Stan Culture in Nigeria: Views from The Outside

Sophia Afolayan
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Screen capture from Eminem's Stan music video

“The origin of the term stan is often credited to the 2000 song “Stan”, about an obsessed fan, by American rapper Eminem. The word has also been described as a portmanteau of “stalker” and “fan”. The word itself was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2017. The term was originally used as a noun, but over time evolved and began to be used as a verb as well.” – Wikipedia.

Stan culture is widely popular in every form of entertainment that exists today; music, visual art, sports, theatre, politics, even reality TV. The phenomenon is one which, as far as I have searched, has no in-depth scientific explanation. Sometimes I wonder how an individual one has never met can provoke such strong emotion in a person simply due to the content that they put out.

In the past few months, especially in our part of the world, our online space has been busy. The creators we stan have been putting out content, one after the other, and we have been pushing the gospel of all this hard work.

In the process of this pushing, different groups, or what I like to call “Stan clans”, have clashed with each other on different bases, some clashes more chaotic than others. This, on a level, is quite understandable and, in all honesty, unavoidable in an industry such as Nigerian music for example.

Where the problem lies however, is the boundaries we refuse to draw out when we are communicating as members of these stan clans. A lot of times, facts get thrown into the bin. The actual efforts of the creators are set aside. Personal lives are involved and even dragged in a bid to prove which group is superior.

A lot of people actively engaged in music discussions on Nigeria’s corner of Twitter, or TwitterNG as it is known, have been guilty of this at some point, on different scales. From tiny shade thrown casually, to full blown Twitter ‘back-and-forths’ that go on all night and maybe even turn the two people involved into enemies, so to speak.

I’m here to tell you it’s not worth all this stress.

I promise you, these parties can all have the top to themselves. To loosely quote J Cole, “we act like two legends can’t coexist”, but they can. In the same vein, it’s perfectly okay for you not to like what the other creator puts out. What is not okay is bringing other people down for being in the other creator’s camp. Don’t get me wrong – a little, well-intentioned banter never hurt anyone. Trying to keep it that way won’t hurt anybody though.

These ‘fights’ that we think they don’t notice, have contributed immensely to some of the feuds we see them have. That’s why a Burna and Davido collaboration isn’t likely to happen in the nearest future, or at all.

I’m an Outsider, but I respect the preferences of an FC person, or a 30BG person. It’s possible. Being an Outsider also does not mean I fail to acknowledge the quality of work the other creatives are putting out. It just means I have a preference for one over the others.

What my gospel boils down to, really, Is that our (very fierce) love for the creations of these people shouldn’t take away our civility and our sense of social media decorum? These values should not be sacrificed at the altar of stan culture. All this does is threaten the industry, and deprive us of quality music. I hope you understand the picture I’m trying to paint.

What do you think? Do you think I’m being self righteous? Do you agree? Do you think personal scuffles can be justified when stan clans are at ‘war’? And, to approach it from a different perspective, do you think these stan disputes help further the creator’s career?

Sophia Afolayan

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3 years ago

Nice. Really nice. Everyone knows this. It’s there in the back of their minds silently whispering the truth but….at some point, we’ll just have to understand that some people just love fights. Going out of their way to provoke the other camp is their bread and butter, their raison d’etre. Anyho, we’ll just keep trying.

3 years ago

Stans do the most. Nothing stops you from great bodies of work without discrediting one and another . NGL stan Wars help the music industry personnels get more accolades

Felix Ayoola
Felix Ayoola
3 years ago

Sophia’s command of words is mind blowing, that said, this stan issue isn’t just limited to the entertainment industry, I’ve seen it with people who stan other people for their views and tweet. “Violence clan” thrives on this, they throw facts away and begin to throw shades at each other, them we have those that believe in supporting anyone that they have something in common with such as gender, views e.t.c, without looking at the facts or sometimes supporting them even though they are in the wrong.

I don’t think this issue is an entertainment issue, it stems from identity crisis and inability to develope personal views this leads to inability to look at this objectively and lays a foundation for following the bandwagon.

Solution is to look at matters objectively, remember that the person on the other side is a human with emotions, develop your own views with thought process and be ready to accept that you may be wrong when confronted with new information, also feel free to change your views and stop following the crowd.

Nice article once again Sophia.

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