Sam Smith is living their best life. With their song “Unholy” with German pop singer Kim Petras topping music charts globally, a Grammy Award and two BRIT Awards pending, and now their latest album, Gloria, is officially out, they have plenty to be excited about. But one thing that’s trying to rain on their parade is the backlash aimed at their latest music video “I’m Not Here To Make Friends”.
Created by Smith, super producers Stargate, Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, and Canadian singer Jessie Reyez, the song makes it clear that Smith is not looking for friends, but for a lover. The song also features an intro from Reyez and the famed drag queen turned media mogul RuPaul.
The music video is a high class, queer, British affair. The visual for “I’m Not Here To Make Friends” features Smith flying in from a helicopter in an extravagant pink feathered outfit in order to crash a party at a massive estate. Smith, along with a bevy of scantily clad partygoers, frolics around lavish bathrooms, drinks champagne while standing on top of a piano, swings from a chandelier a la Sia, and performs choreography in an ornate ballroom, until they finally make their exit atop of a moving car.
The music video is decadent and sexy, but most of all, it’s unapologetically queer. The visual has received plenty of praise from fans, but it’s receiving flack from critics as well. Conservatives have deemed Smith’s music video “too sexual” and inappropriate for Smith’s younger fan base, consequently requesting age restrictions on the video. Other critics have taken issue with Smith’s attire and their body, leaning further into fatphobic rhetoric.
Fans have been quick to point out that this energy towards Smith’s music video for “I’m Not Here To Make Friends” would’ve been absent if a pop star who was a cisgender woman had created it instead. Additionally, other Smith supporters have pointed out that fellow U.K. singer Harry Styles, known for his gender-bending clothing, has received praise for his attire, whereas Smith, a nonbinary performer, continues to receive criticism for wearing whatever they want.
Regardless of the backlash, fans of Smith and their latest album Gloria have flocked to their defense.
I have no time for this Sam Smith nonsense pic.twitter.com/GPVw28kRZT
— Jordan-Lee (@Jordan_Lee) January 30, 2023
Sam Smith’s I’m Not Here To Make Friends music video was a serve and I’m liking the whole Gloria album tbh.✨pic.twitter.com/7SnB7D3O1C
— Rod (@bignerdyrod) January 28, 2023
To be honest, the Sam Smith video is pretty fucking tame and if you’re shocked by it, you are deeply, deeply sad
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) January 30, 2023
People are kicking off saying Sam Smith’s video shouldn’t be allowed on YouTube…but millions of people watching Andrew Tate’s misogyny is fine? Make it make sense.
— Dr Charlotte Proudman (@DrProudman) January 30, 2023
The backlash against Sam Smith is absolutely about people not wanting people to be overtly sexual unless they’re skinny
— marcus 🇧🇧🏳️🌈 (@marcusjdl) January 29, 2023
All this Pearl clutching over Sam Smith's latest video, reminds me of when Divine appeared on TOTP back in 1984, & The Bigots & UK Media lost their f*cking minds. pic.twitter.com/wgVFaZNzAs
— Mikey Walsh (@thatbloodyMikey) January 28, 2023
I hate the “if Harry Styles wore it you’d be gagging” argument for Sam Smith because one, fat bodies’ aspiration shouldn’t be throwing on whatever skinny people do for some weird equality. Also, Harry’s styled looks are often a mess too…
— Ira (@iramadisonthree) January 30, 2023
When Britney was only 18 she was heavily criticized by parents as if she was responsible for how children reacted to everything she did. Now Sam Smith is being called a groomer. Britney and Sam are NOT your kids’ parents. Your kids are YOUR responsibility. Not theirs. Get a clue pic.twitter.com/m4o5RhlaIF
— Dylan (@dyl1517) January 31, 2023
The more that shallow gays hate on Sam Smith only makes me appreciate Sam Smith even more. Fuck your self-hating bullshit and get into the art of it all.
— Peaches Christ (@PeachesChrist) January 31, 2023
Well, Smith said it best, they’re not here to make friends. Instead, they’re here to make hits.
Never too much ✨ pic.twitter.com/ANKVPEvoXV
— SAM SMITH (@samsmith) January 29, 2023