The R&B artist’s new GOODLINE hotline offers a direct connection to her listeners in hard times.

By Marissa Lee.

If there’s one thing SZA always delivers on, it’s packing on the emotional vulnerability, a feeling that has been hard to repress over the past year. Her newest endeavour tackles such honesty, but not through music: called GOODLINE, SZA’s new fan hotline is advertised as “a space for us,” a call to action for fans to dial in and weep over the phone with the artist herself. The hotline follows the release of SZA’s smash hit single “Good Days,” a sonically-ethereal ballad about staying optimistic even when you fall upon hard times. Quite fitting for this day and age.

The hotline is a mental health pitstop for callers, offering a privatized emotional experience where individuals can listen to “Good Days,” tune in to meditations and affirmations, be connected to other resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and the Trevor Project, and, if they’re lucky, speak with SZA herself. The video for the project, which debuted on SZA’s Twitter, features a number of callers sobbing into the phone, closing on a sad-looking SZA while the number 888-808-0CRY flashes across the bottom of the screen.

This project is one of many recent instances where celebrities have made efforts to bridge the gap between themselves and their fanbase. Creatives are connecting with their followers using platforms like Instagram Live (artists like Doja Cat and Miley Cyrus are privy to this method), duetting with them on TikTok (a favorite among celebrities such as Lizzo and Lebron James), and hosting digital events like shows and concerts through which they interact with their fans.

These interactions are telling of celebrities’ relationship with their fanbase and their perception of their own status. Interacting with their fanbase makes them appear more relatable and attainable, evoking a “they’re just like us” mentality. The idea of the celebrity is slowly being stripped away as fans and followers begin to connect with those they look up to. Although the circumstances that paved the way for these connections are unprecedented, the results they yield are a breath of fresh air.

When cut off from our usual routines, connection with others can be hard to come by. Thanks to the advent of social media, however, connection not only comes more easily, but at greater lengths. The individuals people look up to, whether they be singers, sports stars, actors, are making efforts to bridge the gap between our newly-delineated lives. Connecting with these individuals, who may seem untouchable, can be comforting and can remind us, although it may sound trite, that we are not alone.