Steve Lacy: not malicious, just misunderstood.


Graphic by Lennart Strempfer

A BAD HABIT: controversial videos of Steve Lacy’s concerts trend as his tour continues

Sarah Woods, A&E Editor

When I open up TikTok on my phone I expect to see videos exploring fashion, video games, films, and other interests of mine that the algorithm has decided to show me. I am not expecting to see videos of a popular musician being ridiculed for his on stage-persona. However, in recent days this is all I have been seeing with artist Steve Lacy.

Steve Lacy’s “Give You the World” tour kicked off Oct 2 in Denver. For the first couple shows Lacy performed, everything went smoothly. This steady-pace took a turn when videos of Lacy on stage grew popular on TikTok early November. First I saw a video of Lacy breaking a fan’s camera and walking off after it was thrown on the stage, then another one of a girl asking Lacy to say “hi” to her mom and Lacy asking her to “be quiet”. 

As I watched these videos, I found myself relating to Lacy. I have been at many concerts in which a fellow fan has shouted something at the artist. Everytime it happened, I also wanted to shout “Can you be quiet?”. I bought my tickets to these concerts because I wanted to hear a musician I liked perform, not because I wanted to hear a loud fan desperately trying to get attention from said musician. While I don’t think that Lacy breaking a fan’s camera was appropriate, I am not unfamiliar with his annoyance towards a crowd. The videos of Lacy gaining popularity highlight a truth that many concert-goers are already familiar with: a concert is only as good as the crowd that comes with it.

An artist gets energy from a crowd. After long travel days between concerts and long preparations at the venue, an artist is tired. They rely on a crowd to boost that energy level up and put on a show both the artist and fans will enjoy. When the crowd is static, interrupting the artist, or clearly doesn’t know the words (another problem that Lacy seemed to have), it is hard for the artist to create such an environment. After multiple shows with this issue, I am sure that Lacy was tired. His reactions, while extreme, are a product of both exhaustion and a disappointing audience. 

I am also positive that Lacy is not being fairly represented online. TikTok’s algorithm favors controversial videos. The more likes, comments, or shares that a video gets, the better it does. People are more likely to interact in these ways if the video they are seeing evokes some sort of emotion. In Lacy’s case, videos of him “snapping” at fans leaves viewers shocked. In this shock, they share with their friends, start a debate in the comment section, or favorite it to show people later. A popular video of Lacy is not going to elicit this same reaction. Instead, a viewer is likely to like the video and move on. When an algorithm is pushing videos of Lacy behaving in a strange manner, he is bound to come across as ruder than he actually is.

I cannot help but feel bad for Steve Lacy. He has been poorly represented by the same fans and algorithm that originally boosted him to fame. I hope that this bad PR doesn’t discourage Lacy from pursuing more tours after his current one wraps up. Lacy is a talented young musician, and it would be a waste of potential if this crowd ruined that forever.