In an Iridescent Light: How BROCKHAMPTON and Anthony Fantano Helped Me Get Through an Abusive Relationship

Trigger Warning: This article features frank discussion of abuse, particularly abusive relationships. If this is something that will emotionally disturb you, I advise that you do not read this article. Thank you.

December 19, 2017 is a day that will live in infamy for the rest of my life. After months of planning to meet my then boyfriend, who lived a state away and was planning on staying in town for a week, it was discovered that he lied about having a license. He stole his parents’ car to see me and only had a permit for a few weeks. During that frigid, frigid night, screams emitted from my soul; he threatened to run away and be with me, and his parents nearly had him charged and sent to jail. Months of planning evaporated before my eyes. My throat was sore from sobbing on the next day. I’d gone from enjoying my time in a Holiday Inn, having the absolute time of my life, to having absolutely nothing...I could hardly leave my bed. I remember feeling absolutely frozen in sorrow sitting across from my friend at a Ramunto's. I’d only received the message from my then partner’s mother the day after everything went down.

December 21, 2017. The day I discovered BROCKHAMPTON.

It started out simple: with winter break starting and with no partner next to me, I had time to watch The Needle Drop’s hilarious music reviews in bulk. The whole month had been spent watching his music reviews, so why not add to it? I was scrolling through Instagram and saw that Anthony Fantano posted a lyric with his name in it, and I had been wondering to myself when someone was going to mention him in their music. After all, with over a million subscribers and with tons of memes made about him and his reviewing style, it was only a matter of time before someone did it. I Googled the lyric to find that a band named BROCKHAMPTON name dropped Fantano in their song “Zipper,” and that just days before, “Saturation III”—the third album in the Saturation trilogy—had been released.

After viewing Fantano’s review for Eminem’s “Revival”—which I had been looking forward to since that album dropped—I checked out the review for Saturation III, which received the honor of a coveted Yellow Flannel (meaning the album got a high rated review). Eight out of ten— nearly perfect. Minutes after checking out that review, I was on my way to listening to Saturation III via Spotify. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!

Not only did the Fantano line exist, but their music sounded electrifying. Experimental in all of the right ways, with every instrument and band member hitting all of the right flows and notes. Then, track four came on, which was “JOHNNY.” Joba, otherwise known as Russell Boring, pummelled in with a line that was as bombastic as it was emotional:

“My life ain’t been the same since my dog died, since my girl left…”

You see, the month before watching my then partner become vanquished away before my eyes, I lost my beloved cat, Luna on Nov. 17. Chills literally ran down my spine. Someone knows how this feels?

“It seems I’m destined to fall apart when I’m depressed.” Joba continued on.

The emptiness began to shrank. It felt like someone was there, right beside me, listening to me and hearing me out.

The chorus came back and crooned on,

“I just want a space with my old best friend,

Lock me in your cellular, won’t elevate again.”

2017 was also a year that I fell out with two best friends, an internet and a real life person.

“RENTAL” was another hard hitting song with a line that became my personal motto:

“Throw me in the fire, baby, I’ll survive.”

For the first time in months, and when I needed it most, I felt less alone. From then on, I downloaded every single one of BROCKHAMPTON’s albums, up to and including “All American Trash,” their 2015 debut mixtape.

The sad part? The relationship between me and my ex boyfriend would only become worse.

We went from loving one another and having a close bond to him being extremely forceful and pushy about sexual matters. I tried to get him to reconsider and hear me out, but all he wanted to do was push his point of view on me. I never hated myself more in my life, despite the fact that I tried to put on a front on for him in order to save face and our relationship. Saturation III was on near constant rotation during that entire winter, so much so that I believed it would solve all of my pain. I’d begun to dig into Saturation I and II, but they held not nearly as much personal meaning as Saturation III did for me.

After our second and last visit in February, I knew things were over. On the outside, to everyone else, we looked like the ideal couple. Very few people knew how much I hurt during the relationship. During our final in-person argument, where I felt unwell and couldn’t do much other than watch Vine compilations with him, he said to me, “When people are over, I don’t watch Vine compilations, I actually talk to people.” He knew that I struggled with socializing with people, which cut deeply into me. I’d just have to act like all was well.

We ended the relationship two weeks later on mutual terms, but that’s when the healing began the most.

Then, less than 12 weeks after the relationship ended, Ameer Vann—the poster child for the band and literal face of the Saturation trilogy—was discovered to be an emotionally and sexually abusive person. As a fan during the time, it was ruinous. Watching Joba cry during Boston Calling broke my heart, to see one of my all time favorite bands hurt by abuse.

I was initially worried that that the band that helped me get through so much would be the reason I would be reminded of pain that no human being should have to face.

On May 27, Ameer Vann was kicked out of BROCKHAMPTON. From then on, the future of the band was uncertain.

However, the band came back strong. New shows were announced and a new song, “TONYA,” was performed on Jimmy Fallon. The somber song referenced the situation with Ameer with the line, “I feel like brothers lie just so my feelings won’t get hurt.”

That feeling of not knowing someone you loved resonated with me, as the man I loved was suddenly revealed to be someone that was a lie. It felt like my life was parallel to BROCKHAMPTON’s at the time: I left school on medical leave to seek help from the effects the abuse had on me and went through a similar and simultaneous period of recuperation. During their recuperation period, BROCKHAMPTON spent time in Hawaii recording and exploring the island.

I was happy to see that BROCKHAMPTON regrouped and were able to make new music. Suddenly, waves of new music came out: 1999 Wildfire, 1998 Truman, and 1997 Diana. The band had a BEATS 1 radio show: “Things We Lost in the Fire Radio.” You’d better believe I sacrificed sleep to listen to every show live, as every show promised a new single. I participated in the Twitter fandom during each and every show, celebrating as each song would arrive.

And now, on Sept. 21, their fourth studio album “Iridescence” drops, which promises to be the band’s most experimental and promising team effort yet.

To watch them grow alongside my own personal growth has been an incredible gift. With a new documentary premiering in theaters (“The Longest Summer in America”), thermal icons all over Twitter preparing for the new album rollout (you better believe my avatar is thermal right now), and with a new trilogy on the way, BROCKHAMPTON is more on top of the world than ever.

Of course, I owe this band everything. They have been peace in chaos, and a light in the darkest of times. If not for this band, I do not know where I would be. It’s cliche, but I genuinely mean that. This is not just a boyband, but a band that I would give my heart to. A special thank you to Anthony Fantano goes out for helping me discover them.

Due to this boyband, I view the world in a different light, different shades of colors: an Iridescent shade of light.