In the world of fandoms there’s a hierarchy of sorts; levels of being a fan that leave you everything from praised to ridiculed. In the One Direction fandom; this is even more serious.
Harry Styles said recently on his twitter account that One Direction and their fans are a team; and that their fans are the greatest team mates they’ve ever known. This was more than a statement made in passing – this was a true testament to what has been accomplished between Harry, Louis, Liam, and Niall and their fans over the last five incredible years.
You are the greatest team mates we have ever known. Thank you.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) December 14, 2015
One Direction fans don’t just admire the boys for their giving hearts, loving personalities, and charitable spirits – they strive to be like them; in turn making the world a brighter, more welcoming, more beautiful place. This is part of what makes One Direction more than a band, it’s the reason fans feel like they’ve been part of this incredible journey for the last five years – not just watching it from their sofas at home and rows of seats at their concerts. This is a part of the fandom that is also often ignored, both by non fans, and fans as well.
Harry Styles has always been a supporter of love – all love; big love, small love, pure love, same love, any type of love as long as it’s real, genuine, and from the heart. All love is accepted as far as Harry is concerned – this spurred many fans to look into their own lives and examine how they’d been living; have they been loving enough, have they been accepting of the people they know, have they welcomed their minds to encompass all types of love?
I study rainbows.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) January 14, 2015
After this tweet from Harry in 2015 fans used ‘I study rainbows’ as a way of showing support for Harry and each other. @1DFansGive used this to create a bracelet that Harry Styles wore at the Cleveland, Ohio tour date. Proceeds from their bracelet sales went to a charity drive for Switchboard LGBT in honor of Harry Styles. Many other fans used the quote, and rainbows, to create fan art that could be bought (some also donated funds to charity) while others just spread edited photos, art, and collages online so the fan base could share them as frequently and openly as they wanted.
Harry also spoke of the importance of education during #Action1D in 2015 – this spurred @HESforMalala which is an initiative to make sure girls around the world have access to a good free education. Harry’s call for action was definitely answered and his fans have made sure that they’re doing all they can to show their support for Harry and to enhance the world that we live in.
These are just two of the many ways One Direction fans have begun to transform the world, one step at a time, alongside Harry.
For all my little friends fighting childhood cancers….. pic.twitter.com/CSB9v20QY8
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) September 30, 2015
Since Louis Tomlinson made his mark on the world, one thing he’s been devoted to is enhancing the lives of children; especially those who who are in need. Louis has a soft spot in his heart for anyone who could use a pick me up; regardless of their age, race, sex, or circumstance – but there’s always been a focus on little ones. Louis has hosted many charity events for numerous causes that support kids with illness – most notably he’s worked with The Eden Dora Trust that raises awareness and supports children suffering TBI and Encephalitis. He’s also partnered with Bluebell Wood Children’s hospice and Believe In Magic for a number of events over the last few years. Most recently Louis’ story with Harvey Hext was told to the world and no one kept a dry eye when reading the incredible year that Louis helped Harvey and his family experience.
When speaking on #Action1D Louis said he wanted to live in a world where all children have access to proper medical care. This plea for help motivated many fans to find charities around the world to donate to in hopes of helping children receive vaccines, hospital access, and medication.
Louis has inspired fans to give to charity in their own lives, they’ve spent time at children’s hospitals, created fundraising events to raise money for hospitals charities, and families of children who are suffering and they’ve turned their own social media accounts into ways to ask for help for those who need it. Louis has helped fans become selfless, courageous, and charitable.
It’s lovely to see the world being transformed and knowing Louis is the ever glowing light behind it.
I'm just here to make people smile I kinda consider it my job role
— Liam (@LiamPayne) August 19, 2015
Liam and Niall have been dedicated, since the beginning, to honoring where they came from and improving the lives of people in their own home towns. They’ve shown pride and a sense of being humble as they’ve toured the world, seen things some people only dream of, and taken a piece of home with them wherever they’ve gone. Liam has given back in many ways, most recently, he was part of a ceremony where he donated to build a place for youth in Wolverhampton to house productive ways to spend their time. Liam said this of the initiative:
“The benefits this project will bring for the whole city, giving all young people somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to, are unparalleled and I can’t wait to see it develop”.
Niall has also given back to his hometown in many ways, one of his most prominent being his charitable heart for an Autism foundation right in his hometown of Mullingar. He hosted a celebrity footie match in 2014 that raised over £300,000 for the initiative.
“I am delighted we have raised significant funds for Irish Autism Action which is based in my home town of Mullingar, UK based Heart and Minds Challenge and the Leicester Foxes Foundation.”
