Harry Styles’ Grammys speech sparks divide over ‘white privilege’


Harry Styles’ speech at the Grammys has caused a major stir (Picture: Getty Images)

Harry Styles has been called out for his ‘white male privilege’ after claiming his Grammy Awards win was a rarity for ‘people like him’, however, fans have rushed to his defence to explain what they think is the true meaning behind his controversial comment. 

The Watermelon Sugar singer enjoyed a hugely successful night at this year’s Grammys on Sunday, winning the coveted album of the year award for his album Harry’s House, beating the likes of Beyonce’s Renaissance and Adele’s 30. 

Beyonce fans were particularly incensed about Harry’s win as it was the fourth time the singer had been sensationally snubbed in the category despite being hotly-tipped to scoop the grand prize. 

In his acceptance speech, Harry, 29, said: ‘This doesn’t happen to people like me very often and this is so, so nice.’ 

It sparked outrage among those who feel the popstar’s win over Beyonce and Latin artist Bad Bunny is a sign of a ‘white male privilege’. 

One commented: ‘“This doesn’t happen to people like me very often” you are literally a white man.’ 

The singer won the coveted album of the year prize for Harry’s House, but not everyone thinks he deserved it (Picture: Reuters)
Harry’s critics have reminded him of his white privilege (Picture: FilmMagic)

Another joined in: ‘Harry styles said “this doesn’t happen to people like me” b***h it only happens to people like you, you’re literally the pinnacle of white privilege and a black woman hasn’t won that award since 1999, what exactly do you mean young man?’ 

One other said: ‘If there was ever a time when specificity was necessary, it was after #HarryStyles delivered THAT line. Elaborate babes so people dont put their own assumed narrative on your words.

‘Bet money we could have avoided all this discourse, cuz now it sounds tone deaf AF!’ 

Another critic weighed in: ‘Harry Styles….. a cishet white man…… got up on stage at the biggest award show in the world and said “this doesn’t happen to people like me”. How tone deaf could you possibly be I would really like to know what he meant by that.’ 

However, many others – particularly from the UK – jumped to Harry’s defence and suggested that the singer was referring to his upbringing in a small town in Worcestershire, rising to fame on The X Factor and not having the benefit of nepotism. 

Beyonce would have been the first Black woman to win album of the year since 1999 (Picture: Rex Features)
Harry is yet to address the rumours (Picture: Rex Features)

Offering a different perspective, one supporter said: ‘I’ve seen this quite a lot re: the grammys and i think it’s very telling of the american perception of class as a marginalised characteristic compared to the uk because i immediately knew what he was on about, while i’m sympathetic to how it *can* read.’  

Another wrote: ‘Harry Styles is one of the most humble, grateful, most aware of his privilege celebrities out there. He says “things like this don’t happen to people like me” at almost every show. It’s not Grammy specific. He means people from small towns without industry connections.’ 

Throwing the singer another bone, one other fan explained the difference in attitudes towards class in the UK and the US.

‘The uk has a complicated relationship to class wherein even if you are successful it’s hard to actually “transcend” class (esp in arts), which is why we have such deep new money, old money divide and regional bias (again see how it *will* fairly be read but that is the context),’ another said. 

One asked: ‘Are we sure he doesn’t just mean someone who used to be in a boy band?’ 

Beyonce would have been the first Black female artist to win the album of the year Grammy since 1999 when Lauryn Hill won for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. 

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Harry’s reps for comment.

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