Are a disposable camera and a few annoying fans enough to derail a major tour? Based on the controversial viral videos from his “Give You the World” tour, this seems to be the case for Steve Lacy. But, if you look closer, there is more reason behind the artist’s rash actions than it might seem.

While performing “Bad Habit,” his most popular song, early in his tour, Lacy turned the mic towards the audience, but after the chorus the crowd fell silent. “Let’s get the second verse, c’mon,” Lacy encouraged the crowd, but clearly no one knew it. Because of the popularity of “Bad Habit,” many fans at Lacy’s shows are relatively new and don’t know much of his discography past the chorus, which is a viral TikTok sound. This moment became the first in a series of concert mishaps that justify Lacy’s frustration with fake fans.

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter’s “Give You the World” tour has made its way through the states, including a stop in Atlanta, and is about to begin its European leg. Lacy has been part of the music industry for a while after joining indie R&B band The Internet, then releasing his first demo tape in 2017. After his successful song “Dark Red” put Lacy on the map as a solo artist, he released his debut album, “Apollo XXI,” which received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album in 2020. This year, Lacy has seen even more success with his single, “Bad Habit,” reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 after gaining popularity on Tik Tok. This led to “Gemini Rights” being his most chart-successful album today.

Lacy’s success seemed a blessing at first, but recent clips from his tour suggest otherwise. On top of Lacy’s frustration, many of his longtime listeners are also complaining about TikTok fans. With only so many seats at the relatively small venues, ticket prices have skyrocketed, so Lacy’s day-one fans aren’t even able to secure a seat. After the failed “Bad Habit” singalong, Lacy has only become more fed up with annoying fans. 

Courtesy of Julian Klincewicz.

A clip currently going viral shows Lacy saying “can you be quiet” to an audience member asking him to “say hi” to her mom, before immediately launching into his song “Helmet.” Some have criticized Lacy for snapping at his fans and not appreciating their support. Although Lacy could definitely handle his frustration more professionally, we have to consider that the artist is still new to internet fame and “fake fans.”

In another controversial clip from his Oct. 24th New Orleans show, Lacy smashes a fan’s disposable camera after the fan threw it on stage, then abruptly ends the concert. These actions received a lot of backlash and made the artist look childish and petty, but he isn’t alone in his frustration with this fan behavior. Other artists, namely Kid Cudi, have also expressed their displeasure with the behavior of fans throwing personal items on stage. Similarly to Lacy, Cudi ended his July 22 show at the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival after being pelted by water bottles.

Later, Lacy addressed the camera situation through an Instagram post. In the post, he gave a “shoutout to the people not throwing disposable cameras at me and just coming to catch a vibe and connect” and urged fans to consider that he is “a real person with real feelings and real reactions.”

In the wake of all this controversy, it is clear that Lacy wishes to be known as more than the “Bad Habit” singer. Like any other artist, Lacy wants respect from his fans as an artist and as a person.

Since the camera incident, Lacy’s shows have been less eventful, in the best way, even making light of his recent controversies. At his Dallas concert on Oct. 28, the audience made a point of singing along to show not everyone at his concerts is a fake fan. Lacy was also invited to be on Saturday Night Live’s Nov. 5 show. At the young age of 24, Lacy has already experienced much success and bounced back from his mishaps. We still have much to look forward to from him in the future.