In their #Action1D video, Niall and Liam talked about how they wanted to live in a world where every young person got to live their dreams, and to do so with adequate financial stability. In honor of their great hearts fan charities for both Liam and Niall were started to raise money for an autism foundation and doctors without borders – both allowing children to get access to things necessary to live full, healthy lives where their dreams can be met due to their foundations being strong.
You guys are just so powerful and you don't even know it,what you do for us on a daily basis is mind blowing, thank you thank you thank you
— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) August 17, 2015
Its inspiring to see Niall and Liam remain so humble and loyal to their home towns at the same time that they want to make a difference in the rest of the world, too.
There are plenty of fans who have given people in their lives a second thought after seeing Niall and Liam be so passionate about everyone deserving a fair chance. Maybe they were less quick to judge someone based on the way they dressed, maybe they were more patient with someone who needed a little extra time to find their words, or put a thought together. In whatever capacity they did it; fans changed their thoughts and their own hearts once they saw how full the lives of Liam, Harry, Louis, and Niall seem to be, just because they help people every chance they get. That’s how strong the bond is between the four incredible lads in One Direction and their fans, it’s beautiful.
This is where the large disconnect is between the media and One Direction fans, and unfortunately, where a large disconnect is between fans and other groups of fans as well.
The One Direction fan base has become a home for fans who don’t have a safe place to exist anywhere else. Louis, Harry, Niall, and Liam have made fans feel like who they are is enough in a world where they constantly strive to be more, or less, to fit in. Fan initiatives have provided fans with a place to feel safe too. 1D Fans Give and One Direction NDA (among others) have given fans a place to report unsafe feelings, bullying, and to talk about things they can’t talk about with anyone else. Being a One Direction fan goes far beyond the music.
There are many people outside of the One Direction fandom who have made judgements about fans that they refuse to change. Fans are all young, fans are all dreaming of being Mrs. Harry Styles, fans are all too busy doodling the boys’ names in their notebooks to give a care about anything else. Fans are immature, fans are crazy, fans take their own desires out on the boys – the list goes on and on. The sad thing is, and will always be, that sometimes these accusations happen within subgroups of fans instead of outsiders. Sometimes One Direction fans spend more time attacking each other than they do enjoying what everyone is really in for – the boys, the music, and their spirits.
If Harry got online and saw his twitter full of love, he’d enjoy it more than seeing tweets filled with anger and competition – especially because he says love wins, always. If Louis signed online and saw fans protecting other fans, he’d enjoy it more than fans attacking each other – especially because of how he stands up, tirelessly, for all One Direction fans. If Niall signed online and saw fans supporting one another, he’d enjoy it more than fans trying to out do one another – especially since he puts so much focus on brotherhood. If Liam signed online and saw fans helping one another be better, he’d enjoy it more than seeing fans putting one another down – especially since he strives to bring out the best in the people he cares about.
While the boys of One Direction are on their hiatus and the fans are fiercely protecting them against rumors, defending them against attacks, and speaking positivity against those who speak negatively against them; there’s a larger disconnect happening within the fandom – one that’s a lot more harm than good.
Fans are forgetting about the inspirational journeys they’ve taken themselves or seen other take, they’re forgetting about the kindness and generosity that’s been inspired within because of the boys, and in the midst of one of the most scandalous years in One Direction’s history, they’re falling apart instead of sticking together. This is all spun what the media attacks against Louis, Harry, Niall, and Liam have been set to do; not only destroy the lads, but destroy the fans who have stood behind them.
If you look closely at the fans of One Direction, you’ll see way more positive than you will negative – you’ll see fans who have started, as we stated above, charity initiatives for the lads, anti-bullying movements for fans, clothing lines that donate part of their proceeds to charity, and a unique group of people who bare their hearts and help support, love, and honor the boys in any way that they can.
The fans don’t plan to stop during their hiatus either; in fact, most fan initiatives are only driving forward to do more in the name of inspiration that they’ve been given by the lads, and if that’s not a show of how dedicated One Direction fans are – we don’t know what would be.
So the next time the media hashes out false statements against not only Niall, Liam, Louis, and Harry – but their fans – remember the good, the light, and the positivity that is most often found in the hearts and minds of the fans and cherish that instead.
If you’re interested in what’s being done now for the fans, we’ve compiled a few accounts to check in with during their hiatus and some charities you can donate to right now, if you feel so inclined.
Anti bullying movement and winner of the 2015 Extra Smile Award from CyberSmileHQ – @OneDirectionNDA
The original place for One Direction fans to donate to a number of charities that celebrate the lads – @1DFansGive
An account that updates on great projects in the fandom, as well as what the lads are up to and how you can support them on hiatus – @NoControlProjec