You may not be able to pick him out of a lineup, you may not have heard a single one of his chart-topping songs, you might not know who he’s dating (spoiler alert, it’s Olivia Wilde, saved you a click). But chances are that once you know who he is, you won’t be able to get away from him.
Harry “Watermelon Sugar” Styles, British pop icon that rocketed to fame while barely leaving puberty behind, seems to be no stranger to controversy. He’s been the subject of ire from his own fanbase on multiple occasions over the years, spawning online slapfights for undeniably trivial issues. The digital mob has attempted to cancel him for wearing a feathered headdress, for re-tweeting a picture of himself edited to look like he had darker skin, and for following figures on Twitter that they found problematic.
Harry’s cardinal sin was being a teenaged social media user in the era of the “problematic” – an ever-evolving landscape of what’s-appropriate-today-may-not-be-appropriate-tomorrow. Your kids live in the fallout of this era, and while Mr. Styles has managed to pick himself up and dust himself off from the name calling and attempted canceling (surely helped along by his many millions acquired through his music and acting career), average kids might not be so lucky.
His message is one of self improvement, moving on, and being unabashedly yourself. But he’s no liar about the harshness of reality and the darkness we all face. This dovetails nicely with the lessons your kids would do well to hear repeated – life will not be kind to you, but if you are exceptionally honest with yourself and those around you, you stand a chance at making it out in one piece.
Is this the reason for Harry Styles’s meteoric rise and subsequent plateau there? Is this the message everyone needs right now?
Time will tell. In the meantime, at least the music is catchy.