Stan Culture (Word For The Week)
Stan Culture is defined as the actions, of a collective, often extreme in nature, of a strong minority within a fanbase.
A Stan meanwhile is defined as an extremely or excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan. It was popularized by Eminem in his song with the same title, written from a perspective of an obsessive fan who sends Eminem a series of letters, beginning from how first, he loved him and ending with him committing suicide as well as killing his girlfriend.
Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, I can still vividly recall the followership that fuji icons like Pasuma, KWAM 1, Kollington, and Barrister enjoyed. The second wave of fandom I witnessed was when football viewing centres were becoming more common and Jose Mourinho took over at Chelsea.
It was a match that sparked a willing tinder that is the Nigerian market.
Chelsea and Barcelona FC had the largest and loudest following in Nigeria then. If they and other European football clubs had found a way to capitalize on the Nigerian market, they would have struck the proverbial gold mine.
The next phase of fandom that gripped Nigeria was more self-created. Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy were then the biggest acts on the Nigerian music scene, they did have great fans, but the “group” with the biggest fans were the Big Brother Naija a.k.a BBN housemates of 2019.
They took fandom from the level of fans to stans. Their fans created what we have come to recognize as the first true stan culture in Nigeria.
From Tacha and her Titans to Mercy and her Merchineries. Others had big followings, but these two ladies were the first beneficiaries of true stan culture in Nigeria.
The best bit of it for me is how they successfully milked it.
Tacha though disqualified from BBN 2019 was subsequently financially and materially rewarded by her fans. She’ll go on to build an influencer and entertainer career out of her mega following.
Mercy as the winner would go on to build a brand that all previous BBN winners put together would struggle to compete against.
The rest of Nigeria’s entertainment industry took notice of this and suddenly, Wizkid fans who all this while identified as Wizkid FC upgraded themselves to a stan group.
Same went for Davido’s fans, monikered 30BG and Burna Boy’s fans, who unlike both other stans, remain nameless. I think we can call them the Odogwu Clan now.
Other artists like Naira Marley, Zlatan, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, and Olamide have also benefited from the burgeoning stan culture.
The stan culture currently being built around the 2020 BBN contestants have enjoyed seems to be unrivalled. Their stans have upped the ante. They are not limiting their support to singular housemates alone, they are bringing it into relationships too.
While Laycon has his icon and Dorathy has her Explorers, Nengi and Ozo have their Ozone, and Kiddwaya and Baby G, Erica have their Shippers.
This new dimension is one Nigerian movie maker would definitely aspire towards.
Filmmakers like Kemi Adetiba, Kunle Afolayan, Mildred Okwo, Tope Oshin, Imoh Umohren, Biyi Bandele, Chris Ihidero, Femi Odugbemi, and others hopefully can achieve this soon.
Considering the quality of work they put out, I hope they get this following soon enough as this will make their projects more bankable and encourage investors to finance more quality movies.
Getting Stan culture into politics meanwhile, will often result in a populace divided by minor issues that could easily have been overlooked. Rather, the citizens will engage as enemies on opposing sides, ruled by fear and sentiments, bereft and devoid of common sense. Instead, following a strongman kind of leader like a cult of personality.
The problem of stan culture remains the same as any other form of tribalism. I still can’t understand why anyone can’t just relax and enjoy the creativity that is currently being displayed by Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy.
I don’t get why someone can’t acknowledge that Christiano Ronaldo and Leonel Messi are both generational talents that should be savoured while still on display.
This was the same argument that ensured the English unilaterally respected Andre Pirlo but were split on Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, and Paul Scholes.
I’m a fan, dare I say, stan, of Liverpool FC. But that has not blinded me to the beauty that Pep Guardiola often conjure up with Manchester City. It also doesn’t blind me to the occasional mess up that results in a 3-0 drubbing from Watford, or a 7-2 thrashing from Aston Villa.
I also take the same attitude, scrutiny, and energy to politics and governance, religion and spirituality, icons and role models.
Try to do the same, so you can enjoy the best from your faves, while holding them accountable and preventing them from being that, which you use to fear, detest, and oppose.