With her canon of bestselling singles, electrifying stage performances and iconic music videos, Britney Spears is undoubtedly a modern pop superstar. But her story has long been clouded by society’s dark obsession with beauty, youth, and fame – a relentless glare that has threatened to eclipse her musical success.
As Britney turns 40 in December 2021, Being Britney looks at a mother, an entrepreneur; a victim, a fighter; an entertainer, an enigma – Britney’s life is as multi-faceted as the very contradictions, pressures and expectations that helped create her. Yet, beyond the eye-catching headlines and front-page fodder, an almost indecipherable question remains: who is the real Britney?
Part biography, part social history, author Jennifer Otter Bickerdike pieces together a collage of vignettes, stories, interviews, legends, fan experiences and amusing detours to construct a definitive portrait of the artist and her complex, far-reaching orbit. This unique narrative is the first to provide a sympathetic yet objective re-examination of Britney’s cultural impact in the wake of major collective shifts surrounding feminism, celebrity and mental health.
Despite her career spanning five presidents, multiple creative reinventions and over 100 million album sales, Britney’s ability to come back again and again from highly publicised personal adversity has rarely been acknowledged. However, her successes keep stacking up and her relevance seems to grow with each passing year, culminating in a game-changing Las Vegas residency, a shocking conservatorship battle and a powerful #FreeBritney support campaign.
Otter Bickerdike said: “As veteran of the music business, I have always been troubled by how Britney and other young female performers are treated. My hope is that this book will make people think about the Britney behind the ‘product’ – the savvy business person who has managed to have a multi-million dollar empire despite numerous outside forces trying to destroy her from every angle. After years of being framed as a victim, Britney deserves to be celebrated as the fighter, entrepreneur, inspiration and enigma that she truly is.”
Selby added: “Jennifer is one of our most vibrant music writers and it’s a delight to be able to publish her at Nine Eight. She has written such a timely, kaleidoscopic book on Britney that is equal parts challenging and irreverent. It’s an astonishing trip.”
Being Britney is the compelling and often irreverent account of a talented, troubled and talked-about modern icon, whose life, work and individual significance will be recognised for years to come.