Stan feuds are the very foundation of stan wars.
Stans spend all day comparing, arguing, ranking, and generally saying horrible things to people they don’t know in defense of other people they don’t know. But as one generation of stans gave way to another, there may be stan groups who hate each other and may not know why.
And so, here is a history of the greatest stan feuds of all time.
There are some people who you meet and instantly despise.
You hate their face, the way they talk, the way they chew their food, and the way they walk around breathing like they own the place.
The crux of Mariah and J. Lo’s “feud” rests not in figuring out what went wrong when they met, but figuring out whether they even met each other at all.
Almost 20 years later, we’re all still confused.
Let me see if I recall this correctly, because I wasn’t paying close attention.
Katy and Taylor were friends, but Katy stole some of Taylor’s backup dancers in the middle of a tour.
Then Taylor and Katy started seeing the same man at the same time, and so Taylor egged Katy’s car.
Then Katy took a baseball bat to Taylor’s car.
Then Taylor and Selena Gomez tried to jump Katy at the VMAs.
Taylor and Katy hated each other like Tom and Jerry for five more years before reconciling and becoming best friends and, eventually, a lesbian power couple.
Is that not what happened? Because that’s how I remember it.
For the past 50 years, Black female artists have dominated pop music.
In the 1970’s there was Aretha, Diana, and Donna.
In the 1980’s there was Tina, Whitney, Janet, and Anita.
In the 1990s there was Janet and Whitney (still), plus Mariah, Toni, Brandy, Monica, Keisha, Tisha, Lisa, Teresa, Tia, Aaliyah, Sonia, Monique, Keke, and so forth and such and such (and that’s not even not counting the girl groups.)
But since 2005, there have only been two Black female artists (solo or group) who have been consistently successful and acclaimed on a global level:
It’s not entirely clear why the pool of Black female pop icons has become so small.
It’s certainly not due to a lack of new talented Black women, but as the two main ambassadors of Black female pop for the past 15 years, Beyoncé and Rihanna have been consistently compared in pretty much every way.
On paper, Beyoncé and Rihanna don’t have much in common aside from melanin and Jay-Z, and a large part of this “feud” is our consistent habit of comparing artists who perform similar genres if stylistically they’re not even remotely similar.
As to whether the feuding of their stans exists in real life, it’s hard to say. Aside from stiff church hugs at industry events, it’s difficult to ascertain the true nature of their relationship.
Despite knowing each other for almost 20 years, neither has shown even the slightest interest in collaborating; and Beyoncé hasn’t said anything publically about Rihanna in nearly a decade.
I don’t get a “friendly” vibe from them, but I’m also not getting the “I’ll knock that bitch’s shit loose on site”- vibes that Taylor and Katy were giving in 2014.
We may never find out the true nature of their relationship until Rihanna’s saucy late-in-life memoir or Beyoncé’s estate-approved bio-doc, but maybe this timeline can help:
Jay-Z signs (a then unknown) Rihanna to Def Jam.
Comparisons between Rihanna and Beyoncé begin when Rihanna starts using key members of Beyoncé’s creative team (including background dancers, choreographers, her creative director, and Jake Nava, who directed “Crazy In Love” and “Baby Boy.”)
After the release of “Ring the Alarm”, rumors begin to circulate that the song is about Rihanna having an affair with Jay-Z.
Years later, a publicist admitted to starting the rumor to kickstart Rihanna’s career. There remains a dispute as to whether or not he was working off orders from Rihanna’s management. Nevertheless, Rihanna and Beyonce would remain inextricably linked.
After the release of Rihanna’s third album Good Girl Gone Bad, Def Jam begins selling the album with this sticker:
When a fan tweeted Rihanna asking if she had seen Beyoncé’s “Run The World (Girls)” video, Rihanna replied, “been there done that” and posted a screencap from her video for “Hard” (both videos had post-apocalyptic desert motifs).
Rihanna quickly deleted the tweet.
In an interview with Complex magazine, When asked about a rivalry with Rihanna, Beyoncé said:
“I have an authentic, God-given talent, drive, and longevity that will always separate me from everyone else. I’ve been fortunate to accomplish things that the younger generation of queens dream of accomplishing. I have no desire for anyone else’s throne.
I am very comfortable in the throne I’ve been building for the past 15 years.”
After Beyoncé released “Bow Down” (which had the girls DEEP in their feelings), Rihanna posted this to her Instagram: Because Rihanna saying “How dat feel down there on ya knees” and because Beyoncé was telling hoes to “bow down” some news outlets thought Rihanna was subliminally trying to drag Beyoncé.
