7 Artists With The Wildest Fan Bases
It can get concerning.
October 11, 2021 at 8:33 pm
Whether an artist is up-and-coming or a solidified icon, social media has created a space for people to gain prominent followings, some of which have become stan culture’s biggest fandoms. There are a plethora of celebrities with wild fan bases, but some stans are a bit more, erm, devoted than others.
Here are some of the most diehard fans.
1. Beyoncé's BeyHive
The most popular fan base of all time is unarguably Beyoncé’s loyal camp known as the BeyHive (saying this so they don’t come for me). The BeyHive is fiercely protective over the 28-time Grammy-winning superstar and, without hesitation, will “swarm” anyone who tries to cross Queen B. No, seriously. care just a couple of folks who've had the BeyHive's stingers pointed in their direction.
The BeyHive grew to become the household name it is after the BeyHive site was launched in 2012, a time when the name for Beyoncé's fans was not very well-known.
“Immediately her fan base began circling and talking,” a website designer told The Ringer. “I brought her [Beyoncé] the name BeyHive and she was like, ‘That’s hilarious, let’s use that,’” he said.
The name skyrocketed and permeated into the public consciousness. On her 37th birthday, Beyoncé took the time to thank the BeyHive for their unyielding love and support over the years.
“This year has been monumental for me. I thank God for everyone in my life. Thank you for all the positivity and for the beautiful birthday wishes,” she wrote on her Instagram. “I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from my past, living in the present, and surrendering to the future. I love you, Hive.”
On her website, fans can even join the BeyHive to get advanced access to events, news, exclusive merchandise and more.
2. Nicki Minaj's Barbz
Another superstar fan group are Nicki Minaj’s supporters, affectionately known as Barbz. In a 2010 interview with Sway Calloway, the “Barbie Tingz” rapper explained the origins of her fan base and its “unique” name.
“I was calling myself the Harajuku Barbie because a lot of girls on MySpace at that time — this was when MySpace was really big — were calling themselves something Barbie and I wanted mine to be really unique and different," she said, according to MTV.
"So I said 'Harajuku Barbie,' and that's when I said 'It's Barbie b***h' to say goodbye,'' Minaj continued. “Then all of the kids on Twitter just started saying it and then I started saying it. I would call them on Ustream and that's how I'd say bye. It just took on a life of its own."
Over the years, Minaj’s fans have demonstrated their loyalty amid a series of controversies.
“It’s like a lion with their cubs,” a fan told Rolling Stone. “A female lion with her cubs, you don’t mess with the babies, and Nicki is our baby.”
Most recently, Barbz stood by the 39-year-old after she tweeted her highly refuted stance on why she won't receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
When will people learn NICKI MINAJ is NOT going to be backed into any damn corner? Y’all are not going to freely tarnish her name & gallop away unchecked with your twisted agendas/forced narratives. She is taking hold of ALL the POWER & INFLUENCE she holds. PROUD OF YOU NICKI.
— BRiT • #BOYZ OUT NOW — Buy Stream Shazam (@ChamorritaMaraj) September 15, 2021
The Barbz also gained a reputation for being unkind to Cardi B amid her feud with Minaj.
3. Rihanna's Navy
After Rihanna’s single “G4L” became a hit alongside her 2009 album, Rated-R, the singer’s fans were recruited as the Navy.
“We’re an army/ Better yet, a navy/ Better yet, crazy, guns in the air,” she sang.
Just like Rihanna, the 33-year-old’s supporters are fierce and, at times, a bit savage.
She joked in a 2019 interview with Vogue that she’s scared of her fans, who constantly pester her about releasing new material. When asked about a release date for her highly anticipated project, R9, which would be her ninth studio album, the Barbados native recoiled at the thought of even speaking about it.
“No, oh my God, they’re gonna kill you for that!” she told Vogue. “And they’re going to kill me more! I’m talking the Navy — my scary fans,” Rihanna clarified. “But they’ve earned it. They got me here.”
To add to the aesthetic, Rihanna appeared in the 2012 film, Battleship, which only solidified the fanbase name even more.
“I personally really like it [Navy],” seasoned Navy Cadet Alexander Summerfield said, according to MEL magazine. “It fits with Rihanna’s strong and empowering persona.”
4. Cardi B's Bardi Gang
Cardi B, whose nickname growing up was Bacardi, decided to dub her fans as the Bardi Gang.
“Since I got a nice fan base I got a name for y'all finally BARDIGANG,” she tweeted in 2017.
