The 5 Most Essential Gifts Britney Spears Gave to Pop Culture
Oops, she did it again. Britney Spears has taken a break from being the Queen of Pop and a hero to millennials everywhere to prove that we are slaves 4 her. The superstar who’s been providing the soundtrack to our lives for nearly two decades is taking a break from her Vegas residency to receive a prestigious award at the Billboard Music Awards. On May 22nd, in addition to performing a medley of her hits, Spears will be honored with the illustrious Millennium Award, which will solidify what we’ve known for years: when it comes to pop divas, Britney has our hearts, forever and always. Why? Because she’s Britney, bitch.
While we try to dutifully relearn the words to her greatest hits in the office today, we’ll also be reminiscing about the best Britney moments thus far. From career highs and musical triumphs to terrifying lows and 55-hour marriages, we’ve been around every step of the way—no matter how toxic things have gotten. In honor of the impact Spears has had on u (and will no doubt continue to have), here are our five favorite moments from her career. Thus far.
The “…Baby One More Time” Debut
It’s been 18 years since Britney Spears danced and sang her way through the school halls and we’re still feeling the impact. The iconic video that rocketed Britney Spears into the pop music stratosphere has been the inspiration for millions of schoolgirl Halloween costumes for nearly two decades and has inspired us to try (and then fail) to learn her dance moves at least once a year. Filmed when she was only 16 years old, it went on to earn her three MTV Video Music Award nominations.
The Pop Culture Perfection She Created with K-Fed
In case you forgot about Kevin Federline, and then forgot about him some more when he dropped a new single, “Hollywood,” last month, just remember that he is responsible for one of Spears’ most iconic phases in life. We knew their marriage was destined for greatness when they had a surprise wedding that featured a Southern buffet of chicken fingers and other comfort food followed by a night at the club in matching Juicy Couture sweatsuits. In the aftermath of that glorious day, they did what any self-respecting 2000s-era celebrity would do: got a reality show.
The five-episode special aired in 2005 on UPN (yes we forgot about UPN too) and was appropriately called Britney and Kevin: Chaotic. Described by E! as “career suicide by videocam,” the show may have bombed with critics, but we couldn’t look away. Over a decade later and we’re still not sure we have an answer to the show’s tagline: “Can You Handle Our Truth?”
The Leather, Lace, and Military-Inspired VMA Red Carpet Look
We’ve seen a lot of iconic fashion moments culled from Spears’ closet (or, more accurately, her stylist’s closet), but it was the ensemble she stepped out in for the MTV Video Music Awards in 2002 that continues to give us life over a decade later. Dresses made of leather and lace were admittedly pretty standard in the early 2000s but when she threw in a leather cap stolen from the set of a Russian porno, we were forced to reach for our LifeAlert. We don’t know what happened after the award show ended that year, but if it didn’t involve her holding a whip and kicking in someone’s hotel room door, we’ll be severely disappointed. If Dominatrix Britney is wrong, we don’t want to be right.
The Facial Expressions She Made When Judging The X Factor
Raise your hand if you’ve used a GIF of Britney Spears reacting to someone on The X Factor at least once in your life. Anyone who isn’t raising their hand is either lying or has been severely missing out. We were skeptical when Spears jumped on board as a judge on the second season of The X Factor, but from the moment we saw her react to bad singing without a pity smile, we knew reaching for our remotes would be a bad idea. Simon Cowell may have declared it a bust and failed experiment when she left after the first season, but her discomfort and lack of interest is actually exactly what we needed to endure yet another singing competition.
The Post-Mental Breakdown Career Resurgence
We all watched in horror as Spears struggled and failed to overcome the pressures of being a celebrity during her 2007 meltdown that became the darkest year of her life. The shaved head, the umbrella, custody battles, and rehab stints caused many people to write her off and start penning career eulogies. A failed comeback performance of “Gimme More” in 2007 seemed like the final nail in her coffin.
Luckily, we were all wrong; it’s been nearly a decade and the singer has not only recovered, she’s thriving. With seemingly good mental health, Spears has had a residency in Vegas since 2013 and is working on her ninth album. The Billboard performance (which is rumored to include a new single) will include a large pool of hits to choose from, given that Spears has had 23 Top 40 singles and six studio albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. If we’ve learned anything from Britney over the years, it’s that we’ll be with her till the world ends.
Stay tuned to Milk for more from the Queen of Pop.
Images via MTV, Marie Claire, and The X Factor.