Updated: Mar 30
Highlight: Pink Floyd one of the most successful and influential rock groups in history somehow triggered misplaced so-called "woke" outrage with the release a 50th Anniversary box that pays tribute to their iconic album, "The Dark Side Of The Moon" which was originally released in 1973.
Context: "Several ill-informed people that claim to be conservatives saw the rainbow prism which is a nod to the band's original 1973 cover and started bashing the band as being too 'woke' and supportive of LGBTQ. Pink Floyd however did not need to reply directly because their fans who actually know the art chimed in clearly and directly to set the record straight. As Rolling Stone shared in their write-up, ""The rainbow flag created by artist Gilbert Baker, was first flown as a symbol of queer liberation at San Francisco parade in 1978. Pink Floyd released their eighth studio album, The Dark Side of the Moon, five years before, in 1973 — with cover art depicting light refracted through a prism to produce a rainbow. The late designer Storm Thorgerson intended it as a tribute to the band’s famous light shows and now, in 2023, as the legendary group marks the 50th anniversary of their most enduring touchstone, a few ill-informed individuals have conflated these two strains of counterculture in order to make themselves very, very mad."" (Original article here)
The swift clap-back by the Pink Floyd army to the ill-informed 'attempted jump-off' by people who don't seem to understand the original album cover (and who also don't seem to understand what 'woke' originally meant either) is reminiscent of 'Beyhive' action in defense of their golden clad queen on numerous occasions. It illustrates the importance of strong fan relationships, real ones and supporting the tribe who supports you as an artist."
Fake fans being called out for being ill-informed and triggered by 'so-called' wokeness, which isn't what 'woke' was really originally about...nor the album.
Real Pink Floyd fans chiming in to share the what the album is about
Key Take Aways for current and rising Culture Leaderz:
The Pink Floyd Army of fans (as well as any devoted fan action) reminds us that
Tribe matters - at the end of the day your fans, your customers, your supporters...your tribe matter because they buy what you are selling but they get you. They get you and will support you when others are too wrapped up in their own thing to catch the real memo.
Tribe gets you - whether it's the response of Pink Floyd's fan army or other devoted fan tribes, such as the BeyHive (Beyonce), the Swifties (Taylor Swift), the Ham Fam (Anthony Hamilton) or any other number of unofficial fan tribes that devotion is built typically by several micro interactions that the fans (or customers) have with that artist, their brand, their team, their website that makes them feel like that artist 'gets them' and when crucial times like this occur, they are more than happy to shout (even with their fingers) on behalf of that artist whom 'they get' and say 'back off!
Love your tribe - showing that you get them often stems from truly understanding them. The artists who take the time to truly understand their fans are loving them beyond a transaction. The old adage 'seek first to understand' plays a huge role here, it is what empowers the artist to make creative choices, venue choices, and even wording changes or approvals to ads, their website, their merch saying "my tribe will love this", or "my fans would never feel good wearing that" ...it is what enables artists, brands, and business leaders to make those choices, and be right.
Key questions & next steps to use on your own:
Seek First To Understand - talk to 5-10 top fans and ask each of them the same set of questions about their world or additional passions (likely 2-5 questions). Do you know what world causes they are most into - the majority of your tribe? Do you know if they are mostly college grads, high school cool, HBCU alums, Big 10 fans?
Apply The Learnings - after getting their feedback, apply it, to social reposts, merch. choices, meet & greet conversations...figure out where the new information fits. These things may seem unrelated but knowing the commonalities within your tribe, fan or customer base can help inform understanding what additional merch, partnerships, projects, and more they want to see and support most from you. It also gives a big thanks to the people who are showing such love and understanding for you and your brand.