By: AALIYAH MINNIEWEATHER
Most people definitely know who Britney Spears is.
For those of who don’t know, Britney Spears is an American singer and performer who first rose to fame in the late 90s as a teen pop princess, essentially catapulting the teen pop revival movement of the late 90s-early 00s that helped give birth to such pop acts as N’Sync, Christina Aguilera, and Jessica Simpson. The Backstreet Boys often come to mind as well.
Britney Spears started her career in show business in 1993 when she got a gig on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (1989-1996) where she and 20 other children would perform dance numbers and act in skits. The show helped produce some world-famous actors and music artists such Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell (who’s notable for Felicity), and JC Chasez from N’Sync. Spears would participate on this show for two years until it was decided that production would end in 1995. Two years later in 1997, she signed with Jive Records at 15.
Britney Spears became iconic after a number of outstanding performances, artistic music videos, her signature nasally baby voice, and memorable bops such as “Toxic”, “Slave 4 You”, “Stronger”, “Oops..I Did It Again!”, “Circus”, and the ever-famous “…Baby One More Time”. Her debut album of the same name that was released in 1999 went on to sell 20 million copies worldwide, and she would go on to release more popular albums while in her prime including “Oops..I Did It Again!” (2000), “Britney” (2001), and “In The Zone” (2003). She also became a household name due to her notorious publicity moves, such as kissing Madonna at the 2003 Video Music Awards during a performance.
But this isn’t quite where Spears’s story ends.
Underneath her happy facade and global superstar status was a very vulnerable young woman who desperately wanted to express herself, and ultimately wanted a way out after she saw her image at the time for what it was. In an article titled, “Heartbreaking cause of Britney Spears’ harrowing breakdown confirmed by star’s family”, written by Frances Kindon, and published by Mirror UK, an insider is credited as saying, “‘She had trouble sleeping and crying fits. She was restless and agitated. Nights were the only times she was alone and she struggled with that… When nothing was happening, it drove her crazy. Only exhaustion would knock her out,’ a source previously told The Mirror.” It is obvious that Britney suffered with dysfunctional thoughts and feelings due to being so famous, so young, and being controlled by so many grown people during a time where most youngsters her age are usually carefree and finding themselves; much less recording albums under a strict deadline and performing sold-out tours. It is only natural that she eventually just wanted to be normal.
Fastforwarding to 2007, Britney Spears makes breaking news for suffering her now-infamous breakdown. She had recently filed for a divorce from Kevin Federline, who she married three years earlier and who is the father of her two sons, Sean Preston and Jayden. They were both reportedly requesting for custody of the boys at this time.
After an amount of repeated breakdowns, Spears was then placed under a conservatorship by her father, Jamie Spears, in 2008 which she’s still under to this very day.
This leads us to #FreeBritney, a hashtag that has sprung up in recent years to spread awareness of Spears’s situation and after moments drawing concern, courtesy of Spears herself.
This conservatorship has allegedly put unfair restrictions on the star, and has led fans to believe that she is virtually a living slave. In an article titled, “What’s Going on With Britney Spears’s Mental Health Crisis?”, under a segment titled ‘Why would she be held against her will?’, written by Jill Gutowitz, and published by Vulture in 2019, this is said: “Spears’s father noticed that she wasn’t taking her medication as prescribed, so he threatened to pull his support for her Vegas residency. Later, she allegedly still wasn’t taking her medication, and was seen driving with her boyfriend of over a year, Sam Asghari, which the source claimed she isn’t allowed to do under the conservatorship. So, Spears’s father allegedly checked her into the facility and offered to blame it on his own health issues. But possibly the most chilling part of the voice-mail was when the man touched on the conservatorship itself.” It seems like her father is working incessantly to completely control his 38-year-old daughter well into her middle age. Under another segment titled, ‘What’s the deal with the conservatorship?’, he is credited as saying this: “The conservatorship was supposed to end after the Circus Tour in 2009. The idea was: go on tour, show us you’re stable and well and that this conservatorship will help you regain custodial rights.” The author went on with her own commentary: “For background, conservatorships are serious business: They’re usually reserved for elderly people who can’t take care of themselves or their finances; those who have been critically injured or impaired in an accident; or adults with developmental disabilities. Since 2009, Spears has recorded, released, promoted, and toured numerous albums. So, she doesn’t match any of those qualifications (that we’re publicly aware of), and for at least the last year, she has reportedly been in talks with her father and medical professionals to have the conservatorship brought to an end. For those reasons, the anonymous source’s allegations struck a nasty chord with longtime fans who have had a problem with the conservatorship.” Upon learning this information, we can conclude that Spears is obviously suffering with the short end of a stick and that she basically shouldn’t have even qualified for a conservatorship in the first place. It seems to many that it is in place mainly for Britney to record, perform, and participate in interviews at her father and company’s whims for monetary gain. And even then, everything that she performs and says in interviews is carefully construed and monitored.
Now let’s talk about what the fuss concerning #FreeBritney in 2020 is about.
The topic came up again this year after the star began posting videos on her Instagram and Tik Tok that fans deemed as concerning. The videos consisted of Spears moving about in weird ways, causing some casual Internet users to laugh at her. And during one instance, a fan allegedly asked Spears to wear yellow in her next video if she needed help. She reportedly wore yellow in a number of her videos after the request was made. In another article titled, “Why is #FreeBritney Spears Trending Again?” and under a segment called, ‘And why is #FreeBritney trending again now?’, written by Claire Lampen, and published by The Cut, it says, “Throughout quarantine, fans believe, Spears has been sending coded messages through social media. The singer has been active (as ever) over the past few months, posting dance routines and workout videos (recall: the one where she burned down her gym) and inspirational quotes and, the #FreeBritney contingent claims, calls for help. As NME reports, Spears has appeared to respond to fans’ prompts on a few occasions. For example, when she posted the below video of herself … mostly just walking back and forth in a yellow top, shortly after a fan told her to ‘wear a yellow shirt in your next video if you need help.’” Due to these instances, fans reason out Britney’s situation is one that definitely needs examining and fixing. The singer obviously hasn’t been in a healthy state and there just might be something fishy going on with her in private. It is widely believed that this is all linked to the conservatorship.
Allegedly, Britney’s sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, has been working on freeing her of her current, restricting conservatorship originally set up by their father and working to have her experience more freedom and make some of her own decisions.
Let’s hope it works out to the point where Britney Spears is completely free of any conservatorship. Whatever issues she went through in 2007-2008 and beyond, she could possibly cope with and heal from with the use of extensive therapy. After all, all she really seems to want now is to take care of her children, enjoy whatever life she has now, and retire peacefully. She probably never even needed a conservatorship in the first place. Britney has struggled ever since she entered the business at age 11 and the problems only exasperated as the years went on and she gained more prominence. It is about time she lived a normal, fulfilling life with meaning and substance.
If progress is made concerning her predicament, she will probably be okay and won’t contract hypertension or something else equally horrible. It is not understandable how stressed she probably is and has been for the past 10 years or so. I guess what I really should say is this:
In 2020, we’ve already lost Kobe Bryant, Naya Rivera, Chadwick Boseman, among many others.
Do you want us to lose Britney as well?