Jonathan Knight


Jonathan Knight


Heavy/HGTV

New Kids on the Block and HGTV star Jonathan Knight

In the middle of his summer concert tour with New Kids on the Block, Jonathan Knight has asked the group’s fans, affectionally nicknamed “Blockheads” since NKOTB erupted on the music scene in the 90s, for a favor. On July 4, 2024, the HGTV star asked that his fans stop giving him friendship bracelets, a symbol of gratitude and community made especially popular by Taylor Swift and her fans.

Knight issued his plea to fans via Instagram, noting that he’s concerned the plastic used to make the bracelets harms the environment. The post elicited a huge response from fans, with over 1,700 comments appearing within hours.

“Blockheads…I love all the friendship bracelets and appreciate the love,” Knight wrote in white text on a multicolored background. “However I prefer a hug instead. Feel free to give them to the other members, but consider plastic is a major issue for our environment. I want to be part of reducing plastic not contributing to the problem Xxoo Jon”


Fans & Bandmate Joey McIntyre React to Jonathan Knight’s Request

Fans flooded Knight’s post with reactions, including some who were impressed by his stance and happy to honor his request.

“Well said Jonathan,” one fan wrote. “I, honestly, did not think about this and should have. I will definitely be more conscious about things from here on out to help save our environment.”

Another commented, “Huge respect @jonathanrknight so easy to not say anything, and enjoy the ride! Using your platform to speak out ”

“Very thoughtful and true, hugs are more important then anything, especially your hugs,” someone else wrote. “It’s a wonderful memory I have and that last forever. Love you Jon ”

But not everyone was thrilled with the “Farmhouse Fixer” star’s request, including bandmate Joey McIntyre, who posted a photo on July 2 of all the bracelets he’d received during the first two weeks of the summer tour. On Knight’s post, he  jokingly wrote, “Womp womp.”

Some fans said they’d give their bracelets to McIntyre, and while others pushed back against Knight’s request.

One fan wrote, “You would only contribute to the problem if intend to throw the bracelet away as long as you keep it,” but Knight replied, “Well that’s not true!”

Someone else weighed in, “If he felt that way he should’ve said something sooner and quit excepting them from the fans.”

wrote, “Well said, but in the absence of a friendship hug this summer, I shall wear my Jon bracelet instead! ”


With Sales of Bracelet Beads Exploding, Environmentalists Worry About Impact

Though friendship bracelets have been around for decades, they’ve become particularly popular among Swifties and the trend has spilled over into fan groups of other music artists, including New Kids on the Block, as seen in a July 2 post from fellow bandmember Joey McIntyre.

The bracelets’ popularity was kicked into high gear, according to The Guardian, with the release of her song “You’re On Your Own, Kid” from her 2022 album “Midnights,” which includes the lyrics, “So, make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it.” Fans make and exchange the bracelets, typically made of plastic beads with letters that spell out song names, lyrics or phrases.

In August 2023, John Gehre, the chief merchandising officer of Michaels Stores, told USA Today that the trend has had a huge impact on retail sales.

“Overall, sales in our jewelry category, including jewelry-making kits, are up more than 40% chainwide since mid-April, when the friendship bracelet-making trend really began to take off,” Gehre told the paper.

But environmentalists have warned that while those sales may be good for retailers and fan camaraderie, the chemicals and practices used to create the bracelets’ materials have an impact on the earth.

According to the CBC, 99% of new plastic, including what’s used to make the beads commonly used for friendship bracelets, are made from fossil fuels, mainly oil and methane, and obtaining the raw materials requires mining or fracking. Each year, 200,000 tons of nurdles leak into the ocean each year, according to a according to a 2020 report from the Pew Charitable Trusts and SYST, which contaminate the water and are ingested by marine life.

One fan who thanked Knight for his enlightening post said she’d given him a bracelet at a recent concert and now understands why he didn’t put it on, given his concerns.

“I appreciate you informing us, and being kind about it, the fan wrote. “I feel like some of us didn’t know or realize how harmful the bracelets are to our environment. I, for one, try my best to be conscious of the world around me and what is hurting it, etc. I failed here. My friend and I gave you a bracelet and that very same night found out why you didn’t put it on. When we learn new things and we know better, we do better. Thank you for caring so much about everyone and everything on this planet. I have so much respect for you telling us how you feel and what you prefer re: the bracelets, knowing you would get some backlash. I hope everyone respects you and your request from here on out.”

In addition to performing all summer with NKOTB, Knight can be seen on his current HGTV spin-off, “Farmhouse Fixer: Camp Revamp,” with its finale set to air on July 9.

 

Liv Lane is an entertainment writer who covers the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, American Idol and The Voice for Heavy. Based in Minneapolis, she has three decades of experience as a local and national radio host, columnist and publicist, interviewing and working with a wide range of celebrities over the years, from Deepak Chopra to Lil Nas X. More about Liv Lane





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