Britney Spears documentary welcomed by fans and celebrities
Solène Bonnet, with AFP – Madame Figaro
“Framing Britney Spears” is the documentary produced by the New York Times and broadcasted on the American channel FX and the Hulu platform on the 5th of February. This documentary looks back on putting the popstar Britney Spears and her young years under legal guardianship. Here’s everything you need to know.
From America's sweetheart to a fallen icon with her fortune placed under her father's guardianship, Britney Spears’s tragic journey continues to make headlines. The court ruling that led to the pop star’s conservatorship is now "older" than the singer’s age when she was first seen by the public, at 12. Now that she’s 39 years old, Britney Spears lives under the strict terms of this agreement validated in 2008 by a court in California at the time of her highly publicized downfall.
This trusteeship regime specifies that decisions concerning the artist had long been made by her father, Jamie, before Jodi Montgomery, her manager, temporarily took over the reins of her fortune. While the exact reasons for such decisions have remained confidential, more and more voices have been rising in recent years to question the relevance of such decision. Britney Spears has since asked the court to appoint a new guardian, the private Bessemer Trust Company.
The brutal downfall
Aired on February 5 on the American channel FX and on the Hulu platform, a documentary, produced by the New York Times, re-examines the singer's career and struggles. From her debut on the Disney Channel for kids to hits like “Baby One More Time” that shot her to fame and later turned her into the superstar she is, the artist has spent her life in the spotlight.
Thus, the documentary, entitled Framing Britney Spears, highlights the role of the paparazzi and the press in the early 2000s in the downfall of the singer. The press shaped the image of the young woman as a naïve princess, uncomfortable with her big success, and whose failures and struggles were displayed for everyone to see and discuss.
"Controlled by her father"
The #FreeBritney movement was started by many fans who are convinced that the singer is being kept against her will in this system of guardianship. Proponents of this idea, which many call it a conspiracy theory including Jamie (her father), claim that Britney Spears is sending call for help through coded messages, emojis, and outfits posted on her Instagram account.
They felt heard when Britney Spears expressed her gratitude and a court-appointed lawyer told a judge that his client had informed him that she’s "afraid of her father". Subsequently, the judge decided not to immediately remove Jamie Spears from his role as the sole guardian of the singer's finances, but appointed a financial firm as a co-guardian.
The pop icon is not looking to get out of the trusteeship regime at the moment, but is rather turning to professionals in the matter. She’s therefore hoping that the co-guardian company remains in the agreement. The next court hearing will be on February 11.
The documentary used numerous archival footage from the singer's life to capture the suffering she may have experienced during different periods. The media back then was cruel especially that mental health issues were not yet taken into consideration.
And that was during her long period of depression following her 2006 divorce filing with Kevin Federline, and then at the loss of custody of her children in 2007, as she was spotted barefoot at a gas station, driving with one of her sons on her lap, or even when she shaved her head entirely, in 2007 and it was filmed.
The feature film also analyzes the hypersexualization of which the singer was a victim of, especially during her break-up with Justin Timberlake. The two popstars were the it-couple for three years in the early 2000s. Fans followed their relationship closely and were heartbroken when the two young lovers ended their romance. A breakup that led to a media attack on Britney Spears, according to relatives of the singer and music professionals.
Moya Luckett, a media historian at New York University and a specialist in celebrity "culture", told AFP on Sunday (February 7) that the "cruelty" suffered by Britney Spears because of the media is today far less felt by celebrities, in a media landscape dominated by social networks. "They are now becoming their own producers” she said, taking for example singers like Taylor Swift or Beyoncé who, according to her,have control over their image on Instagram, or through documentaries which they themselves produced.