense their faves vomit, they regurgitate the same rubbish and spread it along. As long as it’s from their faves, it is perfect. They literally suspend the use of their brains just because of a certain celebrity. That’s as much influence they allow this so called stanship have other them. All those “No matter what, I just love her” people. No so so so person slander will be tolerated just because. Does being talented exempt one from critic, justice or basic courtesy? This is how we fuel the god complex, self absorption and narcissism of these people and when they over do, we wonder how we got here . Some medical experts consider celebrity worship an abnormal type of par-asocial relationship driven by absorption and addiction.
Harassment online and offline is also another feature of these overzealous fans. Artists are constantly being bullied by fans of the opposing camp. It gets as bad as curses, promises to cause bodily harm and even death threats all in the defense of their faves. It is not uncommon to see grown men fighting and breaking bottles over Wizkid, Davido, Messi, Ronaldo etc. offline. What kind of fan love leads you to engage in violent acts just to defend whatever celebrity it is?
Imagine engaging in all these horrific behaviors all in the name of being a fan? Imagine stalking, harassing, fighting or just generally being a nuisance on the cyberspace to declare love for an individual. Are what point do we draw the line between the Art and the Artist? Are what point do we let fame and popularity cloud the humanity of these artists from us that they seem so larger than life, we place them on an unearned pedestal. Your fave is a great performer. Does that also mean he can’t misyarn on several occasions, or your fave can sing and that means she is incapable of committing crimes? Being passionate, loving and supporting what artists do is one thing but obsessing over them to the point where we act like mindless zombies is another. Question is, are you just a passionate fan or an obsessive Stan?