Justin Bieber may not have gone about things the "right" way when he announced that he would no longer be taking pictures with fans (in the sense that his announcement was sudden, phrased awkwardly, and came on the heels of other moments where he had been less than kind to his Beliebers). But that doesn't mean he was wrong: Fame is a beast of a different kind. And sometimes the people who adore you, support you unconditionally, and keep you afloat financially can become a crushing weight, an overwhelming feeling that becomes truly dangerous and frightening. So when Selena Gomez announced that she may have to stop meeting fans after concerts, maybe it's a sign that it's time to look more in-depth into this type of rabid fandom.
Gomez, who is currently on tour in Canada, shared a picture on Instagram on Tuesday night, a photo that depicted her meeting a swarm of fans behind a barricade after one of her concerts. In the caption, she wrote:
"ALSO: meeting you guys after my shows has been such a highlight.. but because your safety is priority and most important if we can't keep them contained I'll have to stop. I'll do it for as long as I can, but you matter most. Love you guys. Can't wait to see you Saskatoon."
I'd like to first point out that someone like Selena Gomez goes above and beyond for even meeting fans after her shows. While it's common for smaller acts to take pictures with fans and sign autographs by their tour bus after concerts, for an artist as big as she is, this is pretty much a rare feat — largely in part because the volume of the crowd waiting by the bus is just out of this world. So while the news story here is that Gomez may no longer be able to accommodate meeting fans after shows, keep in mind that the fact that she does it at all is already something to appreciate.
Secondly, it seems like the cause for concern here is both the crowd itself and the safety of the crowd. Whereas Bieber's reasons for no longer taking pictures with fans were because people made him feel like a "zoo animal" and too many people felt entitled to their selfie (valid reasons, TBH), Gomez's remarks were instead about crowd control and how it can become too dangerous if the group isn't contained.
In all seriousness, that's some scary-ass sh*t. It doesn't matter if the crowd loves the celeb or hates celeb, but thousands of people all crushing each other (and possibly even the star herself) in order to get a photo opportunity with their beloved is intimidating AF. Not to mention that it's dangerous for everyone there: People could easily get trampled, crushed, bruised from being knocked against the barricade, or a whole barrage of other ways to be injured when an enormous group of people is in a frantic frenzy like that. It's too much, and it's a perfect example of how fame can be a double-edged sword. Here are all of your adoring fans — here they are to mob you.
And speaking from that fan perspective, I understand the screeching excitement and absolute surreal feeling of finally seeing your idol in person and meeting them IRL. It's a moment of elation like nothing else, and sometimes you gotta worm your way in there in order for you to be the one to get the selfie or get your poster autographed. It can be tough, that feeling of "it's now or never," and you want that experience of meeting your idol just like everyone else does.
That being said, there has to be limits. While it may be next to impossible to calm down a crowd of thousands of screaming, desperate fans, maybe it's something that the fans just have to organize amongst themselves. A united sense of, "Hey guys, we're gonna make a pact to be as chill as we possibly can so this is a positive experience for everyone involved and everyone leaves this interaction getting what they want."
It looks like that's what Gomez is already implying with her Insta — a gentle warning that if things don't calm down, she won't able to come out after shows — and it seems to be the only way that fans will listen. So while the price of fame may be difficult for Gomez, I give her major props for still giving back to her fans the way that she does. It's now up to the fan base to take from that what they will, and hopefully give more calm and relaxed interactions moving forward — as much as they can, anyway.