A diehard group of ultra-positive and protective fans has coalesced around Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion.

Meet the Hotties.

Anointed by Megan herself, the growing fan base prides itself on positivity—a trait not always associated with stans. From the Barbz and Bardi Gang to BTS Army, Arianators, and Kanye diehards, many stan groups have wound up in the news for negative behavior. Whether it’s doxxing, harassing, sending death threats to people over lukewarm reviews, or attacking other celebrities feuding with their idols, stans have a history of taking things too far.

Enter Megan Thee Stallion, a 24-year-old rapper preaching empowerment. Armed with a snappy flow, Megan is known for twerking while rapping about leaving thirsty men on read, with an air of nonchalance and braggadocio. And her style has spawned a legion of new fans, ready to protect the rapper from naysayers.

The Hotties are easily identified by their avatars and social media handles, readily promoting her upcoming releases or marketing her most recent hits. While stan groups are often highlighted for their violent online behavior, it’s the unglamorous day-to-day admin work that takes up most of their time. Hottie timelines are often an outpouring of promotional links, imploring followers to “stream Big Ole Freak for clear skin.”

The level of accessibility to Megan’s inner sanctum is part of what makes being a Hottie so exciting. Twenty-six-year-old fan Emilio, “a stan turned cameraman,” got in contact with Megan’s late mother over email a year ago. “[When] her mom saw my work, we did our first vlog that same week,” he says. “Over a year later and we’re still working together. It’s a blessing, really”

Emilio’s most recent work with Megan came at the Miami Hottie Party. A series of RSVP-only events thrown across the country, Hottie Parties are intimate occasions dedicated to Megan’s most devoted fans. Following her debut appearance at Rolling Loud, the Miami Hottie Party became the weekend’s most anticipated event. Guests in attendance included Trina, Wale, Moneybagg, Queen Key, and Asian Da Brat.

I think the difference between the Hotties and other stans is that with us, we are all about spreading positivity

Angel, 25, who speaks of the hip-hop star with feverish enthusiasm, attended the latest Hottie Party. “I drove the boat,” he confesses giddily. A catchphrase that’s become synonymous with the fandom, “driving the boat” refers to Megan picking someone out of the crowd and pouring them a shot—the highest honor received at her shows. “She was so nice and humble. She made everyone feel welcome and was partying with the crowd,” he reminisces. “I felt like I was talking to my homegirl when turning up with her.”

Twenty-three-year-old fan Bria has been a devoted stan since 2017, meeting Megan twice since first seeing her perform at the now-viral Houston-versus-Dallas cypher. “It’s like we had already met,” she says of her first interaction. “We had some similar outfits with camo, and she was like, ‘You got to be a real Hottie, since we both wearing camo!’”

This sense of intimacy, perpetuated by curated functions and familiar meetings, has created a very personal fan base. Yeneby, 26, Nara, 18, and LaRaven, 21, all called their connections to the rapper familial. “Megan treats her Hotties like her family, and in a sense, she's our big sister,” says Nara, who runs Megan Thee Horsey, a fanpage. “It’s just one big love circle over here, and it's natural for us to want to protect our loved ones.” Yeneby agrees, adding, “It’s like when your parents tell you, ‘That boy isn't good for you!’ We just want the best for her.” LaRaven sees Megan as the authority: “She’s our family, our sister, our bestie, our mother, and she tells us to turn up and stay outta drama.”

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Image via @Dhinez

As quick as she’s been to foster intimacy with her fans, Megan also isn’t afraid to step in and occasionally keep them in line. Earlier this year, rumors began to circulate that Cardi B was taking a swipe at the rapper on Instagram after a screenshot surfaced that read: “Ain’t no hoe taking my spot. Stop BAPPIN.” Beefs and competitive swipes have dominated the conversation around women in hip-hop for decades, most recently between Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. Instrumental in the beef itself, the Barbz and Bardi Gang became sworn enemies, stoking the flames of the feud until it reached fever pitch. But Megan took a different approach. Two hours after Cardi B took to Twitter to insist she wasn’t sneak dissing anyone, Megan tweeted, “If you’re a real hottie, please spread positivity. We real around here and we fw everybody that fw us. No dry hating no dry beef [sic].”

“I think the difference between the Hotties and other stans is that, with us, we are all about spreading positivity,” says 24-year-old fan Gabrielle, who has been a Hottie since 2014.

“We don’t pick fights with people or other fandoms, but we’ll stick up for Meg if anyone tries coming for her,” Emilio adds. Being a stan always comes first, and while it often means defending someone at all costs, he concedes, “Megan would probably tell us to chill if we were going too hard on someone.”

Cognizant of how early Megan is in her career, a 29-year-old fan who goes by the name Beyoncefused says she recognizes that “if you’re a Black woman, [the internet] will spend all of its energy lifting you up only to tear you down. As a Hottie, it’s my hope to quell that.”

We don’t pick fights with people or other fandoms, but we’ll stick up for Meg if anyone tries coming for her.

In early May, Megan uploaded a photograph with Drake in Las Vegas, sparking rumors of a romance or impending collaboration, and the Hotties shifted into protective mode. “As much as Drake has great music, and despite ‘Nice for What,’ he’s emblematic of exploitation,” Beyoncefused insists. “The Hotties don’t want someone as talented as Megan to be associated with a known womanizer when her message is empowerment.

For Megan, empowerment encompasses everything from sexuality and body positivity to monetary freedom and building other women up. “We should be able to go equally as hard,” Megan told Rolling Stone. “I don’t want to hear none of that ‘That’s offensive!’ or ‘All she talk about is pussy.’ I know I’m striking a nerve that’s pissing that one specific man off.”

A 19-year-old fan named Hiba explains the importance of ignoring negative energy. “Megan has made it clear that no matter how much negativity there is towards her, that we need to just focus on the positive,” she says.

Running Megan Thee Stallion Daily, a Twitter account devoted to the rapper, Hiba has a firsthand look at how quickly the dedicated following is growing. “I love seeing the support from her current fans as well as people that are just getting introduced to her. It does get challenging at times, though, to consistently post, especially because she always has a lot going on.” But there is one driving force that keeps her going: “It’s all about getting Megan the recognition she deserves.”

Megan’s philosophy is clear, and if she continues to subvert the industry’s game of pitting women rappers against each other, she just might foster a generation of fans capable of the same thing.

“We support, uplift, and defend,” Gabrielle says. “I believe the artist has control over how their fan base is, and we act accordingly.”

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