Sam Smith reflects on becoming a gay 'spokesperson'
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Sam Smith may be good at communicating through his music, but saying the “right thing” doesn’t always come easily to him.
In an emotional new interview with The New York Times, the singer talks about the challenges of being a public figure.
The backlash against him reached a fever pitch after his infamously botched Oscar acceptance speech last year, during which he mistakenly claimed to be the first gay person to win an Oscar.
“I’m not the most eloquent person,” he admitted. “I didn’t get the best grades in school. I mean, I’m just good at singing.”
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Smith, 25, says he looks to the late George Michael as a guide — not just in music, but in the way he used his platform to be a spokesperson for the gay community.
“I just feel like I’m going to offend someone every time I open my mouth,” he said. “I feel like George Michael had a way of being authentic to himself and honest in a way that was warm.”
“People forget but no one learns about gay history in school. Nothing. So I didn’t know anything about my history as a gay man and then words like ‘spokesperson’ are being thrown at me when I’ve just brought out my first album," he continued. "It scared me because I was like, I don’t know anything about being gay, really.”
To that end, the Oscar winner made it a point to start educating himself, but he said he’s still learning.
“The only thing I’d like everyone to know is I’m really sorry if I say the wrong things,” he said. “I don’t want to offend anyone and my intentions are genuinely pure and good. I’m still trying to figure [expletive] out and I’d like to be treated like a human. If I make mistakes, don’t kill me.”