Fans of Sam Smith have been overjoyed as of late as the artist has finally shared their latest album, "Gloria." Jam-packed with 20 moving tracks and tapping a few notable collaborators, "Gloria" is a perfect addition to Sam's catalog and a summative look at the artist's latest career evolution.
One standout song from "Gloria" — "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" — has already received the music video treatment, but it is spurring controversy as well. Indeed, their performance in the visual accompaniment to the new song is bringing about divisive opinions and putting the conversation of double standards in music at the forefront. Let's take a look at what's going on.
Sam Smith's music video controversy: Why are people upset?
On Jan. 28, 2023, Sam shared their music video for "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" on YouTube. The track, which is a collaboration with Jessie Reyez and Calvin Harris, is an energetic, dance-oriented piece with lyrics nodding toward promiscuity and partying. That concept isn't too foreign to most popular music consumers, but it's Sam's accompanying music video to the track that has drawn flack.
In it, Sam can be seen dancing while wearing a corset and nipple tassels. Background dancers also dance suggestively behind the star while they navigate through a remote castle. At one point, Sam's corset-nipple tassel look is displayed prominently while the singer poses suggestively and is showered by water jets. To some viewers, "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" was entirely too sexualized for their liking.
One prominent naysayer to Sam's freedom of sexual expression was conservative figurehead Candace Owens. She shared a video on YouTube calling Sam's new video "disgusting."
"It should be thrown out. People should walk away from this. These people should not be allowed to perform on stage ... What it's doing to people's minds over time, trying to soften them to the ideas of pornography," Candace commented.
Another conservative commentator, Oli London, shared his views on Sam's music video on social media as well. "Until YouTube puts an age restriction on Sam Smith's music video, I will continue to call [them] out," he tweeted. "We cannot allow the music industry to keep pushing such depraved videos on kids. Whether it’s Cardi B 'WAP' or Sam Smith, these videos should not be accessible to kids."
It appears as though Sam is taking the criticism against them in stride. A day after the music video was posted, they shared an image of themselves from the "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" shoot with the caption, "Never too much," an apparent response to those criticizing the video.
During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Sam said "nothing seedy went on, guys, it wasn't weird," once again addressing the video shoot's critics.