English singer-songwriter James Blake has taken to Twitter following the release of his latest single, urging his male fans to open up and talk about their struggles. The statement came in response to the backlash new track “Don’t Miss It” had faced, apparently due to the lyrics’ emotional and autobiographical content.
Though Blake opened the note by thanking fans for the “lovely response” the song had gotten, he made it clear that not everyone was happy with the track, which opens with the lyrics “the world has shut me out, if I give everything I’ll lose everything”. He noted that repeatedly, whenever he “would talk about [his] feelings in a song”, people were quick to label him a “sad boy”.
He went on to discuss exactly why he found the term problematic, citing the double-standard when it comes to male and female artists exploring their emotions through song. He said that to label his music ‘sad boy music’, when as a culture “we don’t ever question women discussing the things they are struggling with, contributes to the ever-disastrous historical stigmatisation of men expressing themselves emotionally.”
Please read. I’ve wanted to say this for a long time, and now seemed as good a time as any. pic.twitter.com/1fSPt7SJnx
— James Blake (@jamesblake) May 26, 2018
His note also touched on the problem of depression and suicide amongst men, and emphasised that talking about hardships is a strong thing to do, not at all “weak or soft” as men are so often lead to believe. He ended with an appeal to his male fans to “be vulnerable and open” saying: “there is no great victory in machismo and bravado in the end”.