Arts and Entertainment

The Rise of #FreeBritney

Britney Spears is known as the insanely talented pop diva, but behind the scenes she struggles with mental health and severe life restrictions.

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By Emily Young-Squire

Britney Spears is one of very few artists with multigenerational influence. Our parents listened to her and passed along her music, which is still popular among young people today. Spears carved out a space for herself in the world of pop with her sound, iconic music videos, and performances. She brought a unique baby voice to the industry in the early 2000s that none of her peers had at the time. Since then, she has continued to release music even as recent as 2020. While her recent music hasn’t gained massive attention, her name has been trending again alongside the hashtag #FreeBritney.

This recent phenomenon lies in the earlier years of Spears’s career. Spears started working at the young age of 11 and became a pop sensation five years later. Multiple reports have come out of Spears being overworked while simultaneously dealing with severe mental health issues. Spears has also had many extremely concerning incidents, the most well known being when she shaved all her hair off at a salon in 2007 and within the same month, physically attacked paparazzi. After that, she was put under a conservatorship, which restricted her from driving, voting, owning a cellphone, etc. That wasn’t the end of Spears’s problems concerning her mental health though.

Spears admitted herself into a mental health facility at the beginning of 2019 and stated on Instagram that it was due to her struggling with her father’s health concerns. This turned out to be a lie. Later in the year, one of Spears’s paralegals anonymously revealed to a podcast that her father canceled her shows and was the one who forced her to admit herself to a facility. He gave Spears the order to tell the public that this was all due to her father’s growing health issues. Spears’s father, alongside her team, forced her to take medication that she didn’t believe was necessary. After this information became public, #FreeBritney began to trend all over social media, with fans expressing their concerns for Spears. Spears’s own mother liked comments on Instagram that included this hashtag, further implying that these circumstances may not just be rumors. Fans are convinced that Spears is trapped.

#FreeBritney has resurfaced again in the past few months because of Spears’s social media presence. Spears’s Instagram posts and TikToks have concerned fans due to their unsettling nature. On her TikTok, you can find videos of her spinning and dancing in her living room. The comments are flooded with concern and confusion, one fan even saying, “You can’t control her anymore. We’re getting her out.” Spears’s childhood friend and numerous celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, have spoken out in support as well. Nonetheless, Spears’s father and siblings continue to deny all accusations.

As of now, Spears’s legal team is trying to remove her father as her conservator. Doctors believe she still needs major restrictions on her life for her own safety. Circumstances, however, have changed since Spears’s initial placement under her father’s conservatorship. Spears is an adult and should be allowed to make her own decisions as such. It seems likely that her father has been closely controlling her every move for nearly a decade now, and it has to come to an end. The judge’s approval is yet to be announced, but until then, #FreeBritney.