Since I got a nice fan base I got a name for y'all finally BARDIGANG
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) June 18, 2017
There's even a Twitter account called @BardiGangUpdate which has accumulated over 23,000 followers and shares photos, videos and other updates to keep fans in the loop.
In true fan fashion, the BardiGang and the Barbz were engulfed in a feud after Cardi B shared that she's gotten a lot of hate from Minaj's fans, which she then claimed was actually underlying adoration.
“I’m sick and tired of f**king lying about it,” Cardi said on a 2018 Instagram Live. “About certain s**t. They seem like my biggest f**king fans. Always on my f**king page. Always doing the most. Always on my nuts. Seem like you my fan!”
5. Megan Thee Stallion's Hotties
Megan Thee Stallion’s followers are affectionately known as “Hotties” which makes sense, considering she’s one of the hottest rappers in the game.
The Houston native refers to herself as “H-town Hottie” and/or “Hot Girl Meg,” which set the stage for the Hottie fandom.
But unlike other fanbases, the Hotties are most known for spreading positivity and for being less aggressive in their approach to supporting the 26-year-old.
“We don’t pick fights with people or other fandoms, but we’ll stick up for Meg if anyone tries coming for her,” a fan said, according to Complex. “Megan would probably tell us to chill if we were going too hard on someone.”
Megan even began an exercise training program titled “Hottie BootCamp” to encourage her fans to join her in pursuing a more balanced lifestyle.
“Real Hotties put other Hotties on. You’re supposed to spray positivity, even to yourself,” she said in an interview with Nike for her collaboration with the brand. “Wake up, look in the mirror: I am bad. I am a bad B. I am a Hot Girl. I, too, am a Hot Girl Coach.”
In other words, keeping up with the hotties consists of pledging to that real hot girl s**t.
6. Mariah Carey's Lambs
Now, the other fan names make much more sense, but there’s a good explanation as to why Mariah Carey’s fans are called Lambs, a term that dates back to the early '90s.
"[As opposed to] the transient fans that come and go, that are really only invested in Mariah's records, her Lambs are invested in the total being of Mariah Carey," Carey’s publicist, Marvet Britto said to The Atlantic. "She's a Christian, and it's basically a Lamb of God, and it's symbolic of the strength that she puts in her fans. Lambs of God are supposed to be those individuals who carry forth the work of God. And so for her, those Lambs are her biggest evangelists."
Sometimes, the fan base is even referred to as the Lambily, which is an amalgamation of “Lamb” and “family.”
In late 2018, the Lambs banned together for the Justice for Glitter campaign in an effort to revitalize Carey’s 2001 album of the same title that was a commercial flop according to NPR. The group aspired to get Glitter to hit the No. 1 spot on iTunes and after a mass movement, were successful in doing so.
7. Michael Jackson's Moonwalkers
From fainting at his concerts to crying hysterically at the sight of the now deceased artist, the King of Pop’s fans are truly one of a kind.
"My fans truly are a part of me, we share something that most people will never experience,” Jackson said, according to Beat, adding that he considers his fans to be a part of his family.
Even when Jackson was facing child molestation charges in 2005, and was ultimately acquitted, his fans were more devoted than ever.
"This is a very widespread phenomenon where fans take a celebrity into their hearts, whether it be a pop star, a movie star or a TV star, and that celebrity becomes almost bulletproof to the fan," Paul Levinson, professor and chair of communication and media studies at Fordham University in New York said, ABC News reports. "They bring the celebrity into their hearts and soul. It's almost like they've become part of their family."
A large number of Jackson's fans felt that he was wrongly accused and believed the media was tarnishing his reputation.
"When some government agency accuses a celebrity of doing something, it's hard for that celebrity's fans to believe that it's true and they believe he's being persecuted," Levinson continued. "Maybe the fan will believe it [the accusations] once the facts come out and the celebrity is proven guilty, but it takes an enormous amount to do that."
The "Beat It" singer had an inexplicable hold on his fans, who continued to advocate for his posthumous innocence following the release of the Leaving Neverland documentary in 2019, where two alleged victims accused Jackson of molesting them as children.
"While others suggest that we 'mute Michael Jackson', I'm instead compelled to turn MJ up," one fan, who is a survivor of sexual abuse, said, according to BBC. "I'm going to play his music every chance I get, as loud as my speakers will handle. I'll continue to fight for what I believe is true. It is the least I can do for a man who means so much to me."