Britney Jean Spears: The Pop-Princess Stuck Inside Instagram.

by Brittany Talissa King

It was 1998 when I saw her on my Panasonic T.V.

I had just returned home from school and stationed myself in front of the family computer. As I chatted with classmates on AOL, and fed my two Tamagotchis dangling from my belt loop. In the background was MTV, intermission with cereal commercials, until “A World Premiere” music video took over the screen. As I gossiped with my chat room, I heard an unfamiliar electronic piano beat blast behind me, “Dun-dun-nuh…” then, a girl sang, “Oh baby, baby…” over the melody. I stopped typing mid-sentence, turned my black swivel chair around, and faced the 50" television screen.

I watched as the pretty girl with the plaid school-uniform, dance free in her high school hallways, thinking, “Who is she?”

Before I knew it, my brown hands flung in the air, swinging from side-to-side, landing on my hips; as if I were an extra backup dancer — mimicking the cool girl singing, “My loneliness is killing me…” I sang the next catchy lyric with her, “I must confess I still believe. Still believe!” In what? My 11-year-old self did not know…how was I supposed to know? But what I knew, this teenager, this pop-singer, was a star. After the last chorus lingered in the family room, “Hit me, baby, one more time!” I watched her name flash in the credits — and I smiled. It was the same as mine, Britney.

But now in 2020, as I scroll her Instagram on my Smartphone, I don’t recognize that pop-princess anymore.

The young starlet with iconic hits — nine studio albums, selling over 100 million of them worldwide; The young woman who headlined multiple magazines with charismatic titles like, “Teen Queen,” on Rolling Stones, and “Britney on Top” covering Elle — -is now synonymous with words like conservatorship, or even “crazy” unrelated to her #1 hit.

I still regard Britney as a legend, though I’m quite concerned for her life. Not because she’s been classified as “mentally-unstable,” “insane,” or possessing “dementia” (according to her father), but because I don’t think she’s any of these descriptors at all. And sure, I could be biased because I’m a fan — but after her infamous “2007 melt-down,” or as I would refer to it as, “her stand against the music industry,” — -Britney’s clique of “protectors” has seemingly betrayed her, allowing the media to circle Britney and attack her, while ripping her image apart.

Even her 13-year-old son, Jayden Federline, ultimately tried to champion his mother on Instagram. Last year, as he went Live on the platform, he spoke out against his grandfather, Jamie Spears, Britney’s dad, and legal guardian via court. Jayden called his granddad “a d-ck,” and other disapproving names claiming he’s “not a good person.” Moreover, after a fan asked about Britney’s musical career, he expressed, “She told me she might quit.” And of course, the Spears and Federline families were frantic about Jayden’s airing of their dirty-laundry, but here’s the truth of the matter, Jayden was not entirely off-base.

Last year, his father, Kevin Federline, attempted to take-out a restraining order on Jamie Spears for “abusing” his other son, Sean Preston.

According to People, “There was a disagreement that occurred while Britney and the children were visiting with Jamie at his home that led to a physical altercation [with Sean Preston], which Jayden observed.” The article continued, “Britney did the right thing and removed the children and took them out of there, but the trauma to the kids is nonetheless.”

If you’re one of Britney’s 26 million followers on Instagram or someone who occasionally checks-in, you’ve seen the array of tiny squares encased with confusion and smeared eyeliner. Britney consistently snaps boom-a-rangs of three recycled facial expressions: a forced smile, a spooky grin, or a dead stare. And none of the above exhibits her true care-free witty personality the world’s accustomed to. Not because she has “lost” it, but because I believe along with other loyal fans, there’s a possible manipulation taking place behind the camera — -and the suspects in questioned are her current boyfriend, model, Sam Asghari, and estranged father, Mr. Spears.

In 2016, Britney and Sam became an item during her music video “Slumber Party.” And after becoming an inseparable pair, her IG posts began to take an odd, suspicious turn toward “something is off here.” Many of her fans have written concerns underneath Britney’s photos, telling her, “Wear yellow if you’re in trouble,” or “If you need help, wear blue.” And the strange thing is, in her next two posts, Britney was in a yellow midriff and the next, a blue floral top. If that’s not convincing enough, this summer, her followers asked again for another S.O.S. signal by wearing black — -and the following days, Britney was in a black blazer. These apparent cries-for-help has feverishly pushed the #FreeBritney campaign.

Also catching the eye of this #movement, was another incident that occurred last month. Inside their home, Britney took Sam’s phone to IG Live; millions of followers received this notification and to their surprise, viewed a frantic moment where Sam verbally reprimanded Britney for video-tapping. If that wasn’t strange enough, then comes Sam’s “explanation.” He took to his social media and wrote a forced playful message, which only made Britney’s fans more concerned with what’s really happening off their Instagrams.

Even author Kelly Oxford spoke out and expressed that Brit’s posts are “getting too scary,” — -where Sam, again, took to Twitter and quickly responded. “What’s so scary about being the biggest superstar in the world being herself (authentic, funny, humble) without caring what others think.” Billboard called this “a defense” for his girlfriend, but seemed more like a defense for him. Don’t get me wrong; I’m concern about Britney’s mental health. But not because she’s incapable of ruling her adult life, but because someone(s) is trying to convince the public that she can’t.

All I know, it would be extremely unfortunate if the world gave up on this pop-star, who gave us her heart — -and act like “how were we suppose to know” — -when we knew all along.

Freelance writer. MA in Journalism from NYU. Studied under Ta-Nehisi Coates in his “Writing for Reporters” course. My weapon is My pen. @b.talissa on IG.

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