Vibe-twitter-stans-airy-alexander_0

Crazy, Stupid, Love: When Twitter Stans Attack

For Twitter’s most zealous celeb disciples, pledging allegiance to the stars means exclusive access, recognition and a ride-or-die social network. But when does Standom cross the line from adoration to obsession, from defending to bullying? VIBE infiltrates the mad, mad world of cyber worship

BY TRACY GARRAUD (@itstracyg) | PHOTOGRAPHS BY REBECCA GREENFIELD

AT FIRST GLANCE, the living room inside Airy Alexander’s Chester, Pa., home looks ordinary. A 50-inch TV hugs one corner, while a black, leather couch snakes along the back wall. The room’s centerpiece, hung between two childhood portraits of Airy and her older brother, Avontaé, is a massive oil painting of their grandmother from 1944. Beneath protrudes a brick mantel adorned with Airy’s high school diploma, graduation cap, prom photo, home decor trinkets and one more thing: an 8x10 bronze-framed headshot of Rihanna, cherry-headed, grinning and suited in all white at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards. The Alexanders have no blood relation to the pop star whose face has been sitting next to a wooden “MOM” carving since this past January, yet Airy shrugs when asked about Robyn Fenty’s peculiar presence amid intimate snapshots.

“Rih is family,” she says, before slipping into distraction with her adopted kinsman’s “You Da One” video. Watching her only daughter watch Rihanna, Airy’s mother, Nimat, a 34-year-old University of Pennsylvania housekeeper, shows fatigue. “I need her to take responsibility as far as becoming an adult,” she says. “But as long as it keeps Airy out of trouble and her grades are all right, I really don’t mind. She’s not a problem child.”

But she does have some cultish habits. “Airy stays on her computer. She’s never even down here,” says mom. “Wait till you go upstairs.” Upstairs hosts the headquarters for much of Airy’s online and offline extremism. It’s where the unemployed 18-year-old spends up to 16 hours a day (per mom’s estimates) as @badgalfenty, tweeting Rihanna-related news, photos and commentary to her 3,000 followers. Like any teenager’s bedroom, the walls are collaged with her demigod’s mug—it looks like Google barfed an image-search for all Rihanna everything—but the fandom goes further. After discovering Gak green was Rih’s favorite hue, Airy ditched her purple walls and had mom re-paint.

Then there’s her computer, a standard HP desktop, where Airy splits her soldiering between Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr (rihannataughtme.tumblr.com) and Instagram. A folder titled “Robyn Rihanna” holds 16,411 photos of her shero—she’s re-created (a mere) 18 of Rih’s hairstyles—and a quick click into her Twitter page shows a profile formatted like a résumé: “@rihanna followed her favorite bitch 10/24/11 & tweeted me 1/24/12 & 4/16/12 and followed me on Instagram 7/16/12.”

She’s rumbled in numerous Twitter beefs on behalf of her Bajan leader, and this over-dedication has granted her mild Internet fame from peers who’ve dubbed her Rihanna’s twin. In the real and avatar world, Rih Rih’s her queen.

Such staunch celeb loyalty may sound abnormal, but for many it’s a lifestyle. Airy is part of an international collective who consider themselves members of the Rihanna Navy, a group of Stans (the term “Stan” originates from Eminem’s cautionary tale about a hyper-devoted fan) who ride or die for the pop star. In 2012, more than 850,000 tweets featuring the keywords “Rihanna Navy” and/or “Team Rihanna” were sent, according to Twitter Communications. But Rih’s force of e-cohorts, who bear Twitter handles like @MolestMeRihanna, @rihannatastic, @RihsKillerDoll and @fentynavysalute, aren’t the only ones drenching their favorites with PDA. Lady Gaga, who owns the most followed account on Twitter (more than 30,000,000), calls her fans Monsters; Justin Bieber’s got Beliebers, and there’s also Chris Brown’s Team Breezy, Beyoncé’s Bey Hive and Nicki Minaj’s Barbz.

Even artists still short of a debut release are requested to title their troops. “I never wanted to name [my fans] because I thought it was kind of dehumanizing,” says rap newcomer Iggy Azalea, who holds secret video chats with six lucky Azaleans every week. “But I didn’t really understand fan culture at that time. They kept saying, ‘If we don’t have a name, then what is it we belong to? We need something to identify ourselves with each other.’ It’s weird.”

