Ellen Tout sings praise for the song that’s breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes.
The first time I heard Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis’ single, Same Love, I was speechless and moved. Featuring singer-songwriter Mary Lambert, the track bravely supports same-sex marriage, challenging both religion and Hip Hop’s prejudices toward the gay community. “I might not be the same, but that’s not important. No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it,” he sings.
With such controversial lyrics one thing was certain, I thought- Same Love would not be played on mainstream radio stations. But it was, in fact the single has been a huge success in both the UK and America. The song has firmly held a place in the UK music chart for 14 weeks and still remains in the top ten singles. The video, portraying a gay man’s journey from childhood to the day of his marriage and then old age, has over 83 million views on YouTube.
Its popularity seems symbolic of the progress we have made. Unlike songs by Heather Peace or The Indigo Girls, for example, Mackelmore’s Same Love has reached a wider audience. Fans and musicians have joined Mackelmore in showing their support, with the web full with covers of the single. From Kodaline’s acoustic BBC Radio One Live Lounge cover to Paradise Fears’ personal tribute to the song and even a cover from Harvard University’s singing group!
Most poignantly though, I found two YouTube videos of the song performed in churches. Perfect Third are an a cappella singing group based in Geneva. Their cover, boldly performed in a chapel in front of a crucifix and candles, grabbed my attention. But they’re not alone. Co Co Beaux, a male singing group from Connecticut, also covered the song in their local church to a standing ovation.
After spending the last year working on a project looking at the experiences of LGBT Christians I know that in the UK, America and around the world the church has a long way to go before fully accepting our community. However, the significance of these Same Love videos is enormous. As someone who has never followed a faith I was shocked to hear the experiences of many Christians. Many of them told me that they felt pushed out of their church and had heard the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin” far too many times. Mackelmore’s Same Love makes a brave stand against this attitude, while Co Co Beaux and Perfect Third’s courageous covers break the barriers down for good.
It’s difficult not to have respect for Mackelmore for releasing such a controversial and honest song. The public’s reaction to the song is equally amazing. Not only is Same Love very catchy, but it has come at a time when so much is changing for the better that it can only help in making people speak up and support that change.