Leave Sam Smith Alone
Hatred is, yet again, taking away from queer art.
Last Week, Sam Smith released their fourth studio album, Gloria. A standout single on this album comes in the form of 'I'm Not Here To Make Friends,' and this track's music video was released alongside the album. With French Revolution-inspired fashion, the 'Unholy' singer's music video is a celebration of self and sexuality. We love to see it.
However, as with most things in life, the homophobes came out of their little hovels to ruin our fun. The comments underneath this video on all forms of social media are heinous. Taking shots at Sam's body, their medium of self-expression, their clothing and their music, the hate is seemingly relentless. All this comes off the back of the release of a heartfelt, vulnerable, and honest album about the journey of self-acceptance. It all combines to make a truly crushing cocktail.
Sexuality in music videos is not a new concept; let's be real here. There are sexually suggestive and provocative music videos all over the internet. The vast majority of the time, these appeal to the male gaze, so there's no uproar. However, even when queer artists are sexually suggestive, the consequences don't match what Sam Smith is currently receiving. Lil Nas X took the world (and hell) by storm with his music video for Montero (Call Me By Your Name). The homophobes were surely out, but there were no attacks on Nas' body. Could this be because Lil Nas X could be considered traditionally attractive? There were significantly less comments calling Nas "mentally ill" than are currently festering underneath Sam Smith's social media posts.
It's puzzling, really. Why do people feel the need to air their views about how others choose to live their life? Due to recent events of a certain man with a cult following being incarcerated due to sex offenses, this becomes a contrast that many people make in the comments section, which only serves to make this situation more confusing. How can somebody contrast a sex offender with a queer person putting on a corset for a music video? What about queer people living their lives unapologetically is so offensive?
I think I may have cracked it. Could it be because Sam Smith is happy? They have a completely average body type, yet people are expressing disgust towards them for it. Could this be because a person is ignoring societal standards for both queerness and body image, yet they're thriving? They are expressing their queerness in the way that is honest and true to them. Does this cause people to project their own insecurities onto somebody else? Is seeing a queer person thrive too much for people who find their norms threatened by us? Outrage is something that the conservative media do well, and it's been proven to work (justice for the M&Ms Spokescandies).
However, this only works if we don't back down in the face of outrage. Sam Smith's album is unreal, and it's such a shame that discrimination is taking the spotlight from unapologetic, queer art. Regardless of body type, gender, or sexuality, we need to double down on ourselves as queer people. In standing up to the outrage of the right-wing media and the people who take their guidance from it, we show that we are not afraid of how we are interpreted or received. Fashion isn't just for a certain type of person, nor is music or queerness. Our vast diversity within a community is our greatest pillar of strength, and it's imperative that we, like Sam Smith, do not ever forget this.