Zayn Malik; is social media a factor in his eroding image?
By Maddie Anandarajah
When Zayn Malik called it quits and left the biggest reigning boyband in modern pop culture you could hear hearts breaking all over the world
Not to mention selfie videos of fans weeping and setting up shrines in the name of the ex-1D member. It was weird. But hormone driven years tend to bring out the weirdest behaviour of all and I remember my generation’s heartbreak at the split of NSYNC and the Backstreet boys and the cringe and groan that came alongside their comeback announcement.
Zayn released an official statement post-split reasoning his leave with wanting to pursue an ordinary life and many who have followed the band were not surprised. Zayn was identified as the shy one, struggling the most with the epic whirlwind that comes along with stardom. While fans were downtrodden, most managed to get some sympathy rolling and leave him be to go for the calm, picturesque lifestyle.
That was until he was seen recording at studios and numerous rumours of solo music popping out fuelled by fellow producer Naughty boy. There were plenty of raised eyebrows and a few annoyed fans but for the most part, it did not come crashing down until Zayn did. It was on twitter where the cracks were starting to emerge. Unknowingly he put himself, his personality and his choices on blast; he has been seen to be bickering with his ex-band mates, breaking off his engagement and in turn retweeting pictures of another famously attractive celebrity (Kylee Jenner) as well as passive aggressive moves in mocking ‘Little Mix’. This was followed with some more questionable behaviour including an unprovoked diss at Taylor Swift (who recently invited ‘Little Mix to perform at her show) leading to his squabble with Taylor’s partner Calvin Harris.
For many following the news are fed up and even his previous die-hard fans find it difficult to excuse his behaviour. The question however is this; why? He is on the path of a solo career (with a newly signed record deal) and a few promising artists have expressed interest in working with him (and are rumoured to be taking steps to feature on his album) so why piss-off the entire One Direction, Swifty and Calvin Harris fandom? Picking fights with so many that are currently leading the music scene seems like a terrible move professionally and publically in terms of public and fan reaction.
Zayn’s use of Twitter was minimal during his One Direction years but since getting out he has been increasingly reliant on using the platform to diss fellow artists and his ex which neatly aligns his faults on a single website. Previously, the only way we the public would recognize celebrity feuds were when they were exposed in an interview and any other rumours were dismissed. Today’s generation heavily leans on venting through a platform that reaches millions and perhaps presents a temptation. An opportunity to mock an ex or start feuds is quite literally at your fingertips and all it takes is a bad mood where perhaps your better judgement has taken the passenger seat. Regardless, as a celebrity who is no longer 12 years old, words typed onto a keyboard came from a conscious decision and this was not a one off. To date, no apology has been made and chances are, we won’t be getting one any time soon. Twitter made it easier, certainly, but the conscious decision was made by the individual.
Perhaps this is a huge publicity stunt, the aim is to stir attention whether controversial or wholesome; any attention is good attention. Are his antics going to positively or negatively affect his sales? Are you more or less inclined now? Personally, I have found that Zayn has always had the most promising vocals and a very classic R&B sound, the genre he was always more invested in but his actions suggest an immature and slightly bitchy self. I am still looking forward to his songs but the person behind the music is off-putting to say the least.
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