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Harry Styles, You Need Media Training


AP Photo/Chris Pizzello


I usually don’t bat an eye when people mention that there will be an award show. The performances tend to be underwhelming and none of my favorite artists ever win. For some reason, I decided to watch the 65th Grammy Awards this year. Every guest at the award show made sure to show up in their most eye-catching designer outfit.


Specifically, Harry Styles seemed to be wearing a different bright and sparkly outfit every time he was on the screen. While the outfits were certainly…something…Harry’s wardrobe changes were outshined by his train wreck of a speech, which takes me to my big question… WHERE was his publicist?


Harry Styles, the pop artist who usually remains inoffensive and light-hearted, pissed a LOT of people off this week. It all began at the end of the show when he took home the award for Album of the Year. “I think on nights like tonight it’s important for us to remember there is no such thing as ‘best’ in music. I don’t think any of us sit in the studio making decisions on what is going to get us one of these," OK…sounds fine…“I’m just so— This doesn’t happen to people like me very often and this is so, so nice. Thank you very much.” and that's where everything went to shit. Styles was up against Bad Bunny, who would have been the first Puerto Rican to receive the award, and Beyoncé, who would have been the first win for a black woman since 1999.


So what did Harry mean by “people like him,” and why didn’t his team tell him not to say it? He probably meant regular kids who start out on The X-Factor don’t normally win Grammys, but as a conventionally attractive British man, Styles was never at a disadvantage. The problem with what Harry said is part of a nuanced conversation and look, we’re just a public relations firm.


This is exactly why we do media training to weigh out how the public could view a statement like this. The right publicist would’ve gone over the speech with Harry, helped him choose smarter wording, and prepared him for various ways the public could perceive it. Harry is the face of his brand, and right now his brand reputation is going to sh*t. In a day and age where opinions spread like wildfire, an oversight like this is a pretty big deal.


Now would probably be the time for Harry to release a statement clarifying what he meant and taking accountability. Hopefully, his team can help him out this time, since it seems like he doesn’t always have a way with words.


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