Understanding Zayn Malik: An Outsider’s Perspective

Ever since March 25, Zayn Malik has become a name that everyone knows. Face it: leaving the most successful boy band of the decade would certainly get people talking. The things he’s done since leaving has gotten him either wonderful or horrible press, but regardless of what kind of press it is, everyone now knows who Zayn Malik is.

I admit I knew next to nothing about Zayn before he left the band. All I knew was that he was the hot guy with the iconic hairstyle at the 2014 AMAs. It wasn’t until March when I really began to pay attention.

After he left, I wanted to know more, so I spent a few days reading up on him. I read about people who had met him, I listened to him sing for the first time (wow), and finally, after three days, I feel like I had a pretty decent grasp on who he was, and I could understand why he made the decision he made, and this is what I came to.

Zayn joined a group that was put together at the last minute when he was just 17. He was under the impression that being in this group was his one shot at making his dreams come true, so he took it, and, after nearly five years, it was simply something he didn’t want anymore.
I see people all the time say “well, why did he join the band if he wasn’t happy?”

Let’s get some perspective for a minute. I’m 24, not ancient by any means, but I know that the decision Zayn made five years ago should not be made lightly by a teenager. I was irresponsible and not mature enough to make that type of decision at 17, and I don’t believe it was right for Simon and Company to do that to any of the boys. I know most of you believe differently, but try to see where I’m coming from.

Most of you are under 18, and there’s nothing wrong with that for the most part. However, you can’t fully understand what it’s like for a decision like that to be made as an adult. There’re so many options you have to consider, and all the outcomes need to be understood. Now take a 17-year-old boy, along with the rest of One Direction, who had to make an adult decision when they were still kids. All the success and glory seems so appealing at first, but sometimes, it isn’t worth the sacrifice. After five years of settling for something you originally hadn’t planned on doing, it’s expected for one or more to get disillusioned. Zayn and his fans got lucky, he only left the band to do something on his own.

My first article for CelebMix was about the Backstreet Boys, and I’m going to reference them here because as far as experiences go, One Direction and BSB share some similarities. Nick Carter and AJ McLean were twelve and fourteen when they joined the Backstreet Boys. Think about that for a minute: twelve and fourteen. As time went on, those two had the hardest time adjusting to the fame and success, and both of them turned to alcohol and drugs. Luckily, they both realized they had a problem and turned their lives around, but there are so many young stars who can’t say that.

Asking Zayn to stay in a group that he was unhappy in isn’t the right thing to do. It’s been nine months and people still hate Zayn for putting himself first. Yes, he could have finished the tour, but was it worth the risk of him possibly screwing his life up in the process? Think about it. Drugs run rampant in the business, all it would take is for a pusher to find Zayn in a vulnerable moment, and then he’d be in some serious trouble.

I’m not a Directioner, and I never will be one. I enjoy their music for the most part, but I won’t ever understand the dedication to these boys that their fans have. I’m not trying to shade the entire fandom because there’s nothing wrong with being dedicated to your boys, and I’ve had my embarrassing moments as a fangirl, too. My point is that while I adore my group of choice when we had a member leave, we let him go for the most part. Sure, a minute few had negative things to say, but it was not nearly on the same level of hate that Zayn got. Long story short: it’s just not right to ask someone you say you love to stay unhappy for your own sake.

While One Direction begins their hiatus (and Directioners, you will get through this, I promise), Zayn is expected to kick off his solo career in the next couple of months. I hope to see a lot of fans supporting him, and helping him become successful in something he actually likes to do. He’s been respectful of the fans, of the boys (save the one tweet back in May), and of their success without him. It’s not too much to ask that the fans return the favor.

I have an opinion, and now I want to hear yours. Are you still angry with Zayn, or are you excited for what he’s got coming next? Leave a comment or a tweet and let us know!

Written by CelebMix