Harry Styles’ Grammys acceptance speech sparks backlash: ‘Why reading the room is so important’
After Harry Styles’ surprise Album of the Year win at the 2023 Grammys, people have taken issue with his acceptance speech.
Twitter, TikTok and Instagram users have pointed out the singer’s remark that “this doesn’t happen to people like me very often” unfortunately showed him up.
Many believe the line indicates Styles, in that moment, was completely unaware of the privilege he holds as a white, able-bodied man in the music industry, who was also competing for the award against three Black women, Beyoncé, Mary J Blige and Lizzo; a Black man, Kendrick Lamar; and a Latino man, Bad Bunny.
In a video that now has over 52,100 views, TikToker @thinkpiecetribe2 said Styles’ speech was “an outstanding example and case study on why reading the room is so important.”
Watch the video above.
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The TikToker showed the singer some generosity, noting he understood Styles probably made the comment in the context he “came from a small town, middle-class background,” and found it hard to be treated “seriously” in the music industry after his time competing on The X Factor UK and as a boy band member in One Direction.
“I get, somewhat, why in the moment he would say something like that,” the TikToker said. “Because he’s thinking of himself and his past experiences of what he’s gone through and where he’s at now. But here’s where reading the room comes into play.
“You are a white man in an industry that was made to support people like you. And you, as a white man in this industry … won over a Black woman and a Latino man, who had more critically acclaimed and bigger albums than you this year.”
The TikToker added, “So to come up on that stage and say that – it’s just, the cognitive dissonance. I know you weren’t thinking about [your privilege] in this moment. And it showed.”
Plenty of other commenters have pointed out the same problem, with one person sharing on Twitter: “I’m trying to understand what that white boy meant by ‘this doesn’t happen for people like me’ ???”
Another wrote, “‘This doesn’t happen to people like me’ is the most white privilege-iest thing to ever be uttered at an awards show ever for all time.”
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Some of Styles’ own fans have taken issue with the line, which is one Styles has apparently delivered before.
“BEGGING Harry Styles to stop saying “people like me” when he wins something,” one user tweeted. “sir, I am ROOTING FOR YOU, but absolutely no one knows what you mean by that and it does not sound good!!”
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Others have taken issue with Styles’ win of the award in general, saying the Grammys snubbed more worthy artists, like Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar and Puerto Rican star Bad Bunny.
“Harry Styles’ album wasn’t bad but winning album of the year over Beyoncé, Adele, Kendrick Lama and Bad Bunny is ridiculous to me lmao,” they wrote.
“Grammys really manage to do this every year.”
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