I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t going to be a slightly biased article. Just to give you some context, I’m writing it while listening to Zayn Malik’s X Factor audition on repeat. Prepare yourselves.

I’m talking, of course, about the topic that everyone’s been talking about for the last two days. The topic that hit ‘most popular’ on the BBC’s homepage, that has spawned Buzzfeed articles and debates and ridicule worldwide.

The news that Zayn Malik has left One Direction. I’ll give you a minute to let it sink in. I know, I know. It’s heart-breaking…

In case you’ve been living under a rock and have somehow missed One Direction’s rise to world domination, the band were put together on the X Factor in 2010. They didn’t win – although there were hordes of screaming girls that definitely wanted them to – but went on to perform on the X Factor Tour. They then released their first album, ‘Up All Night’, which did ridiculously well and broke records pretty much everywhere. Three albums later and the band are “on the road again” for another worldwide tour. From the outside, it seems like they’ve got it made.

But Zayn has left, and although the band have issued a statement to reassure fans they’ll carry on as a four-piece, you only have to glance at Twitter to see the kind of impact this is having. Worldwide trends like‘#AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik’ and thousands of fans tweeting their devastation has led to a mixed reaction from the public at large. Some articles are sympathetic, some are scathing, but there’s no denying that the departure has hit people hard. The Independent reports that thousands of workers have requested compassionate leave to deal with the situation, and hard-core fans of the band are alternating between lamenting the loss of Zayn’s high notes and worrying about his health. With the exit originally being put down to ‘stress’, questions have been raised about how hard the group have been working, and the toll their hectic schedule might be taking on their mental health.

It’s definitely a topic which needs more discussion and awareness, and the fact that Zayn’s exit has provided a platform for that can only be a positive. But the extensive media coverage has meant that other, life altering topics have taken something of a back seat. I knew that Zayn had left within three hours of the announcement, but didn’t learn about the crash of Germanwings Airbus A320 until the day after the tragedy. And the twitter tributes to Malik are all well and good – they are, in fact, probably a healthy part of the fans’ adjustment – but what about tributes to those killed by the crash, or to their families?

I’ll be honest; it’s not like I wasn’t slightly excited by the news today that Zayn might be ‘going solo’. It’s just that under the circumstances, and in the grand scheme of things, there are issues that should take precedence – and they (unfortunately) don’t involve the model-esque face of a former boy-bander.


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