The 2015 Grammy Awards had a lot of moments. Some were cringeworthy, others delightful. For me the moment that stands above all others was when Sam Smith held up his Grammy, and said “This is the best night of my life,” then in a brave and steady voice, “Just a quick one — I want to thank the man who this record is about, who I fell in love with last year. Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammys!”
I grew up in a different era, when the Grammys were controlled by old people who would have censored such a moment. If Elton John stood up and openly proclaimed his love, his publicist would have fired him, and all of Hollywood would have turned their back on him. In an interview in a 1984 edition of The Face magazine, Grammy-winner George Michael insisted he was not gay, leading me to conclude that I must be the only gay person on Earth.
It was at that exact moment when Sam lifted the Grammy and spoke without fear that I realized we have finally arrived. Sam did not have to wait until his boy band broke up to confess his homosexuality. He did not have to pretend to be straight to sing songs that have garnered hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. He didn’t have to hold a dark secret behind his jewel-encrusted candelabra.
I hope Sam knows how his few words are like a tipping point to a revolution that began in Riots in the late 1960’s, a revolution that survived cocaine and disco, a revolution that grew into a deadly epidemic and endured. On February 8, 2015 the revolution ended. Sam stands on the shoulders of giants. I felt great relief in that moment.
Of course this revolution must now spread to distant nations, where Sam would be hanged or beheaded if he tried to perform there. It still needs to reach the dark corners of America and Europe where hatred is still encouraged and rewarded. But for this brilliant moment in time, the scale has tipped in our favor. The Hollywood Ouroboros has vomited its own tail, and allowed people to be who they really are. Here in California and in many civilized corners of the Earth, the media has not just accepted us; it has embraced us.
Just as an added bonus, my second favorite moment was when Taylor Swift said she was proud to call Sam Smith her friend. It made me wish I could be her friend, too. I guess I could follow her on Twitter. And tied for second place was a great moment when Mary J Blige finished singing a duet with Sam, and they embraced.
I know some haters are gonna hate, but to me, the embrace was a visual acknowledgement that the struggle for Civil Rights is a shared experience between our communities. [hater: No, it’s not! How can you say a lifestyle choice is the same as the color of your skin!] to the hater, I say, “how can you fail to see the tremendous common ground we share”?
From a spark that ignited into a raging fire when a brave drag queen threw a bottle at a New York City cop, we have seen the fires burn for almost half a century, waiting for the institutionalized violence and oppression to finally collapse. They came down at last, when a brave man held his Grammy high and toppled the walls.