Harry Styles famously sparked a backlash by saying ‘people like me’ don’t win Grammys. But what exactly does he mean?
The Watermelon Sugar singer, 29, has come under fire for his ‘tone deaf’ acceptance speech when he scooped Album Of The Year at the Grammy Awards.
He picked up the award for his third solo album, Harry’s House, beating Beyoncé, who had been a frontrunner with her album, Renaissance.
But he was accused of ‘white privilege’ after he said ‘people like me’ don’t win Grammys – with fans pointing out that as a white, cisgender male, the opposite is in fact true.
However, fans have jumped to his defence, with some saying the singer was pointing to his humble roots after growing up in a small village in the north of England.
Not everything has been plain-sailing for the star over the past year after receiving scathing film reviews, accusations of ‘queer baiting’ and the now notorious ‘spit-gate’ saga.
The singer (pictured at the Grammys) sparked a backlash when he said ‘people like me’ don’t win Grammys
Harry pictured with his father, Des Styles, a finance director
Harry Styles’ childhood home in the Cheshire village of Holmes Chapel
Harry Style’s remark has sparked a debate online about what exactly he meant when he said ‘people like me’
One journalist said that when Harry made the remark, he was referring to not being ‘posh and parentally blessed’.
She tweeted: ‘To a UK ear, when Harry Styles says “things like this don’t happen to people like me”—this is what he means,’ before linking to an article about British nepo babies.
Another said that ‘I think he means someone from a small, working class town with no connections becoming one of the biggest artists in the world, bc he said that after selling out Wembley, too but like… no one is gonna hear it that way?’
But some have contested whether Harry came from a working-class background.
The singer was born in Evesham, Worcestershire in 1993 to Anne, an office worker and Des, a finance director.
When he was seven, his parents divorced and he moved to the village of Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, with his mother and older sister, Gemma.
‘That was a really weird time,’ he later said.
Harry Styles as a youngster: The little boy said he cried when his parents divorced and it took a toll on him
‘I remember crying about it. I didn’t really get what was going on properly. I was just sad that my parents wouldn’t be together anymore’.
Harry, by his own account, said he had a ‘great childhood’ and felt supported by his family.
Speaking in a 2012 interview, his dad Des said he ‘used to see Harry and his sister Gemma every couple of weeks, I’ve always supported them financially and when I can emotionally.
He added: ‘I’m not an estranged dad. It was a tough time to leave them but these things happen.’
His mother Anne remarried in 2013 to Robin Twist, with Harry acting as best man at the wedding. Robin died from cancer in 2017.
Harry went on to attend Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School where he was the lead singer in a band called White Eskimo.
As a youngster he worked part-time at the W. Mandeville Bakery in Holmes Chapel.
Harry worked part-time at the W. Mandeville Bakery in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, where he grew up from the age of seven
Harry Styles auditioning for The X Factor back in 2010
Around the time Harry auditioned for The X Factor, in 2010, he had just finished his GCSEs and was planning to go to college in September to study law, sociology and business studies.
He was supported by his mother and stepfather Robin when he auditioned as a solo act for the ITV show, singing Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely’.
He impressed the judges and was put through to the next round, ultimately going on to join the boy band One Direction with Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne.
The band enjoyed a whole host of hits including What Makes You Beautiful, Story of My Life and Best Song Ever.
But in 2016, Styles and his bandmates decided to take a break from recording and touring, and he pursued a solo career signing with Columbia Records.
His single ‘Sign of the Times’ topped the UK Singles Chart in 2017, as well as his eponymous debut album ‘Harry Styles’.
Harry has since gone on to become a global artist and actor
That same year he also made his debut as an actor in World War Two film Dunkirk, receiving positive reviews.
His second solo album Fine Line also shot to success when it was released in 2019, breaking US sales records for a British male singer.
His song Watermelon Sugar won a string of awards including a Grammy for best pop solo performance and a BRIT Award for the British single of the year.
After being pictured on the front of the celebrity bible Vogue in a Gucci dress, he sparked a debate about masculinity and gender fluid fashion.
Fans praised Styles for the 2020 cover, in which he wore a blue gown and became the first solo male cover star to appear on it.
Harry Styles performing at Coachella in 2022
However Conservative commentator Candace Owens branded it an ‘outright attack on manly men’, prompting other celebrities to speak out in defence of the singer.
During his Vogue interview, Styles said, ‘I think if you get something that you feel amazing in, it’s like a superhero outfit.’
He has previously touched upon his sexuality in interviews, saying he ‘never felt the need’ to put a label on it.
But his team had to scramble to fight off accusations of queer baiting once again this year, as Harry hinted at not being straight but refused to label his sexuality, suggesting it is fluid.
Some fans pointed out that he has only ever dated – or at least been publicly seen dating – women
Harry went on to star as the leading role in Don’t Worry Darling, a psychological thriller directed by his now ex-girlfriend Olivia Wilde.
He is also set to feature in the romantic drama My Policeman, set in Brighton in the 1950s during which he plays a gay policeman.
But Harry was far from the critics’ choice in both of his movies this year, including Don’t Worry Darling, in which some said he failed to hold his own against the Oscar-nominated Florence Pugh.
He also received criticism for a Gucci ad campaign in which he poses in a teddy-bear t-shirt next to a toddler bed, just a few weeks after the fashion house’s sister brand Balenciaga was embroiled in a child imagery scandal.
Meanwhile, Harry’s House, his third album released in 2022, won three Grammys including album of the year and best pop vocal album.