On January 4th of this year the instagram account of Britney Spears posted an announcement that Spears’ second Las Vegas residency ‘Domination’ would not be going ahead. The news came less than three months after the extravagant announcement airing live on Ellen DeGeneres YouTube channel and less than 6 weeks away from opening night. Later that day a press statement from Team Spears issued an indefinite work hatius which left the future of Domination in limbo, but the reason behind the cancellation was for Britney to care for her ill father and give her undivided attention in aiding him back to health. As fans we respected her decision and sent well wishes and prayers to the Spears’ family.
The following day (January 5th) Britney was seen at an In-N-Out Burger drive-thru and that would be her last public sighting until April 22nd. This post is not to continue to fuel rumours or speculations regarding the situation and I do not have direct sources close to Britney. This post is aimed to make people aware of the #FreeBritney movement and what this means to us as fans.
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I don’t even know where to start with this, because this is so tough for me to say. I will not be performing my new show Domination. I’ve been looking forward to this show and seeing all of you this year, so doing this breaks my heart. However, it’s important to always put your family first… and that’s the decision I had to make. A couple of months ago, my father was hospitalized and almost died. We’re all so grateful that he came out of it alive, but he still has a long road ahead of him. I had to make the difficult decision to put my full focus and energy on my family at this time. I hope you all can understand. More information on ticket refunds is available on britneyspears.com. I appreciate your prayers and support for my family during this time. Thank you, and love you all… always.
Eight days after the announcement of the Vegas cancellation another Instagram post on Britney’s account celebrated the 20th anniversary of her debut album ‘…Baby One More Time.’ This is a huge milestone in anyones career and deserves recognition. Britney single-handedly revived teen pop music with that album and made herself a worldwide icon. This type of success does not come overnight it comes with years of determination, drive, passion, hard work, setback and failures. The music industry would not be the same without her and her catalogue of work has stood the test of time. Britney will go down in history as being one of the greatest regardless as to wether you like her or not.
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Can you believe that this album was released 20 years ago today??!! I can’t. It’s definitely been the journey of a lifetime, full of ups and downs, but I’m grateful for every single moment of it all. Getting to know you all over the years has been such an incredible experience, and has made this all worth it. Thank you for your support from 20 years ago, all the way to today. I am blessed ❤️ #20yearsofbritney
While the post celebrated such a milestone it was obvious it did not come from Britney herself and in the months that followed fans grew to question as to why there had been no paparazzi photos of her and why there was no posts on her instagram account. For two reasons specifically: Britney has been a tabloid headline for many years and has paparazzi on her tail almost every time she leaves her house and secondly her love of instagram. During the time of her career from 1998-2004 when it would be referred to as her ‘heyday’ there was no social media allowing a peak into the life of a celebrity. So to finally get that glimpse into her personal life it is refreshing and surprisingly normal. Britney fans have grown up with her and even for the general public, who would not consider themselves a fan, she holds a dear place in their heart because she reminds them of their childhood and innocence. Britney the name holds a piece of nostalgia for anyone born before 2004.
Her instagram account itself is so unique and offers such a glimpse into Britney: the person that it is the sole subject in a podcast called Britneys Gram which was created in 2017. Earlier in the year during this time period when there was no instagram posts to report on and talk about they had the same question every other fan did: where is Britney?
On April 3rd an instagram post on Britney’s account stated ‘We all need to take time for a little “me time” :)’ This immediately put fans at ease until thirty minutes later the report broke Britney had checked herself into a mental health facility for 30 days treatment.
On April 16th a special emergency episode of the Britney’s Gram podcast was released titled #FREEBRITNEY and had a confirmed source within the law firm regarding Britney’s conservatorship (which has been in place since 2008) who stated she was forced into the facility and had been held there involuntarily and for a time period longer than is stated. It was also stated her show ‘Domination’ was cancelled when she did not comply with rules set in place under her conservatorship, not because of her fathers illness.
You can search the #FreeBritney hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for an entire day to day rundown of events and read into rumours and speculation, as I mentioned that is not my intention with this post. Instead I want to draw attention to Britney Spears: the person.
In 2008 Britney was placed under a temporary conservatorship with her father and a lawyer. Together they would manage Spears’ estate and her father would tackle her ‘day to day activities.’ Sometime during 2009/2010 the conservatorship was made permanent with no definite end date in sight. Britney Spears is in an entirely different place today than she was eleven years ago both mentally and spiritually. Since then she has completed three world tours and held a Las Vegas residency for four years, released four studio albums, an EP and Greatest Hits collection. Her custody time with her children was split 50/50 and to the best of the public knowledge she is happy and healthy. Legally, under the conservatorship, Britney is deemed ‘unable to care for herself.’ Up until this year she has been denied the right to her own attorney and any apparent attempts to end the conservatorship she has been threatened with her children, her career and treatment at a mental health facility.
People do not work Britney for free, they work for her because they are guaranteed a percentage of what she earns. Since the #FreeBritney movement began her own team has continued to manipulate the story in the press and on social media deeming Britney to have been ‘in a very dark place’ prior to the cancellation of her Vegas residency and treatment at a mental healthy facility. They have most recently been deleting and hiding positive comments under her instagram posts and only allowing negative ones to be viewed. Purely because it works in their favour and continues their theory that she is not mentally well enough and they did the right thing to cancel her show and place her in a treatment facility.
Have they, along with the conservatorship, forced her into working when she does not want to?
Stigma surrounding mental health has came a long way since the 2000’s but there is still room for improvement. Britney Spears has been at the receiving end of negative comments, jokes and jabs regarding her mental health for the past eleven years. Rather than looking at it as a serious issue they poke fun in a South Park episode or brand mugs ‘if Britney survived 2007 you can survive today.’
I do not believe the current situation regarding Britney Spears has anything to do with mental health. Yet her team are quick to use it as their defence and tabloids are quick to caption headlines ‘the troubled pop star.’
Britney Spears survived 2007 and that is not something to joke about. The entire world watched on as a young woman struggled to fight her way back and that fight still continues today. Britney constantly has to prove her worth, her every move has millions watching, doctors analyzing her and lawyers taking notes prepared with evidence to hold against her before they would do so in her favour.
Recent interviews with Britney show a very quiet, awkward and anxious person. You can tell she is uncomfortable during them and tries to be as politically correct as possible. That is what two decades of journalists twisting your words and public bashing do to a person. The general public are so desperate for Britney to return to the quirky and comfortable one they remember from early 2000’s interviews. It is almost like we are so desperate for her to return to that just to prove we did not destroy her.
People so fondly remember Britney in the ‘…Baby One More Time’ video as the Catholic school girl or as an air stewardess in ‘Toxic’ when Britney today could be an exhausted mother or two with an ongoing and lengthy legal process.
The Britney Army, and the public are always expecting more. The next single, an iconic music video, an infectious pop album, another world tour, even a second Crossroads movie. Britney has given to us for the past twenty years. Within that time she has received very little in return and certainly not the credit she deserves. This #FreeBritney movement is not for the princess of pop. It is for Britney the person. It is time for her to finally find her voice and to be able to live her life on her own terms. Should she return to the spotlight, only if and when she is ready, I will be more than thankful and ready. Should she decide she has had enough I would completely understand.
We now need to give back to Britney: the person. Not the money making machine. Not the tabloid headline and not the pop star.