Powerhouse singer/legend Stephanie Mills has a mellifluous chirp like no other—and, apparently, talons. She wielded them Sunday to drag Brit soul-esque singer Sam Smith, who it seems has his foot in his mouth nearly as often as he has a mic next to it.
What dumb thing did Sam Smith say this time? In a now-deleted video posted to Instagram by fellow pop singer Adam Lambert, Smith declared, “I don’t like Michael Jackson but this a good song,” while “Human Nature” from Thriller played in the background. To be fair, it is a good song. To be fair twice, which is more of a courtesy than I’ve ever extended to Sam Smith, this is merely an opinion, to which he is certainly entitled.
But as opinions go, not liking Michael Jackson, whose best music was so beloved to be as close as any art ever came to being objectively good, is a really bad one. This is especially so if you’re a pop star and interested in being conversant with your medium. (But then again, Sam Smith seems to have trouble with context.)
Enter Stephanie Mills, whose deep cuts wipe the floor with Sam Smith’s mainstream hits (more than half the reason I jumped at the opportunity to create this post was to link out to “You Can’t Run from My Love”). She took to Instagram to write a stern response to Smith’s expressed distaste, going as far as to tease out its racial implications (“I’m so tired of you people studying our music, and studying our artist and claiming that you don’t like our music).” Her message to Smith is in the caption is below:
To be fair a third time to Smith, which I never thought I’d have to do as long as I lived in a single post, he canceled a tour in 2015 to undergo vocal surgery—it’s not like he missed performances because he had to go cry. Also he’s had more than one hit. But whatever, when the great Stephanie Mills steps up to smack someone on the nose with her glove, I stand back and enjoy it.
I do like Michael Jackson, and this is a good gif:
Some hours later, Mills posted on Instagram about a 2016 rumor that Sam Smith yelled “black cunt” on a London street.
Smith’s eventual recounting of...whatever the incident was that day diverged significantly from this account.
Anyway, it’s your move, Sam.