On Monday, Britney Spears posted the following:
It’s a repost from Brooklyn-based artist Mimi Zhu who shared the image last week on her Instagram. The line that everybody is freaking out about is, “We will feed each other, re-distribute wealth, strike. We will understand our own importance from the places we must stay. Communion moves beyond walls.” Re-distribute wealth. Strike. Communion. There’s a reason why people have started calling her comrade Britney.
Britney’s social media presence is amazingly unpredictable. That’s what I love about her. Our queen can drop a Gospel Truth and then go back to posting pictures of moons like nothing happened. This was posted the day after:
To many, this support of socialism seems to come out of nowhere. But there are actually signs in Britney’s previous work that clearly show that this isn’t a new phenomenon. I know what you’re thinking: “Prem, how can Britney be a communist queen when her song, ‘Work Bitch’ is so clearly in favour of capitalistic excess?” That’s a great question, and on the surface, I can see why it would be hard to understand.
Let’s look at Britney’s past. We first see the awakening of Britney’s class consciousness in 2001, with her song “I’m a Slave 4 U.” Although young at this point, Britney starts to connect with some of the ideologies we see in her later albums. It’s why she starts the song with, “I know I may be young, but I’ve got feelings too. And I need to do what I feel like doing. So, let me go, and just listen.”
There’s internal conflict for sure, as Britney tries to reconcile her views with the world around her. We see that in “Overprotected” when she says, “What am I to do with my life? How am I supposed to know what’s right? I can’t help the way I feel. But my life has been so overprotected.” Overprotected, or brainwashed by society?
By the time we get to her seminal album, In the Zone, we see a much more confident iconoclast. Everyone knows the words to “Toxic”, but have you ever watched the music video in detail? Hidden behind the seduction of various flight passengers, we see another plot where Britney plans the destruction and murder of a rich man in a suit. Remember the part where she’s flying on a motorcycle before throwing an exploding ninja star? Do you know what building she hits?
That’s right, Toxic Industries. Not yet satisfied, Britney continues her plan, seducing a man in a suit and feeding him poison, symbolic of her call for direct action against the toxic industries of the world. A true #communicon already by 2003.
Throughout other videos and songs, we see glimpses of this deeply engrained ideology. In “Womanizer”, Britney is a proletariat worker, acting as a secretary making copies, a server in a restaurant, and a chauffeur driving a limo. What happens to the businessman she’s trying to seduce? He disappears under mysterious circumstances. See a theme?
Of course, over the years Britney has slipped up or succumbed to the status quo. “Gimme More” is a symbol of the excessive greed that fuels late stage capitalism. “Work Bitch” glorifies a lifestyle that any true communist would abhor. But pay attention to the lyrics.
You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti?
You want a Maserati? You better work bitch
You want a Lamborghini? Sippin' martinis?
Look hot in a bikini? You better work bitch
You wanna live fancy? Live in a big mansion?
Party in France?
You better work bitch
These are all luxury goods. Over the years, maybe Britney has softened her stance on the equalization of society. None of the items we are purportedly working for are essential to life and so Britney feels comfortable employing capitalist ideals to attain these comforts. You know what we aren’t working for in “Work Bitch”? Healthcare. Food. Housing. Universal Basic Income.
In her latest album, there are few if any references to these ideals. Up until this week, it seemed like Britney was changing her tune. As she gets older, Britney’s perspectives and politics might change. But this week showed us that the young, fierce revolutionary still lives inside her. Long live our queen.
*****(Lainey: I wish I didn’t have to do this but… you know. We hope you read this with the intended tone: tongue-in-cheek.)