Opinion: Sam Smith and The Myth of Blue-Eyed Soul
Anyone who buys into the idea that white artists blue-eyed soul are being more true to soul are being willfully obtuse
Whenever people argue "If Black artists learn to stand there and sing like Adele and Sam Smith," I think of one person: Jazmine Sullivan. Then I think of others. Luke James. Jill Scott. Ledisi. Countless others. I don’t have a problem with Adele or Sam Smith. Adele seems absolutely lovely, and when I feel like swimming into an ocean of melancholy to the tune of a British accent, she’s the second person I think of (Amy Winehouse is forever the first).
And while I feel like Sam Smith is to gay politics what Don Lemon is to conversations about race, his gifts as a singer and songwriter are undeniable. Still, when it comes to chatter about the plight of contemporary R&B artists and their difficulty netting the successes of their white peers, too many gloss over the reality that Black artists are in a radio climate that calls for Black music mostly from those who aren’t actually Black. Hello, Iggy Azalea. Hi, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse.” What up, though, Adele and Sam Smith?
It’s not white artist’s fault that they get this added bonus, but we all should be more honest about what’s going on.
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