When Fans Become Toxic To Their Idols
Happiness. That’s the first feeling that washes over me when I first listen to a good song. It glides into my ears, passing through the auditory system and hits my brain with a wave of that sweetness. A lot of people mistake that feeling as comfort. They believe the music warms you up gently first, before inspiring emotions.
But no, the music already sparked your mood to the positive. With music, the happiness starts in small doses, and graduates into what you can hold on too and express as “This beat is mad,” or “This music sweet o!”
That’s why you are powerless against good music. Its emotional satisfaction is a rush that in many cases equals the same feeling that recreational drug users enjoy. That’s why we have music addicts. People whose entire lives are soundtracked by a spectrum of artists, and spend their every waking moments yearning and receiving coherent sounds and easing them along life’s rollercoaster journey. Music is spiritual. It’s as old as man. As primordial as nature herself. That’s why it unites strangers from all over the world. It’s a language and a bond, where connected people can speak freely from the sound culture.
That’s why you are addicted to your superstars also. They are your dealers, the providers of your drug, which feeds, soothes, satiates and nourishes your body and spirit. Mankind is naturally wired to move to where the love is. To elevate our benefactors, and make them idols. We worship them every day.
In the sanctity of our cars as we yell “Pass me the aux!” Many of us also pay our dues in cash. We stream records to keep the food in the house of our Lord and buy tickets to concerts because we don’t mind to give a token to the guy who we worship. Dear Wizkid, Darling Davido, Tender Tekno, Spicy Flavour, African Yemi, Sexy Tiwa, save us from our poor and mundane lives. Give us sound and happiness.
Fan is short for fanatic, a word that perfectly captures the extreme enthusiasm felt when discovering a new artist. As fans, our love is strong enough to become toxic. You can see the most basic forms of it when artists get mobbed during a meet-and-greet, when we deny them rest in their public and private spaces. Fans have snatched chains of artists or dragged a piece of their clothing because they “wanted to be connected” to their idol. Others have stalked their favourite stars and even broken into their homes. At concerts, the stage area is usually the most chaotic. That’s where the love is both strongest and darkest.
But all these are the little stuff. The highest indicator of toxic love is shown when fans lie to their superstars. If your love is potent enough for you to not acknowledge the truth, and also support and fuel lies and bad behaviour from your idol, then you are contributing to their demise.
Fame is a drug. If you have ever tasted any level of it, it explodes your ego and poisons your heart. When this happens, you lose your bearing, living life for the wrong reasons. The wrong way becomes your way. That’s why upcoming artists are humble. They haven’t tasted its sin. Give them the tiniest bit, and their colours shall be revealed. Whenever you hear “he switched up on us,” about an artist, just know, the fame came home.
When your idol puts up a poor performance, gets violent to their friends, misses an important flight to a concert, and outrightly tells lies, you have a duty to be honest. Healthy love demands care and trust. Honesty is a pivotal quality that enables these. Without it, there are no checks, no balances, and everything goes downhill.
You don’t help your idol when you cheer them for their misdeeds. You enable them down a path of destruction that would destroy them. Blind loyalty is unwise. Fans can go lengths for their idols. From asking them for the little things like “put your hands in the air” at concerts, down to requesting their presence at pop-ups and concerts. Go to Twitter, the most savage wars aren’t fought along the lines of jollof rice. It’s Wizkid vs Davido. Why devote so much energy to this stranger who makes music? Why lose yourself, your dignity, and most essential – your home training?
Fandom inspires imitation. If you adjust yourself to mirror a bad trait in your idol, you begin a process that can become permanent. Enjoying the music and admiring the artist can be done alongside calling out the bad. If you can yell the good, why is the bad not taken to your vocal cords for equal amplification? Being critical of your idol isn’t wrong. It means while you conform to their best parts, you can stay objective because you are a critical entity and can hold them to a higher standard.
In the end, the choice is yours. But every time you yell “I love this musician!” But fail to tell them the truth. You are working against yourself. You are hyping and killing. You are toxic.