Oct 16th, 2019, 06:27 PM

He's Here. He's Queer. He's Harry Styles.

By Josi Pennington
Harry Styles Search. Image Credit: Flickr/Camy Styles
The Famed Artist's Coming Out Resparks Old and New Controversy Amidst Fans

The name "Harry Styles" is one that's been a hot topic since 2010, when he was placed in a band on the competitive music television show X-Factor that would soon become known as the world's biggest boyband in history, One Direction. Though the band went on hiatus in 2015 (though the "hiatus" has been since considered to be the band's official break up.) Harry has yet to step out of the spotlight himself. He was the first of the other One Direction members to release a full album after the band's split, in 2017. The self-titled album, Harry Styles, debuted at No. 1 of the Billboard 200 Charts, gave Styles the record for biggest debut sales week for a United Kingdom male artist’s first full-length album since 1991, and was quickly followed by two tours that took Styles around the world. In the same year, Styles debuted a promising acting career in the film Dunkirk, a drama that takes place in May of 1940 during the infamous Battle of Dunkirk. The movie was directed by well-known Christopher Nolan, and won three academy awards. After his explosive 2017 year, Styles' second world tour continued through July of 2018, before he effectively dropped off from the music and film scene altogether, leaving his fan base with bated breath, and wrought with anticipation for his next project.

With only an interview with Timothée Chalamet, and a Rolling Stones article prefacing his inevitable come back, Harry Styles has finally made his highly anticipated splash appearance back into the music world. The pop star made a Twitter appearance on October 5, tweeting only the word "Do" and effectively setting his old fandom ablaze with excitement. The internet was instantly buzzing with curiosity, the social media-sphere flooding with tweets, and posts questioning exactly what the cryptic tweet could mean. Styles indulged his fans with only minimal, and vague promotion before releasing his newest song "Lights Up" on Spotify and Apple Music. The song is a new sound for Styles, who was originally praised for his indie pop-rock sound featured on his self-titled album. This song seems to be curated with a surprisingly radio-friendly sound, with unique vocals and instrumentals to keep it a little bit more Styles-Authentic. Yet, the music video he dropped only a few days later stands to prove the duality of Styles, and juxtapositions the mellow nature of the song entirely.

While the song may have a more radio-friendly sound, the video features a less-radio-friendly shirtless Harry Styles. The video pulses with vivid neon reds, light pastel pinks, deep blue lights, and -- arguably most importantly -- erotic shots of half-naked people of all genders draping themselves over a sweat-slicked Styles. The video is certainly a step into a form of self-expression for the musician, and it's sparked quite a bit of conversation around Styles and his sexuality, though questions surrounding his involvement within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is certainly nothing new.

Harry Styles - Lights Up (Official Video)

Harry Styles Lights Up Video / Source: Youtube 

Throughout the popstar's time in One Direction, there were constant conspiracy theories swirling around about he and his suspected romantic relationship with bandmate Louis Tomlinson (The conspiracy theorists were quick to coin the pairing of both bandmates as "Larry Stylinson" in 2010). Though both band members vehemently denied the existence of "Larry Stylinson," the One Direction fan-base debates the topic of the denial's legitimacy to this day. Despite Styles and Tomlinson's dismissal of queer allegations, Styles seemed unperturbed by the possibility of queer-labels and shamelessly took to the habit of dancing around the worldwide stages of the final One Direction with a rainbow flag. This only fueled the fire of Styles' queer-inclined fans that insisted he wasn't straight, and still Styles continued to flash the Gay Pride Flag around every stage he performed on as a solo artist.

Harry Styles is gay culture: a study

Harry Styles and Gay Culture / Source:Youtube 

His open support as an ally to the LGBT community was often chalked up to his very public role as a civil and environmental rights activist by those who debated the idea of Styles as a member of the queer community. Styles has never been shy in speaking up about his personal set of morals, especially in the realm of equality, and he even based the entirety of his concert merchandise on the phrase "Treat People With Kindness." Many argued that Styles didn't have to be of diverse sexuality to dance with the pride flag and openly support the LGBT community, and strongly maintained the idea that he was heterosexual. Still, rumors swirled consistently about Styles' sexuality, and whether or not the idea of his heterosexuality was valid. 

As of just last week, some of these fan theories have finally found peace. Styles' new music video seems to be his effective and official coming out of the closet. Still doubtful? Get this: he also released the music video on National Coming Out Day. The musician certainly doesn't seem to be one for subtlety. He's confessed that his upcoming album (Titled 'Fine Line' and set to release on December 13th) is "all about having sex and feeling sad." The question everyone seems to be pondering in the wake of his music video is: What next? Is it possible that Styles just may step into the role of an openly queer advocate for the community? Could he be planning on touching even further on his extensively-debated sex life in the context of his own diverse sexuality? Could his album additions about sex possibly branch into the use of male pronouns?

While Styles has always been very vocally open about what he believes in, he's also been incredibly quiet in regards to his private life. In fact, he's known for his silence on social media. He's commented, "On a personal level, I feel a noticeable change in how happy I am when I’m not on social media. Someone once described it to me like a house party, where there are three people who are great and 23 people who aren’t that nice. You just wouldn’t go to that party would you?" Whether he'll choose to remain out of the spotlight or to step into a queer label and begin campaigning even more for a community that he may decide to call his is certainly still to be pondered. His lack of willingness to talk about his life intimately beyond occasional interviews may continue to reign true. Or, perhaps this music video signifies a new beginning and a newly intimate look at the world-famous artist. Nonetheless, keep your eye on Harry Styles. He's made it clear he's chock-full of surprises, and it just may change the course of music history and sexual freedom forever.

A Final Note:

If you wish to keep up with the popstar's recent agenda, Styles' most recently planned performance will be on November 16th, as both the host, and guest musician of Saturday Night Live, the famed live American television variety show. The episode is highly anticipated after his last successful appearance on the show. It's sure to be well worth tuning into!