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macklemore and ryan lewis feat. mary lambert, same love

Rapper Macklemore’s 2012 music video “Same Love” traces the life of its main character from birth to death. As he struggles with his sexual identity in his youth, bombarded by stereotypes, assumptions and labels, he eventually finds love with another man. The story then follows their marraige and long lasting relationship, with the final credits rolling over a variety of different gay and lesbian couples. The video soared to the top of the charts, scored an MTV VMA award for “Best Video with a Social Message,” and was celebrated by many Americans as a powerful expression of support for the LGBT movement and same sex marriage.


How would you describe the argument, message or commentary in this song and video?

Why does the video juxtapose historical footage and references to the civil rights movements of the past with the everyday life of the main character?

The lyrics mention change and progress multiple times. What signfies change and progress in relation to the story in the video (attitudes and perceptions, laws)? What might signify change and progress in your own life?

Do you think Macklemore’s own identity (white, male, straight) played any role in the largely positive reception of this video’s message? Do you think that a similar song from a woman, a person of color, or a member of the LGBT community would have gained such popularity and had the same impact?


Proponents of the video praised Macklemore for working to normalize homosexuality. Critics–especially queer artists of color–however, have taken him to task for benefitting from the video while neglecting to interrogate his own white, heteronormative privilege. Much of the criticism leveled at Macklemore also concerns his role as a white person in a traditionally black art form.

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