Justin Bieber And Jaden Smith’s Coachella Reunion Sparks Homophobia, Speculations On Sexuality

Justin Bieber And Jaden Smith’s Coachella Reunion Sparks Homophobia, Speculations On Sexuality
Image: Source: @daydayred_ on Instagram

Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith’s tender reunion at Coachella has gone viral and attracted the ire of homophobes, due to the fact the two friends were not afraid of being affectionate with one another.

The video, initially captured by @daydayred_ on Instagram, shows Smith embracing Bieber backstage at the iconic music festival. Then, Bieber turns to plant a kiss on Smith’s cheek. 

The exchange sparked hundreds of comments on both Instagram and X, with many commenters quick to label the pair as “gay” or suggesting this behaviour wasn’t okay for men. 

“Sorry, but this is NOT how I greet my best friend,” said one commenter, while another said “Both of their great grandfathers are probably rolling in their grave right now wondering what the hell happened to men.”

Others seemed to speculate on the sexuality of the two popstars, stating the two were definitely intimately involved or quick to label the act as gay. 

However, many rightfully called out the bigotry occurring in the comment sections that implied that men couldn’t greet one another with genuine affection. 

Instagram user @the_profezo said that the act was “An on-the-spot and unplanned show of affection… which is normal.” Additionally, X user @data_analystguy remarked: “Y’all are so homophobic you can’t have friends.” 

Bieber later appeared on-stage at the Festival as part of Tems’ set for the song Essence (Remix), his first time performing in two years after being diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome.  

Celebrities and queerness: a complicated relationship

The reaction to Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith’s friendly reunion at Coachella speaks to a wider conversation around the sexualities of celebrities and the nature of ‘queerbaiting’ as a public figure. 

Bieber has never fully labelled his sexual orientation, though he has been married to his wife Hailey for five years. Similarly, Jaden Smith has challenged gender norms through his clothing choices and is considered an LGBTQIA+ ally, but he has never explicitly labelled himself as part of the wider queer community. Speculation has nonetheless throughout the year’s regarding Smith’s sexuality. 

There are other examples where celebrities have had their sexuality speculated on in the public eye, despite the very private nature of sexuality. 

Notably this year, The New York Times posted a 5,000-word essay by Anna Marks about Taylor Swift that speculated that the singer was sending coded messages as a “secret” part of the LGBTQIA+ community, despite her stating that she was not queer multiple times in the past. 

The article was so poorly received that it provoked a response from a Swift spokesperson, who called it “invasive, untrue and inappropriate.” 

Even stars who have come out like Reneé Rapp still have their sexuality speculated upon: after she came out as lesbian at the start of the year, the Snow Angel singer chastised those who still continued to question her orientation

The video of Bieber and Smith embracing at Coachella is the latest reminder that acts of public affection can still provoke homophobia and speculation on sexuality, despite the intended privacy of such acts and individual identity. 

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