CLICK FOR PAGE 2

From the Web

More on Vibe

Kevin Winter

Murderer Of Morgan Freeman's Granddaughter Sentenced To 20 Years

Morgan Freeman's step-granddaughter, E'Dena Hines is finally getting justice. Lamar Davenport, the man who killed Hines in 2015, has reportedly been sentenced to 20 years in prison, the Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. confirms.

Davenport's sentencing was mandated on Thursday (Jan. 17). He was convicted of manslaughter in May 2018. As previously reported, Davenport – who was dating Hines at the time – reportedly killed her in Aug. 2015 outside of their New York City apartment. Witnesses claimed that he repeatedly stabbed her as yelled out comments about religion.  E'Dena was 33.

Davenport was acquitted of second-degree murder after his lawyer argued that he was high on PCP at the time of the murder. A judge ultimately found him guilty of first-degree manslaughter however.

After he's released from prison, Davenport will reportedly be placed under post-release supervision for five years.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Tyga Claps Back At Soulja Boy, Compares 2018 Streaming Stats

Tyga is clapping back at Soulja Boy after he claimed that he had a bigger comeback than the Young Money artist in 2018. Tyga dropped some receipts on Twitter on Thursday (Jan. 17), proving that his bounce-back was far more superior than Soulja's.

"Who had the biggest comeback?!" Tyga tweeted, referencing Soulja Boy's previous comments. The caption was attached to a side-by-side comparison of Tyga and Soulja's streaming numbers from 2018. The receipts showed that Tyga earned 884 million streams from 58 million fans, while Soulja had only 98 million streams from 16 million streams.

Who had the biggest comeback?! 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/bWS2mMZ5B4

— T-Raww (@Tyga) January 17, 2019

Despite the clear evidence, Soulja Boy insisted that he was still the "comeback king" of last year due to his other business ventures. "I HAD THE BIGGEST COMEBACK OF 2018," he wrote. "I RELEASED MY OWN VIDEO GAME CONSOLE IM THE FIRST RAPPER IN HISTORY TO DO SO!"

As previously reported, Soulja first made the declaration during his interview on The Breakfast Club on Jan. 16. Meek Mill, Tory Lanez, and Lil Yachty previously defended Tyga against Soulja's remarks. Additionally, Soulja took shots at Drake, Kanye West, and the Migos for influencing their musical style.

Check out Tyga's tweets here.

I HAD THE BIGGEST COMEBACK OF 2018!

— Soulja Boy (Young Drako) 💲🔌🔫 (@souljaboy) January 17, 2019

I RELEASED MY OWN VIDEO GAME CONSOLE IM THE FIRST RAPPER IN HISTORY TO DO SO!

— Soulja Boy (Young Drako) 💲🔌🔫 (@souljaboy) January 17, 2019

Continue Reading
Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

DAWN Relishes In Self-love On New Song "Sauce"

DAWN is back with a sexy single off her forthcoming project, New Breed. "Sauce" is a sonic ode to pleasing all her hedonistic sexual desires after a long work week. Lyrically, the song is filled with suggestive lines and clever double-entendres that are far from coy when describing what she wants in the sack.

Just as much as “Sauce” is about sex, it’s also about basking in self-pleasure that comes after genuine self-love. In a statement published by Stereogum, the former Danity Kane member described the message behind the song:

“‘Sauce" is about women taking pride in their prowess, and about being raised to celebrate my skin,” DAWN said. “I lost focus of that when so many men degraded and disrespected my brown skin. ‘Sauce’ is about being bathed in your own beauty, being sexy for you. The new breed of women are unapologetic about sex and the way they choosing to express themselves.”

DAWN recently joined Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex of Danity Kane for the DK3 reunion tour across the U.S. In an interview with Billboard, the Louisiana native revealed she wants to give fans more of her authentic self on New Breed.

“This album is my relationship with New Orleans, me as a woman, and how being from New Orleans has created a person in me that acts and sees things a certain way. "'Jealousy'" is a prime example of that,” she said. “I just want to give you the girl from the 9th Ward that you guys only met once on [MTV's] Making The Band.”

Listen to "Sauce" below. New Breed drops on Jan, 25.

Continue Reading

Top Stories