Crooner Sam Smith. Photo: SuppliedSam Smith has been criticised for a series of tweets in which he described witnessing a friend being racially abused.
In one of the tweets, posted in the early hours of Wednesday morning, he wrote: “I feel like I have to say something. I’m just so upset. So UPSET.” Just experienced my friend getting verbally abused racially in London. I am absolutely SPEECHLESS.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016I never ever ever ever thought that would happen here. Absolutely speechless and hurt.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016I feel like I have to shine some sort of light on it. The police were so unhelpful in the situation and its deeply shocked me.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016
After he tweeted the comments ‘Sam Smith’ became a trending topic as critics slammed his seemingly cloistered outlook on racial attitudes in Britain: Why are people surprised that Sam Smith is only discovering racism exists? He’s white. He wouldn’t even know what racism feels like.— En Sabah Nur (@RakimIllest) January 20, 2016I hope Sam Smith’s train isn’t late tomorrow. Not sure if he can handle another surprise at this time.— Genuine Eel (@genuine_eel) January 20, 2016Sam Smith is surprised racism exists in the UK. Unrelated: he won best male, R&B act, song and album at 2014 MOBOs. https://t.co/JfzNVJTygI— Thomas Seal (@TW_Seal) January 20, 2016Sam smith is living in the blindness world of white privilege. He’s “speechless” that racism still exists. Does he watch the news?— Fat-ley Gilbert (@Just_Ashley13) January 20, 2016Sam Smith makes big deal of him being shocked and hurt cause his friend experienced racism. White privilege level: Maximum— Jon Deep (@charlielunn182) January 20, 2016
However, some fans came to his defence: Don’t think Sam Smith genuinely thought racism didn’t exist. He was live tweeting after witnessing something that shocked him. You’re petty— Becky (@Little_Lilsx) January 20, 2016Well let’s hope Sam Smith has learnt his lesson and will now keep his mouth shut about how bad racism is. Good job, everyone!— BiggerBoat Film Quiz (@film_quiz) January 20, 2016Harsh write up of Sam Smith tweets. Surely just saying he wants to ‘shine light’ on incident, as friend doesn’t have 4m twitter followers.— Tom Thorogood (@TomThorogood) January 20, 2016
Smith, born Samuel Frederick, grew up in Great Chishill, Cambridgeshire, first hit the music scene in 2012, appearing on Disclosure’s single, Latch.
He’s since been described as Britain’s biggest musical export since Adele Adkins.
In 2015 he won four Grammys and set a record with his debut album In The Lonely Hour, which was in the UK top 10 for 67 consecutive weeks.
In October he made chart history as the first artist to top the charts with a James Bond theme song.
Writing’s on the Wall, the title track for the Bond film Spectre, went straight to number one with combined chart sales and streams of 70,000. The song was Smith’s fifth number one.
He said at the time: “It was such an honour to be asked to write and record Writing’s on the Wall and it’s incredible that it’s become the first number one Bond theme song. It’s been an unforgettable experience working with Barbara [Broccoli] and Sam [Mendes] to become part of this British legacy. I couldn’t have done this without my fans – this is a special moment I’ll never forget.”