Op-Ed: The Celebrity Worship We’re Witnessing Is More Concerning Than The Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion Beef

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Op-Ed: The Celebrity Worship We're Witnessing Is More Concerning Than The Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion Beef

Jason Koerner/Getty Images for E11EVEN; Erika Goldring/Getty Images

The girls are fighting.

But this isn’t the first time. Rap beef is as old as time, and true hip-hop heads can recall the lyrical squabbles of female MCs like Roxanne Shanté and Queen Latifah, Lil Kim and Foxy Brown. Those battles stayed between two women and didn’t get get out of hand. My, have times changed.

Currently, the rap beef that has the internet in a chokehold is between Nicki Minaj, 41, and Megan Thee Stallion, 28. The summary of the beef is that Nicki has been subbing Meg for some years now and the Houston rapper decided to sub back in her recently released record “Hiss.” The line that got Nicki revved up goes like this:

“These h–s don’t be mad at Megan, these h–s mad at Megan’s Law / I don’t really know what the problem is, but I guarantee y’all don’t want me to start / B—h, you a p—y (You a p—y), never finna check me (Yeah) / Every chance you get, bet your weak a– won’t address me (H-)”

It’s been said that Meg, in using “Megan’s Law,” is referring to the federal law that requires law enforcement to make information about sex offenders available to the public. Nicki’s husband happens to be a registered sex offender in New York (he failed to register as one when he moved with his wife to Los Angeles, and for that, he was sentenced to one year of home confinement in 2022), so she took that line to heart, despite her adversary not mentioning names. 

Why has Nicki been subbing Meg for so long? Some people speculate that she was upset with her for doing the song “WAP” with Cardi B, a known rival of the Pink Friday rapper. Nicki has herself said it has a lot to do with the “Hot Girl Summer” rapper allegedly making some insensitive comments about her getting an abortion if she got pregnant and encouraging her to drink at a time when she was trying to get pregnant. Whatever the origins, it’s gone too far.

The unsettling part of this beef isn’t so much the shots the ladies are firing at each other, because as some will argue, all is fair in hip-hop battles. Instead, it’s the way fans are responding and immersing themselves in celebrity beef to an extent that is disturbing. If you haven’t heard, the Texas cemetery where Meg’s late mother, Holly Thomas, is buried has amped up security in case the beef escalates. In other words, they’re worried Nicki’s fans, also known as “the Barbz,” may get out of hand after the location of the grave was shared widely online. As for Nicki, the location of the grave site for her late father was also reportedly shared widely online. To make it clear, nothing has happened to the grave sites, and the padded security for Thomas’s is preemptive. However, this even being a concern is sad on multiple levels. 

When I read the news, my mind went back to the show Swarm, by Donald Glover, which was released in March 2023. It was about a crazed fan named Dre (played by Dominique Fishback) of a Beyoncé-like character. She went on a killing spree and her victims included anyone who had something other than praise to give to her queen. While that show was entertaining and equally twisted, it makes you think about real “super fans” of today. When I hear about the BeyHive going to attack naysayers or Barbz sending death threats and contacting people’s jobs, it becomes clear to me that these are symptoms of celebrity worship syndrome–the obsessive fascination and preoccupation with a star you’ve never had any real interactions with. It is only this type of disorder that could drive fans who have never met a celebrity to consider vandalizing their rival’s parent’s grave site. 

This begs the question: When do we cross over from passionate and supportive fans to obsessed ones? I think it begins when you allow yourself to become so overly preoccupied with a celebrity’s life that you become detached from your own. Many of us are struggling to be present and engage with our current realities because we are living in the Instagram stories, reels, images and comment sections of other people. These are only fragments of their lives and we get so engrossed with the fragments that it warps our own reality. 

Sometimes we become preoccupied with celebrities because it’s a form of escapism from aspects of our lives we’d rather not engage with. Other times, it’s because it makes the luxurious life we think is out of reach for us more accessible. As a result, we vicariously experience riches and fame through our faves, obsessed with their every move. Unfortunately, that preoccupation can easily tip one into “obsessed” territory. And obsessed people can do ridiculous or even dangerous things.

Some may argue that celebrities have a responsibility to caution and keep their fans in order, which I don’t entirely disagree with. When fans are creating the beef especially, I think celebrities should step in and squash it. That said, we are autonomous people and have a responsibility to keep ourselves in check. If you find yourself behaving in disturbed ways to show loyalty or support to a celebrity you have no personal relationship with, that’s on you, and it’s time to take a step back. 

I know being able to watch a celebrity live on social media feels more intimate than only seeing them on the cover of a magazine, at a concert, or on the big and small screen, which was about as far as it went before today’s technology. You may feel like you know them and are part of their lives because you saw what they had for dinner today, but that isn’t the case. These are still people who don’t know you and wouldn’t come to your defense should your behaviors land you in serious trouble.

Taking time out of your day to troll someone your fave has beef with or spending hours on end hypothesizing, plotting and arguing with fans on the other side, even possibly exposing them to harm, is an indicator of deeper issues you’re having and avoiding. Also, obsessing over celebrities robs you of time you could be using to nurture your life and personal relationships with people who actually know and love you. 

There is no referee in this battle who can call fans (and the celebs) to order, but I hope it’s not too much to ask for us to do that work ourselves. When Nicki and Meg are done beefing, you still have your own life to face. 

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