Growing Up With Britney Spears: Part One

Part one of the essay you’ve been waiting to drop on Adryan’s POV, my Substack newsletter

Adryan Corcione


Photo credit: Paramount / Adryan Corcione

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The year is 2001. It’d been two hours since I hopped off the school bus. I’d just started the third grade a few weeks prior. With dusty fingernails from snacking on 3D Doritos, I flipped to MTV with the television remote. It was almost time.

In moments, Britney Spears’s “I’m a Slave 4 U” music video premiered.

Britney appeared onscreen. 19 going on 20 in her “Not a Girl Not Yet a Woman’’ era, she stripped herself of the schoolgirl uniform and pigtail braids from her iconic “…Baby One More Time” music video. Covered in baby oil, she and her backup dancers pranced and twirled around in an abandoned Asian bath house in this new video.

All you people look at me like I’m a little girl
Well, did you ever think it’d be okay
For me to step into this world?
Always saying little girl, don’t step into the club
’Cause I’m just tryin’ to find out why
’Cause dancing’s what I love

Consumed by the video, I didn’t notice that my mother walked into the living room. She stopped in her tracks and watched as Britney and her crew huddled close and breathed heavily on each other.

“I think Britney is getting to sexy for you,” she delivers in such a casual, unphased tone as she reached for the remote.

“Don’t you dare take Britney away from me!” I cried.

I was six years old when I first heard of Britney Spears.