James Blake Says The “Sad Boy” Label Is “Unhealthy And Problematic”

Burak Cingi/Redferns

James Blake Says The “Sad Boy” Label Is “Unhealthy And Problematic”

Burak Cingi/Redferns

James Blake shared a stunning single called “Don’t Miss It” this week. In surveying the response to the song, Blake noticed several people describing him as a “sad boy.” He apparently gets that a lot, and this time it inspired him to share a statement about the need for men to open up emotionally and for society to stop stigmatizing such expression. He posted the message on Twitter yesterday, captioning with, “Please read. I’ve wanted to say this for a long time, and now seemed as good a time as any.”

Here’s what Blake had to say:

I’m overwhelmed by the lovely response to Don’t Miss It today.

But I can’t help but notice, as I do whenever I talk about my feelings in a song, that the words “sad boy” are used to describe it.

I’ve always found that expression to be unhealthy and problematic when used to describe men just openly talking about their feelings. To label it at all, when we don’t ever question women discussing the things they are struggling with, contributes to the ever disastrous historical stigmatisation of men expressing themselves emotionally.

We are already in an epidemic of male depression and suicide. We don’t need any further proof that we have hurt men with our questioning of their need to be vulnerable and open.

It is only ever a good thing to talk about what is on your mind.

Please don’t allow people who fear their own feelings to ever subliminally shame you out of getting anything off your chest, or identifying with music that helps you. There is no great victory in machismo and bravado in the end. The road to mental health and happiness, which I feel so passionately about, is paved with honesty.

Sorry for this “sad boy” letter, but I’ve seen enough friends drown in this, and almost drowned in it myself because I bottled everything up, afraid of being seen as weak or soft. I now see the great strength, and benefit for those around you in actually opening up.


James x

Blake and Sufjan Stevens also released covers of Moses Sumney’s “Make Out In My Car” this week. Check those out here.

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