Country star Sam Williams wasn’t exactly in the closet before the premiere of his new music video, which finds him kissing another man (his real-life boyfriend) on camera for the first time. But with his “Tilted Crown” video, and upcoming interview with Apple Music’s Proud Radio, the 24-year-old artist is opening up about his sexuality on a whole new level.
Williams, who is a part of that Williams family–he’s the son of Hank Williams Jr., who once said Obama is a Muslim who “loves gays… and we hate him”–centers his video on his own, difficult road towards self-acceptance.
Directors Alexa and Stephen Kinigopoulos brought up the idea of including a gay kiss, and after some deliberation, Williams agreed it was an important part of his story to tell.
“I felt like I was promoting invisibility, like I wasn’t being visible and wasn’t being myself. And I just thought it was the perfect opportunity to just show who I was,” he told Apple’s Hunter Kelly.
When Kelly asked about his sexuality, Williams said, “I identify as gay, and I’ve never said that to anybody else. I mean, people at my label know and people in my personal life know, but this is the first time that I’ve ever been, besides a show or two, that I’ve ever been this public about it. And it is scary, but it feels good.”
The singer hopes that by speaking out so publicly, he can help other small-town natives who are struggling in the closet.
Williams said it was “exhaustive” to conceal who he was when he was younger, and that, “if I was a kid, and I was younger, and I saw somebody like myself doing an interview like this and just saying that, ‘This is who I am and I’m proud to be who I am,’ that it would have been impactful for me. So I think at the end of the day, that’s one of the most important reasons why I’m being so open.”
While many viewers have understandably interpreted the older, male character in the video who urges the young boy to behave more manly to be a stand-in for his father, Williams said that’s not exactly accurate.
“That’s not necessarily playing my dad, that’s playing society as a whole… pointing young kids in direction of like, ‘This is what girly girls do. You wear this pink bow and you go to Sunday service.’ Or, like with little boys, ‘You go hunting…’ [or] ‘This is what you’re supposed to be doing, son,’” he explained.
But some elements do seem to ring close to home. “[My dad] pushed me go to hunting, I do have to give him that. He did push me to go hunting,” he admitted.
Williams joins other singers like Brandi Carlile, TJ Osborne, Cody Alan, Ty Herndon, Shane McAnally, Billy Gilman and Chely Wright who’ve openly embraced their LGBTQ identities and actively made country music a more accepting industry.
We look forward to seeing the talented star continue to rise and make waves.
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