(Side Note: If Beyoncé were a certain kind of person, she would have posted this picture of Rihanna actually on her knees and kept it moving, but she just doesn’t let the girls have it the way she could.
It was announced that Rihanna would be receiving MTV’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. In addition to the award, Rihanna was scheduled to perform four times and the entire VMAs was pretty much planned to be a tribute to her career.
Things were going as planned, but about 30 minutes into the VMAs, Beyoncé said:
Billboard would later call Beyoncé’s performance “The greatest award show performance of all time.”
Rihanna liked then unliked a tweet shading the chart performance of “Formation”.
Rihanna “accidentally” likes an Instagram post shading Beyoncé’s Grammy nominations.
(Side Note: Rihanna seems to have very slippery fingers. Do you think she has hyperhidrosis?)
Rihanna throws her annual Diamond Ball in New York City.
That same night, Beyoncé attends a performance of "Dear Evan Hansen" while Jay-Z went ahead to the Diamond Ball.
Some people wondered why Beyoncé would buy tickets to a Broadway show the night of Rihanna's event (instead of any of the other performances that week).
Some people speculated that Beyoncé chose to attend Dear Evan Hansen on that particular night to be purposely late to Rihanna's event. They surmised that Beyoncé planned to stay just long enough to fix a to-go plate, take her semiannual awkward picture with Rihanna, and go home without incurring any Uber wait time fees.
It was me.
I am “some people”.
Perhaps how they really feel about each other isn’t important.
There’s a large group of hybrid Beyoncé and Rihanna stans who are seriously waiting for them to collaborate even though Rihanna can’t even get a birthday shout-out on Beyoncé’s website. But I think the fact that we’ve gone from trying to force a feud between them to trying to force a relationship shows how far we’ve progressed(?) as fans.
No stanbase has been as embattled as the Barbz.
Over the past decade, Nicki stans have battled Mariah, Taylor, Miley, and pretty much every person with a vagina who has spit a hot 16 at any time since 1973.
But what separates the Barbz’ stan battles from other stan feuds is the implied threat associated with some of the artists that Nicki has beefed with.
Typically stan feuds are harmless and confined to the internet. And even when the artists involved actually hate each other, the most that will happen is Twitter shade. Even the most “savage” artists are mostly brave on social media with no history of actually throwing hands in real life.
Stans aren’t that scary offline, either.
Take away their Nene Leakes GIFs and access to Chart Data, and most stans are pathetic and harmless creatures hiding behind pictures of other people.
Nicki’s feuds are a bit different.
The women Nicki has beefed with have histories of assault, throwing stiletto pumps in five-star hotels, and shooting bitches for stealing a half a pack of Sour Skittles out of their purse. (Is that not what happened? Because that’s the story I tell myself.)
And so, one could reason the Barbz are so overzealous because they feel that Nicki’s feuds place her in actual danger (since some of her foes don’t mind doing a few years in jail to prove a point).
Or maybe the Barbz don’t feel that Nicki gets her just due.
Between the heyday of Lauryn and Lil’ Kim in the late ’90s to the female rap explosion we’ve seen in recent years, it was pretty much crickets aside from Nicki.
Nicki was crucial in ushering in a new era of female rap and solidifying the idea that female rappers can also be global pop icons. Because you cannot overstate Nicki’s influence on the current female rappers, maybe the Barbz just want Nicki to receive the credit she deserves, both commercially and culturally.
I believe that the Barbz are more frustrated and misunderstood than actual threats who need to be monitored by the FBI. It’s hard to feel that your fave’s hard work doesn’t get recognized while other artists get praised for doing the bare minimum. And it’s also hard seeing your fave being judged by a very rigid set of standards and then seeing all of those standards fly out of the window to uplift another artist.
And so, to ease stan tensions with the Barbz, we’re starting the Hug-a-Barb program. This is a Barb outreach initiative that focuses on empathy and kindness rather than the toxic behavior one usually associates with Mrs. Maraj-Petty’s fanbase.
(Please note, due to the current pandemic, the “hugs” in “Hug-A-Barb” are metaphorical.)
The premise is very simple. The next time a Barb curses you out or threatens to pistol-whip your mother and burn your house down because you said something nice about Cardi, instead of arguing or calling the police, say this:
Barb, you are important.
Barb, you are capable.
Barb, you are seen.
Barb, you are valued.
Barb, you are loved.
These bitches is Nicki’s sons.
I feel that this is a small but meaningful step that will not only stop Barb-on-stan crime, but will also ease the tension of all stan feuds.