“Beyhives, Barbz, and Little Monsters???”: A Reflection On Being a Fan v. Groupie

It happened on Friday April 6th at approximately 12:00 pm. The Beyhive beat me to the punch. The ‘punch’ being tickets to the Beyoncé concert in Atlantic City at the Revel Resort during Memorial Day Weekend. I was pissed! I figured that the tickets would be sold out quickly but I never imagined that they would be sold out during the pre-sale before the tickets went on sale to the general public at 12:00 pm.

I had to do some digging around to find out how this happened and that’s when I came across the Beyhive. You may be wondering what the heck is the Beyhive. Well I am going to tell you in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… According to Beyoncé’s website the Beyhive is “the official fan collective by the fans, for the fans, here for Bey.” As I scanned the hive, I noticed that there were different types of Bey’s and based on your level of fandom to Queen Bey, you can determine which type of Bey you are. You can be a honeybey, who supports Beyoncé but isn’t a stan; a bumblebey, who is similar to a honeybey but will go hard for Bey when necessary; and a diggerbey, who always goes hard for Beyoncé and knows virtually everything about her. It must have been the diggerbeys who used the code Beyoncé gave out on April 5th to buy tickets during the pre-sale!

While I’m probably being a wasp right now (that’s code for hater—check the site because there’s a bunch of vocabulary to catch up on), it left me wondering on a broader level why we just can’t be fans anymore. Why is there a need to define fans as Beys, Barbz, Little Monsters, or as a part of someone’s Navy? On some level, these categorizations can serve the purpose of building a collective identity, which can enhance a sense of group belonging. This sense of group belonging can also diminish our individual identity and we become more wrapped up in being good group members than being unique individuals. Sometimes being a ‘good’ group member means being irrational in the name of a particular celeb. Anyone remember the story about the guy who got stabbed because he didn’t know Beyoncé and Jay-Z were married? Although you may not have people like this roaming in your circle (but hey you can never be too sure about what kind of Beys you have buzzing around) you may be familiar with another scenario… Let’s say you mention anything critical about a particular celeb and you are immediately accused of being a hater. I find this to be a similar but less painful manifestation of the stabbing. Critical does not equal hater but that’s another conversation for another day.

When it’s all said and done, I find these fan categorizations to be unnecessary. I truly hope these fan identities don’t spawn groups of people running around in Bee costumes with pins that are used as stingers whenever someone criticizes the Queen. I have the feeling that this day is on the horizon; we’ve already seen the Barbz in all of their neon rainbow glory. But that’s enough of my ramblings for the day. Perhaps I am still salty about the Beys beating me to the punch or maybe I am just getting too old for this…

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