Back in the day, 2016 to be exact, I had several, several, several, Instagrams. I feel like many people did, and as such I found myself encountering all kinds of people and content. I want to talk about how the shit I saw on that account was ultimately very formative and not in the good way. If anyone remembers me from there, I believe my name was venomotion for the longest time before I lost access to that Instagram account. It is under a different name now, vampurge. I was always a “v” guy, I guess. Anyhow, let me elaborate on what I mean exactly.
So, spam Instagram was a completely different place. There was the definite beginning of the starvation for online drama. This hunger was always satisfied it sees by some sort of drama or large-scale scandal. The spam pages that populated spam Instagram those days were very malicious and often took advantage of other people for the sake of content and entertainment. Think of it as a precursor to Mr., Beast ran by angry teenage girls and gay boys.
Some prominent names in the scene would be trillblackgirl, jordansnut, lovelypeaches, janaepostedthat, and notably nateclips. I want to first touch on nateclips because he I feel was a large influence over this community of sorts, and I’d like to reflect on some of the shit that went on under his supervision.
So nateclips, as I said before, was a prominent figure on 2016 spam Instagrams. He posted all sorts of memes and things of that sort but was ultimately a troll to his core. This was evident in the many raids or “Takeovers” he did over the course of his internet celebrity. These were events he would hold where him and a large group of his followers, presumably other smaller spam accounts, would unite and al change their profile pictures to a single picture and join a random niche celebrity’s Instagram live for the sake of causing some sort of confusion, ruckus, or otherwise embarrassment for the target.
These raids often were pulled on low tier actors and internet personalities. Some others that come to mind were Skai Jackson, Ms. Juicy, as well as random other lives being held by random Instagram users. They would often unite under a certain phrase or lie like calling Ms. Juicy gay or something along those lines, causing the person to think that there’s some big rumor going on about them. It was ultimately to make the person confused and in most cases was harmless. Many of the people wouldn’t be responsive to these people and they would go to the next live after having gotten bored.
Some other variations of the Takeover were deciding to change everyone to some sort of scary picture and make them say things like “look outside your window” and things to that effect. It really was the prank phone call of 2016 and I think that with a few exceptions that turned malicious that these were funny. I do think though that these takeovers were a clear path forward into what became a big problem.
Lovelypeaches, for all who don’t know, was an online personality in the 2016 Instagram realm and I among many others were enthralled by her and her antics. So basically, her whole thing was that she was “crazy” and di all sorts of crazy things and claimed to do all sorts of things to her baby on Instagram for the sake of clout and attention. This included her being a prostitute and posting the various men she would be having sex with on her Instagram as well as making claims that she also would let those same men do things to her daughter, Cora Miracle.
This girl, who was named Brittany Johnson and from Baton Rouge, Florida, became a sensation over her behavior. The psychiatric zoo I refer too is in reference to this girl being unwell and doing all these things for online attention and ultimately the internet was giving her the validation and attention he carved. This led to her further and further pushing herself and her daughter for views. The list of things she did for her fans are as follows: self-harm, animal abuse, eating literal human feces, biting men’s genitalia on live, masturbating on live, flashing her genitalia on Instagram live to minors, and plotting verbally to “pimp out” her infant daughter to men as a form of punishment. This all went on with little to nothing being done to help either Brittany or her daughter, many joking in her lives about how CPS needs to be called but ultimately Cora Miracle deserved this treatment. This created a cycle of abuse fueled by people enabling and encouraging her on her lives.
Her videos circulated widely throughout the community with the help of many of the top influencers and producers of content within the community> I know personally that her videos were almost every other post on a spam Instagram timeline for some time. She fell off after people had grown tired of her, but only after she had ruined any sort of chances for her to have a decent public image online. The internet took her for all she was worth and then threw her out as soon as she had come in. It’s sad really, and now she makes music and I hope she gets the help she needs, especially her baby. The stan Instagram community also took advantage of another young person and spawned a new sort of online entertainment and drama.
