I’m sure everyone is aware of the recent discourse surrounding artists and their relationships with their fans. The rapper Doja Cat is one of the reasons why this topic is being talked about so much lately. Recently, the rapper responded harshly to fans’ comments on Twitter. In response to her fans calling themselves “Kittenz,” she cursed at them and told them to “get a job” and “help their parents with the house.”
Doja Cat’s belief is that she doesn’t owe her fans anything because she works hard and never asks them to support her. This raises the question of whether artists should be close with their fans as a means of paying them back for their support, or whether they don’t need to have a relationship with them at all.
As someone who’s been a fan of K-pop artists for many years, my take is a lot different than Doja Cat’s. I’m sure most K-pop fans already know this, but if you’re new to K-pop, Korean idol groups are very close with their fans. Groups like BTS and Tomorrow x Together continuously thank their fans for support. They form close relationships with their fans by responding to their comments on a South Korean mobile app called Weverse, hosting livestreams to talk to fans directly, and through personal video calls that fans have multiple opportunities to win.
Whereas Doja Cat says she “doesn’t know” her fans, K-pop groups market their brand on approachability — BTS describes their fans as a family and Tomorrow x Together describes their fans as their best friends.
Some might say this is a cultural difference, but even western artists like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande have close relationships with their fans. Ariana Grande follows and responds to her fans on Twitter. Taylor Swift has sent her fans Christmas presents and has invited them to her house to listen to new albums.
So is Doja Cat in the wrong for treating her fans like strangers?
It’s hard to say. Personally, I believe that artists should be respectful to fans regardless, because they’re the reason that the artist is so successful. They buy and stream the music, go to the concerts, and spread the word. Without the support of the fans, the artist wouldn’t be successful.
On the other hand, I do agree that artists work hard and don’t “owe” anything to their fans. That is to say, they don’t necessarily need to go out of their way to be best friends with their fans. But they should at least have basic human decency and treat them with respect. We’re all human at the end of the day.
I truly believe that artists who have close relationships with their fans are the best kinds of artists. As someone who is a fan of groups such as BTS and Tomorrow x Together, it’s always heartwarming to receive such kind messages and love from the people I devote my free time to supporting. When the love and respect is mutual between artists and their fans, it’s the best feeling in the world, and that’s coming from someone who experiences that feeling quite often.
Therefore, I believe Doja Cat should apologize to her fans and treat them with more respect. Without them, she wouldn’t be where she is today.