What Billie Eilish’s Grammy Wins Tell Us About The Toxicity Of Stan Culture
Just before winning Album of the Year, Billie was caught mouthing "Please don't be me. Please."
Billie Eilish just won five Grammy awards, making her the youngest person in history to win the Big Four in the same year.
At just 18 years old, Billie managed to nab Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year. This big four had only ever previously been won in 1981 by Christopher Cross, making Billie’s Grammy’s sweep even more historic as she was also the first female to win.
However, during the announcement for the Album of the Year winner, Billie was caught mouthing: “Please don’t be me. Please.”
“Billie Eilish being genuinely disgusted by her own success is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen at a major awards show,” Joey Nolfi shared in a now-viral tweet.
“Please don’t be me. Please.”
— Joey Nolfi (@joeynolfi) January 27, 2020
The award was her fourth of the night, and Billie was up against Bon Iver, H.E.R, Lil Nas X, Vampire Weekend, Lizzo, Lana Del Rey, and Ariana Grande for the title. After her name was announced as recipient of Album of the Year, Billie was seen shouting “NOOOOOOOOOO” in response to the news.
Billie’s reluctance to accept the award carried over into her acceptance speech, where she noted that she thought others were more deserving. “Can I just say that I think Ariana deserves this,” she said straight up. “Thank U, Next got me through some shit, and I think it deserves this more than anything in the world. I love you, thank you so much.”
Despite Ariana trying to shush Billie from the crowd, Billie simply concluded her short speech by saying: “I’m not going to waste your time, I’m really not. I love you. Thank you for this.”
Before her Album of the Year win, Billie’s ‘Bad Guy’ won Song of the Year. During this acceptance speech, Billie started her speech by saying: “Why? Wow, so many other songs deserve this. I’m sorry.”
What Was All That About?
Billie Eilish thinking she was undeserving of the praise and accolades she received was a running theme throughout the awards. During her acceptance speech for Best New Artist, Billie touched on the backlash she knew she would face in response to her wins.
“All the other artists in this category, you deserve this just as much as I do,” she said. “I know your fans are hardcore and they’re going to fight for you and they love you and they’re going to talk shit about me for years because of this.”
And, like clockwork, stans online did exactly that. In defence of artists like Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey, people starting calling Billie an undeserving “glorified ASMR girlie“, claiming that her wins were proof that the Grammy’s are rigged.
How the fuck did Billie Garnish sweep the awards???? The music was great because of the engineering! NOT THE LYRICS NOT THE VOICE NOT THE MESSAGE. HOW THE HELL DID IT WIN ROTY, AOTY, AND SOTY? ALSO BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM??!!!? SHE DIDN'T EVEN SING. SHE WAS WHISPERING GIBBERISH.
— Luzviminda Dela Fuerta (@Kitchenomics41) January 27, 2020
In fact, Joey Nolfi’s original tweet about Billie being “genuinely disgusted by her own success” in the viral video couldn’t be further from the truth. This narrative of Billie thinking she was not worthy of the awards she received worked to deflect some hatred from vicious stans online.
By siding with these aggressive fans, before they had the chance to form their pointed opinions, Billie was protected from the full brunt of online attack. This was a common theory echoed by people online, who believed that Billie’s deflection plan was in fear of inevitable criticism.
I think she was scared of the backlash🥴
— Queen Chaos 👑 (@craznsane) January 27, 2020
she’s not disgusted by her success u moron she just knows yall were gonna hate on her if she won
— alice (@grangershug) January 27, 2020
Look at the people tweeting now? She didnt deserve this, she didnt deserve that-
That’s why she was scared because she knew that the second she would walk out of there with more than one award she’d get hate from so many petty people…
she deserved to win, y’all are just nasty
— 𝐉𝐚𝐧𝐚 ◟̽◞̽ (@goldenlouvre) January 27, 2020
She’s probably scared of the backlash, because stan twitter is crazy
— pepsi dog (@cassietrench) January 27, 2020
This treatment of Billie by unhappy fans of artists who failed to win awards highlights the growing toxicity of fan bases online — in this case, it appears to have made an artist genuinely wish to not win awards in fear of how they’ll be treated online afterwards.
billie gave ariana recognition when she got an award, was filmed saying ‘please don’t be me’ bc she knew she would get called undeserving, and gave a speech about how important ALL fans are and y’all still choose to hate on an 18 year old who worked her ass off on her debut album
— andreea (@aIewives) January 27, 2020
That clip of Billie Eilish wishing that they wouldn't say her name at the Grammys last night has really bothered me! I hate that we are in a time that we have to downplay our own accomplishments so that internet trolls don't talk shit. Fuck that! I'mma celebrate my wins!
— Kalen Allen (@TheKalenAllen) January 27, 2020
Stans Just Continue To Get Worse
As time has passed, once placid stans have become relentless in their treatment of other artists or those with differing opinions. Lizzo was recently run off Twitter following criticism and countless jokes over her weight. These memes started ramping up following the announcement that Lizzo’s 2017 hit ‘Truth Hurts’ was eligible for a Grammy — an apparently unfair move to other artists in the same boat.
In a tweet that announced Lizzo’s Grammy award wins, the replies were flooded with comments about Lizzo wanting to eat everything. The comments, which came from stan groups like Swifties (Taylor Swift fans), Barbs (Nicki Minaj), and Arianators (Ariana Grande), were typical of the online stan space.
she’s gonna eat it omg
— martin (@loverinmei) January 27, 2020
she eats everything damn
— marce ⁷ (@vanteyeons) January 27, 2020
During an Instagram Live, Lizzo explained that while she’d loved to be on Twitter to interact with positive people, it’s just no longer possible for her. “I’ve gotten to a point where I’m not just dealing with Internet bullies, I’m dealing with seeing a lot of negativity on the Internet dealing with everyone…even from my well of positivity, I feel it, and it doesn’t feel good,” she said.
Even Lizzo’s tweet that announced she was leaving Twitter due to trolls was met with replies that just proved her point. People dropped memes about Lizzo’s weight and claimed that they had collectively achieved their goal of removing her from the platform.
The culture is also relentlessly hypocritical — stans are very quick to cancel other artists for their scandals, but tend to demand leniency when it comes to their favourite singers; it then becomes wrapped up within cancel culture, with stans expecting repercussions for other artists but not their own.
kpop stan culture
their fave got a scandal : this is serious .trust him, omo lets pray, if he's wrong then we will understand, people makes mistakes and we will support him, oPpA fIgHtiNg~
other's fave got a scandal : fUKIN ELECTRIC CHAAAIRRR!!! *drop fancams*
— ℒ»ᴛʀᴇᴀsᴜʀᴇ※ʙᴀɴɢᴄʜᴇʟʟᴀ (@YGlSFAM) November 4, 2019
But worst of all, it’s the way stans react to deaths in the music industry that encapsulates the toxic culture. When it comes to deaths, overdoses, and claims of abuse, stans have yet to learn how to use discretion in their quest to make their favourite artists chart higher.
On Pop Crave’s recent tweet about the passing of Kobe Bryant, the replies were filled with comments from fans calling for artists to be streamed. “Stream ‘7 rings’ to celebrate,” one stan tweeted along with a video of Ariana Grande. “Maybe if he streamed Selena Gomez’s music,” a Selena stan said. “Stan X,” an XXXtenacion fan simply shared.
It’s a disturbing new reality within online culture — where nothing matters outside of their favourite artist.