The 1975 frontman Matty Healy is the most woke musician out there, and he confirmed it at the BRITS
'Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of 'difficult' artists, women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don't understand art'
When The 1975 won the Best Group at the Brits Awards in 2017, frontman Matty Healy had a certain message for the distinguished and tipsy gathering. "People in pop music and in the broader public consciousness are told to stay in their lane... when it comes to social issues... stay in your lane. But if you have a platform, please don’t do that," Healy said, "speaking for the band for a change."
"Best speech of the night is already Matty Healy's. He's woke and he's telling every self obsessed celeb in that room to be woke. YES. #BRITs," a suitably impressed @EmilyBashforth wrote on Twitter then.
Given that Healy comes from a school of thought that believes that if you have an audience, you should teach them something, it came as no surprise that when the band collected their Brits Awards for Best Group (2019) on Wednesday, Healy had a message up his sleeve (the inner pocket of his tuxedo, to be accurate).
Taking out a piece of paper from his pocket, Healy began, "I just want you to listen to me for one sec," Healy said, "Just a couple of sentences that a friend of ours, Laura Snapes, said this, and I thought we should all really think about it."
He then read the quote: "Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of 'difficult' artistes, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don’t understand art."
Snapes, a Guardian deputy music editor, had referenced the quote — which appeared in an article she had written about Mark Kozelek in 2015 — and in a recent column, where she wrote about allegations of abuse against musician Ryan Adams.
It can't get more meta than that, but in The 1975 universe, it was on par for the course. The message reasonated with many, especially coming at a time when a high profile musician like Ryan Adams is facing intense scrutiny for his alleged abusive behaviour toward women, including the ones he had been in a relationship with.
short and powerful, nothing but respect for the 1975. pic.twitter.com/tLVN0Mf8eh— freya🍒 (@shesthundrstrms) February 20, 2019
Healy also seemed to have been making visible amends for his remarks in December last year when he was reported as saying that "misogyny doesn't happen in rock and roll anymore."
Talking about sexism in the rock universe, he told The Fader, "Those things get weeded out the longer those things exist."
He added, "The reason misogyny doesn't happen in rock and roll anymore is because it's a vocabulary that existed for so long is that it got weeded out. It still exists in hip-hop because [the genre] is so young, but it'll stop."
Immediate backlash followed, and many female musicians said that Healy was wrong and that misogyny was still an everyday event.
@Truman_Black Imagine having so much male privilege you can't even see misogyny.— Eliza Egan (@ElizaSEgan) December 4, 2018
Also watching him use hip-hop as a coded attack on the black community when rock and roll was built by black artists is hilarious and sad.
So disappointed by these comments made by @Truman_Black we hope he recognises the privilege that these comments are reflecting as we are evidence of misogyny being very much alive in rock and roll. https://t.co/tUvaPZMMng— Girls Against (@girlsagainst) December 5, 2018
Rather than double down, Healy was humble enough to apologize without hiding behind the crutch of being misquoted.
"This bit of me talking in an interview reads as patronising, uninformed and reductive," he wrote on Twitter. "And to be fair it is. And I’d like to apologise."
He continued, "What I said isn’t correct. And it’s not all a misquote. Just for clarity, I said that misogyny wasn’t ALLOWED in rock and roll now days in a way it is in hip hop – not that it doesn’t exist, that’s maybe a misquote as I’m aware of the misogyny in rock-n-roll…"
This bit of me talking in an interview reads as patronising, uninformed and reductive. And to be fair it is. And I’d like to apologise....(thread) pic.twitter.com/UMO62lzVgn— matty (@Truman_Black) December 5, 2018
He further said that he would "never deny the RAMPANT misogyny" that exists within the genre. "It’s everywhere and has been a weirdly accepted part of it since its inception," he said. "BUT now looking at what I said – I was simplifying a complex issue without the right amount of education on the subject."
. BUT now looking at what I said - I was simplifying a complex issue without the right amount of education on the subject— matty (@Truman_Black) December 5, 2018
Seems like The 1975 frontman has been educating himself on the subject since then, and he appeared to have found the right things to say in Snapes' assessment of male misogyny in the music industry.
And given that the band also picked up the Best Album award for their third album 'Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships' later in the night, Healy was assured that there would be enough of the audience receptive to the message.
They even threw in a quirky live performance of the "good bowl of soup levels wholesome" 'Sincerity is Scary' from their winning album at the awards to make the message go down smooth.