Hey Sam Smith, It’s OK to Not Like Michael Jackson or Any Other Musician
Oh, Twitter, never change. Or rather, please change immediately. (And for once, we’re not talking about Twitter’s current role as an Alex Jones-apologist.) This week, singer Adam Lambert posted a video from a boat where he and crooner Sam Smith are listening to Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” Sam Smith said something apparently shocking. He said, “I don’t like Michael Jackson, but this is a good song.” The obviously inflammatory Sam Smith Michael Jackson comment lit Twitter on fire, but we’re left wondering why.
Last weekend, Adam Lambert posted the video to his Instagram, but quickly deleted it. But nothing on the internet stays deleted and the video was posted again by @musicnewsfacts on Twitter.
After the re-post, Jackson’s family and fans lambasted Smith. Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in the original Broadway run of The Wiz, was particularly angry, writing, “Don’t come for Michael Jackson when you wish you have sold as many records and you wish you were the King of Pop like he was. I’m so tired of you people studying our music, and studying our artist and claiming that you don’t like our music.”
TJ Jackson, the nephew of the late singer, also attacked Smith, writing, “Sam Smith made a career on singing R&B/soul music. So to look into a camera and disregard one of its pillars is ignorant, disrespectful and arrogant. Everyone has opinions but don’t disparage a soul pioneer when they helped paved the way for you and your music.”
While we can understand while those who personally knew and loved Jackson could be upset — kind of, considering Smith just said he didn’t like Jackson, not that Jackson was an alleged child molester or anything harsh like that — fans are also came for Smith, saying he’s “over,” that he “wishes he had a sliver of the talent Michael Jackson had” and that Smith needs to “stay in his lane.”
If we had to choose one artist, we’d side with Michael Jackson over Sam Smith (sorry, Sam),but it’s ridiculous to get so angry about this.
Even though Smith sings a genre established by a long lineage of black musicians, it doesn’t mean he has to love and respect each and every single one. There might be other less problematic black R&B and soul musicians that Smith loves, but fans have focused on this one slight and hyper-magnified it as an example of white ignorance and racism.
It’s not too hard to see the through line between the blowback against Smith and other cases like when Star Wars “fans” harassed Kelly Marie Tran off Twitter, or when Millie Bobby Brown left Twitter over a homophobic meme that had no basis in reality.
Let a dude not like an artist. Smith didn’t say anything about Jackson; just that he didn’t like the singer. He even admitted “Human Nature” was pretty great. Gosh, how awful.