I think Ed Sheeran had good intentions, but his latest comments kind of struck a nerve.
Now let me preface this with the fact that I grew up with one foot in both worlds. I was (read: am) a “nerd,” “geek,” whatever you want to call it. I have never thought of myself as being a “cool” kid, but I was definitely a “jock” athlete-smart-kid, too. So, I see where Sheeran was coming from with what he was saying, but tearing down one side to bring the other up… isn’t really the best way to give the “uncool” kids the confidence boost they could use.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, before being honored at the American Institute for Stuttering’s Freeing Voices Changing Lives Benefit Gala, he said, “Most of the people I knew that were normal in school are all pretty dull right now — they go to the gym four times a week and look at themselves in the mirror a lot, but they don’t really have a lot to say… Most of the people that are successful started life off as a weird kid with no friends.”
Sheeran was being commended at the fundraiser for overcoming his stutter. During his speech, he said, “I was a very, very weird child… The thing I found most difficult was knowing what to say but not really being able to express it the right way.”
I think that is exactly what happened with his first comments.
He was trying to make it OK for the “uncool” kids to be uncool. Letting them know it’s OK and that it gets better, but it shouldn’t have been at the expense of the “normal” kids. He continued, “I wanted to not necessarily to shed light on stuttering or make it a thing, but stress to kids, in general, to just be yourself, because there’s not one in the world that can be better you than you.”
Yes! Well said, Ed! But, unfortunately, he didn’t stop there. He started in with the cool kid bashing again.
He followed that sentence with, “If you try to be the cool kid in class, you’ll end up boring and doing plumbing for someone who apparently wasn’t that cool.”
Come on, Ed! You’re better than that. If you had just left it with, “Embrace your weirdness,” you would have been all right. Being cool doesn’t make your a bad person the same way being “weird” doesn’t either.