Though Britney Spears isn’t widely known as “Queen B,” her claim to the throne is every bit as strong as Beyonce’s.
There’s no dispute that she reigned over teen pop at the onset of the new millennium. The matching denim-on-denim outfits she wore with Justin Timberlake at the 2001 American Music Awards ushered in a new type of royalty for the MTV generation.
And her name does start with the letter “B.”
Spears’ sovereignty – which started around the same time Destiny’s Child released their debut – is a distant memory to the “Beyhive,” who buzzed into an angry swarm when Britney claimed the royal title in late June.
It all started with an innocent Instagram post of a bumblebee . In the caption, Britney Spears mentioned that fans call her Queen B. And they do!
She doesn’t make the rules, but Beyonce fans blasted her mercilessly. Vulture even opined that Spears had forgotten that Mrs. Carter exists .
It took a couple of weeks, but Spears eventually followed the criticism with a video of herself dancing alone in the middle of her cavernous living room to Beyonce’s “Haunted.”
When she could’ve caustically clapped back, she opted to instead spread her own infectious sense of self-fulfillment.
“I wanted to listen to Beyoncé… ‘Haunted’ is such a beautiful song and I have never danced to it before,” she wrote in the caption. “I never said I was the best dancer… I dance simply because it fills my heart with joy and expression.”
This type of vaguely aloof, joyously oblivious post has become her personal Instagram brand.
It’s not unusual to find her posting random images she found on the internet with no context, twirling through popular TikTok trends while ignoring the dance moves that made them go viral, or posing with mascara artfully smeared across her face – making everyone wonder when she last went outside.
She even released her first new single in four years while the entire live entertainment industry is indefinitely shut down.
This kind of subtle chaos is deeply relatable in the age of lockdown.
Britney Spears’ Instagram is all of us right now, blissfully rallying for a simpler time – dare I say a better time – and ignoring the inertia that’s sucking us into a soul-crushing news cycle.
When Spears burst into the Top 40 charts with her debut album, “…Baby One More Time,” the biggest threat to humanity was Y2K.
If the Millennium bug was going to usher in the apocalypse, it was going to take us down in red, spandex catsuits.
That doesn’t mean we weren’t afraid. As a pre-teen in 1999, I remember nervously watching the countdown on TV from my great uncle’s basement.
I sat there terrified – in silver polyester and butterfly clips – waiting for the world to end as my cousins danced around me.
The world never did end, but the party did.
Back then, there was no global pandemic sickening millions and isolating entire generations from their loved ones.
Years later, long after Spears shaved her head and attacked a paparazzi, the singer resolved she would “dance until the world ends” – just as I refused to do in 1999.
She meant it. And even though the world feels closer to ending than it ever has, she’s held up her end of the bargain. We should all follow her example, if only momentarily.
In a year filled with unyielding darkness, it often feels impossible to find the tiny bits of joy that still exist. Like Spears, we must never stop searching. Her Instagram account is a permanent reminder.