Sara Bareilles became one of the most visible gay-rights activists in the music world when her song “Brave” tore to the top of the charts, but not everyone is comfortable with her place in the same sex marriage debate.
The song and its strong but not-too-specific message has been embraced by everyone from cancer survivors to those struggling to come out of the closet. But some have criticized artists like Sara Bareilles and Macklemore for taking up the banner of gay rights while not living the struggle themselves.
The UK newspaper Guardian took aim at Bareilles in the Music Blog. Writer Charlotte Richardson Andrews, who herself is gay, wrote:
“But how long will heterosexual artists have the privilege of mediating on our behalves from their pop chart eyries? Isn’t something amiss when an artist is crowned spokesperson for a community to which they do not belong? And at what point do these allies give up the floor to the queers they’re professing so much acceptance of?”
This is not the first time some within the gay community have taken issue with artists otherwise seen as allies. Jared Leto took some criticism for portraying a trans woman in the movie Dallas Buyers Club, with some saying the role should have went to a trans actor.
Others took issue for not mentioning the trans community in his Oscar acceptance speech.
“I was really ignited by gay rights and getting gay marriage supported,” she said last year. “But the song took on a life of its own and I’ve received so much of people sharing their stories.”
But others have been more tempered in criticism of Sara Bareilles and Macklemore, acknowledging their contributions while also calling for greater visibility for LGBT artists.