Framing Britney: Free Britney


THE NEW YORK TIMES PRESENTS “Framing Britney Spears” Episode 6 (Airs Friday, February 5, 10:00 pm/ep) — Behind the scenes during the shoot for the “Lucky” music video in 2000. A moment captured by Britney’s assistant and friend Felicia Culotta. CR: FX

Nousha Aldhefery, Associate Editor In Chief

Through the ins and outs of the media setting in the 2000’s, it’s safe to say that Britney Spears has functioned as a head spotlight for a while. However, it is no longer about her recent pop album, or who she’s dating, right now it’s about the conservatorship her father has held upon her. The #FreeBritney movement, a protest to essentially ‘free Britney’ from the legal bind that has gotten so big in the media that The New York Times got involved and filmed a documentary based on history and the current events. The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney.

The documentary opens up with fans writing open letters to Britney, how much they support her, and them vowing to not stop fighting until she receives justice for what’s going on. After this display of support, it cuts out and opens the actual movie with a black screen only to appear the word ‘conservator’ and the definition of it. Then, the black screen fades away and opens into the courtroom where activists are being interviewed on what Britney Spears means to them.

Here’s the scandal: When Britney was at her low as a pop-star, she was forced under her father to hold a legal conservatorship over her in order to be in charge of her money, career, and affairs. Now, as a 39-year-old, Britney is pushing to escape this legal bind. Jamie Spears, her father, has refused to step down, and in the first hearing the courtroom also refused his stepping down. After being argued by both sides, the courtroom will now make a second decision. Will they #FreeBritney?

The documentary then shifts from interviews with the fans, to interviews with the actual people in her life. This includes her assistant, agent, former stylist, and many more. They use this part of the documentary to give backstory to the start of Britney’s career, which gives more insight to the watchers, and reminds the world of why they fell in love with Spears in the first place. Next, they describe Jamie. His alcoholism, his admission into rehab, his distance in Britney’s childhood, and his lack of emotional support, but his great interest in financial matters.

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After talking about her early childhood, how she blew up in her career, and the shift she caused for pop music in a boy-band dominated world, the documentary takes a turn and speaks about the control she had over her life. She made the moves; she turned over what feminism meant, and she did everything in her creativity. Now, after the fact, the documentary talks about her former relationship with pop-star Justin Timberlake. After the breakup, the documentary explains the man who frames Britney as the enemy. ‘Cry Me a River’, one of Timberlake’s greatest hits, enhanced the misogynistic culture that was making Britney seem as a cheater, a heartbreaker, and a completely different painting of an image. As then, the relationship started to define Britney’s life, as Justin became the main subject of every interview.

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Now came her first marriage, first kid, and along with that came the many tabloids that paints Britney as an ‘Unfit Mother’. The documentary explains the divorce, the PTSD Britney endured, and the fight for the custody of her children. This is when Britney starts to lose her reputation, as well as herself.

Here it arrives. The most famous ‘Britney moment’ of all. The moment that is still talked about today: Britney Spears shaves her head. One of the biggest stories of the decade, takes place in 2007. This was an epiphany moment for Britney, as she used this moment of control to cope with herself. She shaves her head during her battle of custody for her sons, grabs an umbrella, and takes it to a paparazzi car. The documentary talks about the lack of awareness of mental health, the capitalism painted with her image, and the punch line the public made of her because of everything she’s lost.

The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney

Conservatorship. Usually used for old people, but taken advantage of by Jamie Spears. After rehab, Jamie Spears takes conservatorship over Britney and basically saves her. However, Britney’s request before the court hearing was: “I do not want my father to be under my conservatorship.” She preferred a professional, however, was denied her one request and is now being controlled by her father.

So, over 20 years later, here is Britney Spears now. She is back on track, financially, career wise, sober wise, and is now back into the media as an amazing pop-star. After going on tour in Las Vegas for her most recent album ‘Glory’, she canceled it abruptly. Then her social media had been taken over, fans notice, and now she has been admitted into a mental facility. Once released, she begs for freedom. This is now the start of the #FreeBritney movement.

And now, instead of the tabloids forcing her into mental illness, they show their support. She has been denied again by the courts, but she isn’t alone this time. With the stand kick-started by fans, celebrities, the people around her, and the country itself supported the movement. The #FreeBritney movement is a demand by the world, a world that refuses to give up until it frees Britney.

This Hulu documentary highlights Britney’s journey, her friends, her family, and conducts exclusive interviews that has to be a must-watch if people are looking to support or gain information on the movement. It gives watchers insight into what Britney’s life was in an era where most people didn’t pay attention to what she said, rather than the tabloids.