Lil’ Tay was a little girl on the internet that was circulating online within the same realm of Bhad Baby and Whoa Vicky. She intended to be a sort of online personality as well as a rapper of some sort. She actually almost got into a fight with Bhad Baby in defense of Whoa Vicky, and was made fun of to no end on stan twitter.
Now don’t get me wrong, her parents should not have had her presenting the image of herself that she was, and there were even statements that claimed her mother had created this persona for her without the consent of her father and had done so for publicity and clout. She disappeared for a l9ng time because of this as she was rumored to have been grounded because of the things she had been saying and doing online. This was all found out by people online as many had tried to reach out to her family and find out where she lived. This was for a variety of reasons, nosiness, the want to scare a little girl, and those who were mad at her for the way she presented herself online. Very few were out of actual concern for this small girl on the internet. This was the sort of beginning of the whole doxing thing, at least for me. I know it was around earlier, but this is around when people started to link doxing to “The barbz” and it was suddenly a big thing that you shouldn’t mess with Nicki Minaj unless you want your I.P. Number leaked and mailbox set on fire (I love her, I swear). It was kind of sad to watch this sort of thing happen, and I think it opened pandora’s box as to what can be done in the future to celebrities that Stan Instagram deemed annoying.
This whole bubble of Instagram drama was ultimately small and inconsequential but was indicative of the fact that the community was fully ready to make a laughingstock of pretty much anyone regardless of age, actions, or outside circumstances. What was also just as surprising when we take a step back and look at the 3 girls in that video I have below, as well as the other two videos prior to that was that the community was built off the backs of black Americans and we began to see the adoption of AAVE onto the internet as “internet slang”.
Many of the smaller accounts that made up the whole of stan Instagram were run by gay white kids, specifically a lot of boys and while the larger influencers were POC, their influence trickled down into the vernacular of their audience. We saw that a lot of these accounts began to use AAVE to “Fit in” and we also saw this with the celebrities that were being promoted at the time. Even Ariana Grande was found talking with a blaccent around this time, and her skin tone had drastically darkened mysteriously. This was followed by her drastically changing again to her natural skin tone and changing to talk in a more quiet and timid way.
Bhad Baby, Whoa Vicky, and Lil’ Tay could also all be seen speaking with blaccents and a characteristically black vernacular that have been pointed out by many people throughout the years, even those within the stan community, Today, we see that this kind of thing is called out almost immediately but it ran rampant then and it led us to where we are today where a lot of the “slang” we see now is really AAVE being used by the whole because of one or two viral videos. This was started on 2016 stan Instagram (e.g., wig, yasss) and carries on well until 2022 (e.g., it’s giving, she ate, mother). We see that this sort of language is seen not as AAVE, but as internet slang or even in the case of white gays, “Gay slang”. This causes a bit of discourse between the two communities as we see a lot of voguing and ballroom language seeping into the larger queer culture when the root is the intersection of queer, black spaces. The “slang” is then spread far and wide and stretched beyond its original dimensions and begins to be used incorrectly and is ultimately mishandled to the point of redundancy and past the point of recognition. This is what I attribute to this era of the internet as it began the almost commodification of AAVE and put it into the minds of young gay people that taking form black culture and calling it your own was the thing to do to be hip.
Stan Instagram and Twitter are alive today if you are loose with your definition of alive. There were even nateclips zoom takeovers throughout 2020, but we do not see people like lovelypeaches gaining traction anymore as tastes have changed, or at least people act as though they have. I think many still torment “weird Steven Universe gay kids” as a euphemism for bullying neurodivergent people on TikTok, and so it really is one step forward two steps back. I think that these different factors contributed to the internet culture of commodifying AAVE, taking advantage of people whoa re desperate for attention, and the constant fear of information leaks. I hope things can improve in the future and I kind of hope that these sorts of communities die. TikTok is the perfect breeding grounds for such behavior to continue so I do not have much faith. Until then I will try and keep myself on this side of the internet for a while.