Harry Styles doesn’t deserve backlash for Grammys speech


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Sonia Kalo, News Editor

Harry Styles has been on a meteoric rise to stardom as a one-man act since leaving One Direction in 2016. His status as the contemporary king of pop was solidified when he won Album of the Year at the Grammys on Feb. 5 for his recent album, “Harry’s House.” 

Since then, Styles has received backlash for his acceptance speech, during which he expressed that “this doesn’t happen to people like me very often.” 

Many found this comment to be insensitive, considering that straight, white, cisgender men have historically accounted for most Grammy Award recipients. 

Styles does not deserve the criticism he is receiving from the media. While words are important, so are the intention and context.

According to the Recording Academy’s website, the nominations and winners are all determined by Recording Academy members and record companies. This system allows space for favoritism, racism and networking politics to influence the voting process. 

Many argue that artists like Beyoncé should have won Album of the Year the last four times she’s been nominated. While this may be true, Styles deserved his nomination and award due to his many accomplishments. 

Over the past year alone, Styles headlined Coachella, the biggest music festival in the United States, and released his hit single “As it Was,” which became the longest running No. 1 single by a solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2022, Styles released his much anticipated, record-breaking third album entitled “Harry’s House.” It broke the record for most vinyl sales in the United States in a single week following its release, and eventually debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200

“Harry’s House” continued to dominate the charts throughout 2022, consistently ranking higher than Beyoncé and Adele’s albums, his main competition for Album of the Year.

Nearly a week following the acceptance speech controversy, Styles acknowledged his privilege during the BRIT Awards, where he swept all four categories he was nominated in. 

He also dedicated the award to several female artists that were excluded from the category, which ended up with all-male nominees despite the BRIT Awards pledging to go gender-neutral in the past year. 

“I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight,” the British pop star said. “So, this award is for Rina [Sawayama], Charli [XCX], Florence [Welch], Mabel and Becky [Hill].”

Styles also explained that his Grammys blunder was only a reference to his start on “X Factor,” a television music competition that lifted him out of his small town. He had not intended for his speech to offend or diminish the struggles of other talented artists, particularly those who come from marginalized backgrounds.  

In fact, Styles is known to say those exact words during many of his concerts. He does so to express his gratitude for his fans and reflect on where he came from, a small town with a single mother and zero connections to anyone in the music field.