Being a Black Woman at Boyband Shows: Navigating Alienation and Belonging

As a Black woman who loves boybands, attending shows like Big Time RushNew Kids on the Block, and O-Town has been a bittersweet experience. While I am grateful to have the opportunity to see some of my favorite artists perform, being one of the few Black women among a sea of white fans can feel incredibly alienating. Despite this, I always try to maintain a positive attitude and not let my discomfort show.

It wasn’t until I attended the New Edition concert in April 2023 that I truly understood what I had been missing. Surrounded by mostly Black fans, I felt a sense of belonging that I had never experienced before at a boyband show. It was a special and emotional experience that I will never forget.

That being said, I don’t want to discount the positive experiences I have had at shows like O-Town. The guys in the band have been incredibly kind and welcoming to me since I started attending their shows more frequently in August 2022. I have enjoyed getting to know them and appreciate the effort they put into connecting with their fans.

Unfortunately, the presence of white fans can sometimes make the experience of going to these shows harder. It can be difficult to feel like I belong in a space where I am so visibly different from everyone else. I have felt excluded from conversations and interactions with other fans. I have had people ignore me or give me strange looks when I try to join in on conversations. It can be difficult to make friends at these concerts when it feels like people don’t want to talk to me or include me in their group. Despite these challenges, I try to maintain a positive attitude and not let these microaggressions get to me. I remind myself that I am there to enjoy the music and support the artists I love.

In the end, my experiences as a Black woman at boyband shows have been a mix of highs and lows. While I am grateful for the opportunity to see some of my favorite artists perform, I am also acutely aware of the ways in which my race can make me feel like an outsider. But I remain hopeful that as the music industry continues to evolve, we will see more diversity and inclusivity in the fanbase, and that everyone will be able to enjoy these shows without feeling like they don’t belong.