The Mic Check

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Archive for the tag “groupthink”

Stans and “Haters”: But what about us in between?

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My feelings and view on Beyoncé are more or less in the middle. While I am not the type to go on tangents of why I hate her (which I do not), I also am not the type to praise her from the mountaintops as if every fiber of my being depended on her existence. I employ Aristotle’s Golden Mean when it comes to a polarizing public figure such as Beyoncé. In other words, I am one of the many who like her music, but is far from both of the extremes. Living in this space is exhausting and can sometimes have you in a place that is harder than being a person who “hates” Beyoncé. But more than being difficult, it is rather annoying to have to constantly defend our beliefs towards her, only to get attacked by people on both sides for not picking a side. Is there a place for people like me in the world of Beyoncé?

As I sit in utter shock, disbelief, bewilderment of the winter finale of ‘Scandal’, I spot tweets of astonishment that Beyoncé was releasing an album within a matter of minutes. Wait a minute?  No promo?  Not a single in sight?  And she’s on a world tour?  WHAT!?  When did she find the time to do anything? Not to mention it is a full-length album with accompanying videos. I had to give Beyoncé her accolades. Clearly she is making major moves and like a true boss, she did so without havaing to tell people she is a boss. By the time her album had finally become available for download, I was already applying my armor for what was about to come.

The madness had already commenced. There was an air of, “yaaaaaaas b*tches, y’all better bow down to the KING with your miserable life,” to, “I guess I’m the only person who doesn’t care about Beyoncé, you know the album garbage anyway. I don’t see how y’all like that woman.”  Oh, and how can I forget the sad and tired Keri Hilson memes?

For people like myself, it is a hard road to travel. We have to tread softly in the world of Beyoncé. When we do like a song, we’re called bandwagon fans and are referred to as lessors because we weren’t down for Beyoncé from the beginning, nor are we worthy of her gloriousness. Or, we’re Judas’s and have disgraced the anti-Beyoncé club because we liked one song. It is as if we’re in between a cold war of people fighting for our allegiance when all we desire is to like, or not like, her music without repercussions. Am I wrong to say screw groupthink?

I refuse to be vilified for having a differing view. And when you have a differing view about Beyoncé, it comes at a high cost. Why should I have to think like you because you adore Beyoncé and I do not?  Why should I have to be a member of your Beyonce-boro Baptist Church coalition because you dislike her and I do not?  I shouldn’t have to do any of those things just for solace and the ability to maintain face.

With the advent of social media, participatory culture is at an all time high. Blogging and micro blogging websites such as Tumblr, WordPress, and Twitter, have made it possible for everyone to take advantage of their own personal soapbox. I will admit that when I go on my “rants,” it is great to have a place I can go to and release my inner thoughts. Not that I use social media to express my deep and most personal thoughts, because that’s what journals are for, but I appreciate HEALTHY discourse. Sadly, when it comes to Beyoncé, the sanctuary of people like me to have been tainted by the overly maniacal people on both sides of the Beyoncé fence. We’re forced to either remain silent, or become a debate gymnast. What do I mean?  Let me explain.

Whenever we encounter a conversation about Beyoncé, you might have to perform a floor exercise. We have to perform verbal summersaults to keep from having HEATED debates. We have to maneuver in a graceful manner and maintain our poise so that we do not go outside of the lines while attempting a punch front to explain our opinion. We must meticulously perform on uneven bars and hope that we end on our feet, or we’ll wind up on our backs with aches and pains. Finally, we must straddle the balance beam to maintain our stance between “King Beysus” glorification and Beyoncé condemnation.

People like me are neither fans nor haters; we just want to appreciate Beyoncé’s music without having to fight in the Kumite because we refuse to cry “matte”, and succumb to the pressures of zealots. There isn’t an award for who’s the biggest Beyoncé fan, nor will you be praised for being “different” for not liking her, like millions of other people.

To disregard what Beyoncé just did would be a mistake. There isn’t an artist who can accomplish releasing a full-length album, with accompanying videos, while on tour, and not have anything as much as a hint of what was to come. This was an accomplishment that should and could be acknowledged without venom being spewed by yay and naysayers concurrently. Doing so disfigures your point and makes you intolerable. It also places us “fence straddlers” in an awkward predicament and frankly, we’re tired of having to silence or cover ourselves with full armor to protect us because you cannot hold a logical conversation about Beyoncé without tweeting Keri Hilson death shade, or releasing your horde of fellow extremists on us because we refuse to join your army. We ALL should be able to operate together and coexist without coming to blows over differences.

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Groupthink and music #30in30

Working in groups isn’t always the best solution to completing a task.  In class we discussed how when they are are more members in a group, some people try to avoid conflict by self-censoring.  They desire cohesiveness, rather than expressing their views.

As we discussed groupthink I began applying it to music, as I do with everything.  I’ve come in contact with so many “fans” who are consumed with fitting into their favorite artists “fan club” or “clique.”  Their main goal is to avoid divergence, even if this means quelling their opinions or acknowledging an alternative view.

I’ve seen this a lot when there’s someone who refers to himself or herself as a fan of someone’s music.   When they express a view opposite loving their favorites new song or video, the rest of the group labels them a hater or not a true fan.  However, it is possible to be a fan of someone’s music without loving every song they sing.

Fans who subscribe to the groupthink ideology are infamous for referring to someone whose views differs from theirs as senseless.  On more than one occasion I’ve come in contact virtually with a fan that has called me thoughtless, vile, and pathetic because I didn’t like their favorite artist. I’ve also had fans summon other fans to attack me because it’s what had to be done.  In their minds, they had to defend their favorite.

Being a fan is not about agreeing with an artist’s music all of the time, but about liking the person’s music while being honest in the event you don’t like a song or album.  The issue with groupthink is that it strips you of your identity.  Individuality is preached in society, yet your allegiance is questioned when you don’t agree 100% with their beliefs.  Being an individual isn’t about conforming but being true to you.

If you like an artist but you don’t like one of their songs, say you don’t like the song or album.  Agreeing with everyone else won’t change how you feel.

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