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A ray of sunshine on a cloudy day: Harry Styles is underappreciated

by Baylie Clevenger The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board. Throughout my life, I have had a few prominent role models—most of them being women. I idolized strong women who did not fit into the mold that was socially constructed for them. That being said, there is still one underappreciated man that I have looked up to for many years: Harry Styles.  Aside from being talented and humble, Styles holds many—in my opinion—positive ideals, while making the world a better place. 

We stan a charitable man

In June of 2018, Styles filled Bankers Life Fieldhouse for a phenomenal show. While I was there, I purchased some merchandise, not even stopping to think about where the money would be going.  Fast forward to a few months ago: while scrolling through my twitter timeline, I discovered that Styles quietly donated some of his merch proceeds to Second Helping , an Indianapolis-based organization that aims to fight hunger and poverty in Central Indiana. 
For more than 20 years, Second Helpings has operated a three-part approach to addressing hunger and poverty in Central Indiana. Each day, Second Helpings volunteers and staff rescue prepared and perishable food from wholesalers, retailers and restaurants – preventing unnecessary waste. That rescued food is used to create more than 4,000 hot, nutritious meals each day that are distributed to more than 90 social service agencies that feed Hoosiers in need.” - Second Helpings
The Indianapolis Star reported that Styles’ donation provided more than 16,000 meals to Hoosiers in need. 
The best part of this donation is that Styles did not even promote it on social media or anywhere else. There are plenty of celebrities who are charitable…but they also use charity as a way to boost their image and gain more publicity. Meanwhile, Styles made this donation quietly and remotely. He did it just because he could, not to promote himself.  Other celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, for example, may do charitable acts but are still interested in making their own social progress. Any time they act charitably, it is followed by Twitter and Instagram posts galore.  The story that he made this donation did not even break until about six months after the donation was made.  

Everyone loves a genuine compliment

Recently, Styles also dropped his new single, “Lights Up.” Before the release, a mysterious promotion campaign popped up, reading, “Do you know who you are?” The campaign was also being promoted by Columbia Records, the label that Styles is signed with. 
Image from Do You Know Who You Are
Styles did not promote the release of “Lights Up” online much other than with doyouknowwhoyouare.com. The website is essentially a compliment generator. The user enters their name and receives a compliment which is signed “Love, H.”  Rather than promote his song in a traditional way, he found a way to spread some positivity and love along with his art. 

Gender who?

Other than his charitable contributions and the kindness he shows his fans, Styles is also a positive role model for young LGBTQ+ people.  In September, Rolling Stone published a profile of the musical sensation. The profile followed him through his everyday routine, the finishing touches of his new album, and got down to the nitty-gritty and discussed his personal life. 
Image from Rolling Stone
Styles talked about former lovers and addressed questions about his sexuality in the profile. 
“Harry likes to cultivate an aura of sexual ambiguity, as overt as the pink polish on his nails. He’s dated women throughout his life as a public figure, yet he has consistently refused to put any kind of label on his sexuality. On his first solo tour, he frequently waved the pride, bi, and trans flags, along with the Black Lives Matter flag. In Philly, he waved a rainbow flag he borrowed from a fan up front: ‘Make America Gay Again.’ One of the live fan favorites: ‘Medicine,’ a guitar jam that sounds a bit like the Grateful Dead circa Europe ’72, but with a flamboyantly pansexual hook: ‘The boys and girls are in/I mess around with them/And I’m OK with it.’”
Especially since going solo, Styles has become an icon in the LGBTQ+ community. He is open about his sexuality and even waved pride flags on stage during his first solo tour. His openness and support of the community are important because he is providing other LGBTQ+ people with a positive role model.
Sources: Indianapolis Star, Second Helpings, Twitter Images: Rolling Stone, Do You Know Who You Are Featured Image: Kristie Karch