No, You Haven’t Always Been a Huge Fan of a Recently Deceased Artist!
It's time to call out some fake people.
The sad news today is that Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76. Her contributions to the music industry are legendary and she will be sorely missed. However, that doesn't mean you've always been a super-fan of her.
If you scroll through Facebook or Twitter, you'll see tons of friends posting or tweeting declarations like "I've always been a huge fan" or acknowledging that, yeah, even though I've never heard you play a single Aretha song, you've been a super-fan all these years.
Just stop. You can appreciate someones contribution to music as a whole without making it about how you've always been a fan. This happens every time a famous singer passes away. David Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, etc; everyone decided that immediately after their passing they were fans all along in order to seem cultured and make the death personal.
Granted, yes, there are millions of people who are deeply affected by Franklin's passing today, but is your friend from high school who just went to Slayer really as big of a fan as he suddenly says he is? Probably not. Also, most of the people posting how sad they are literally only know the song "Respect."
This type of mindset of not appreciating someone until they are gone is disingenuous to the artist. You are allowed to appreciate and support them while they are alive. Buy their music while they are alive so they can enjoy the benefits of it. Only appreciating someone after they've passed only acts as a way to serve your own need to be included in a conversation. Appreciate people while they are here so they can feel the appreciation.
I'm also not trying to deter anyone from discovering the wonderful discography of music the artists leave behind. If you became a Prince, David Bowie, or after today, an Aretha Franklin fan, that's awesome! But actually become a fan before you post 15 crying emojis in a row.