BROCKHAMPTON is Pioneering a Shift in Internet Behavior
BROCKHAMPTON is changing the way young people use the internet.
The rap-group/boyband/collective, met online, and use the digital realm as a forum for honest self-expression and connection. This type of behavior is difficult in today’s hyper-social era where users curate their online personas to maintain omni-positive perceptions.
But that kind of utopian life is unattainable, and BROCKHAMPTON wants to show people that that’s okay.
“Accepted. It’s OK to be insecure,” rapper Ameer Vann said in an interview with DAZED when asked what he wants people to feel when they listen to BROCKHAMPTON. “It’s OK to have vulnerabilities and to learn from your mistakes, and just keep growing.”
BROCKHAMPTON’s core members met on Kanye2The, the Reddit page for Kanye West fans. Since then, they’ve used their online community to find solace in their struggles. Kevin Abstract, the group’s brainchild, openly expresses his sexuality on tracks and videos. Rapper, Dom Mclennon, wrote an open letter about his struggles with self-harm, and shared it online along with a link to an anonymous chat room for self-harm victims.
Burdened by insecurity, they turned to the web to find people to connect with. There, they formed a community that facilitates each other’s passions and supports their vulnerabilities. This manifests into music that drips with blunt self-expression and honesty.
This display is important because the internet is often a place where differences are exacerbated more than they’re accepted. With so many lives to measure up with and compare to, we’re pressured to adopt curated personas when our individuality fails to fit in. Self has been annihilated by like-fueled empowerment.
With their success using the internet as a platform for vulnerability, BROCKHAMPTON has shifted youth culture. They’ve become a living example that having an online presence shouldn’t automatically compromise the authenticity of your expression there.
The impact BROCKHAMPTON is having on fans was evident at their sold-out “Jennifer’s Tour” show in Austin this month. Hundreds of fans, all young, and of every creed and color, lined up hours before the show to celebrate their individuality with those who are helping them find it, their favorite American boy-band.
“Anyone with a computer can be huge,” a 15-year-old fan named Mason (pictured above) said to me. “If they can do it, you can fucking do it.”
A few moments later I spoke with a group of friends who met on their University of Texas class page after one asked who was going to the show that night. Amongst them was Yesmine, who said,“it’s a good reminder to always express yourself, even if at first people are unsure how to react, you still have to stand tall and keep pushing.”
These fans were just a small microcosm of the movement BROCKHAMPTON has sparked. It’s one made up of those who now see the internet as a tool for self-exploration and a platform to connect with others who share their interests.
Like BROCKHAMPTON, these people are teaming together after meeting online. The 17-year-old musician, Jelani Aryeh, started his art collective, “Raised By The Internet,” after linking with 20 other creatives on BROCKHAMPTON’s Reddit fan forum. Aryeh’s solo debut EP, “Suburban Destinesia,” explores many themes that BROCKHAMPTON’s projects do, namely the struggle of overcoming self-doubt and social alienation.
Nearly everyday a new thread on BROCKHAMPTON’s Reddit is made by a passionate individual seeking like-minded people to create new things with.
For fun, I decided to respond to one of the thread’s a few months back asking BROCKHAMPTON fan’s where they live. After saying Austin, I received this amusing response:
While this answer was probably a joke, it speaks to the evolved perception many BROCKHAMPTON fans now have for the internet. It can be a place that facilitates passions through connections amongst those whose only resource is their internet access.
Tomorrow, if I wanted to, I could discuss plans to form a band with someone I met online as we both munch on Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits at Whataburger. What a world.
In the words of the great Merlyn Wood, “I NEED A HONEY BUTTA!”