“Someone spat at me on the street,” Sam Smith and Madonna showed what it’s like to receive hate based on their identity and self-presentation 

What these singers show is that being a pop star does not shelter one from nonsense attack. 

Sam Smith has been steadily embracing and unapologetically showing his genderless image after coming out as non-binary in 2019, a gender identity that seperate itself from the system of dichotomous gender distinction between men and women. The singer goes by they/them pronouns. 

Sam Smith

Debuting with the single “Lay Me Down” in 2013, Sam Smith has been acknowledged as a world-renowned pop star with impressive records. At the 65th Grammy Awards held at Crypto.com Arena on the 5th (Korea time), Sam Smith was honored to win the “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” category for “Unholy” featuring Kim Petras. This made Kim Petras the first transgender woman to win the Grammy Awards.

They were also one of the proponents that the Brit Awards should abolish the gender-specific categories (Best Male and Best Female Artist awards) in favor of more gender-neutral ones, a retaliation after the “Unholy” singer was deemed uneligible for nominations because the categories are gender-based. After this change, Sam Smith was nominted for this year’s “Song of the Year” and “British Pop/R&B Act” at the Brit Awards.

Sam Smith

While the change in the field is promising, Sam Smith shared that he still faced discrimination everyday on the street. In an interview with Apple Music, he said, “The amount of hate that came my way [from others] was just exhausting. What people don’t realise with trans [and] nonbinary people in the UK is it’s happening in the street. I’m being abused in the street verbally more than I ever have.” He shared the personal experience of being “[shouted] at me in the street. Someone spat at me in the street. It’s crazy.” He expressed his frustration that, “we’re in 2023 and it’s still happening. It’s exhausting and especially in England.” 

Cyber attack is also a prominent issue for the singer post-coming out. When Sam Smith showed explicit choreography in a corset-like dress and heels in the music video “I’m Not Here To Make Friends,” fierce debate erupted online about how the singer presented themselves and ignored the musical value of the album or the musicality of the musician. 

madonna grammys

Similarly, Madonna also faced backlash when she appeared at the 65th Grammys with a seemingly lifted face and botox-injected. Entirely different from her golden days, Madonna received negative responses from the public saying that she could not “have her own face” with plastics and botox. 

Amidst the ongoing backlash, Madonna replied, “Instead of focusing on what I said in my speech which was about giving thanks for the fearlessness of artists like Sam and Kim, Many people chose to only talk about close-up photos of me.” 


“Once again I am caught in the glare of ageism and misogyny that permeates the world we live in. A world that refuses to celebrate women past the age of 45 and feels the need to punish her If she continues to be strong-willed, hard-working, and adventurous.”

 Even at the face of the storm, Madonna “never apologized for any of the creative choices” and was willing to do “the trailblazing so that all the women behind me can have an easier time in the years to come,” according to Page Six. 

Source: daum

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