Roughly a month after a particularly brutal, 2.9-star Pitchfork review of Jack Harlow’s latest album, Come Home the Kids Miss You, essentially wrote him off as talentless eye candy (“Without much to grasp with his music, it’s easiest just to stare”), Harlow seems to be taking things in stride. Because regardless of how you may feel about his inoffensive but unexceptional music, clearly no one—not even Pitchfork—is denying his charm, nor his indisputable status as the internet’s boyfriend du jour. It’s a role Harlow seems well aware of and one he takes very, very seriously.
On Tuesday, Teen Vogue revealed Harlow as its June cover star, and in a wide-ranging interview in which the Louisville rapper addresses everything from recent, err, “gaffes,” like being carried over mud by two Black men at the Kentucky Derby to not dirty his shoes, to crediting his Black women fans for all of his success, Harlow remains deeply, almost admirably committed to the bit of making every woman who might find herself reading the interview feel like she’s dating him.
Early on, when interviewer Tess Garcia warns the increasingly booked-and-busy 24-year-old to “steer clear of toxic girlboss behavior,” Harlow tells her point-bank: “I am a girlboss.” Okay, Sheryl Sandberg! (“Girlboss” has overwhelmingly become a derogatory term online at this point, but I, for one, can ultimately appreciate a man who genders hustling and making career moves as feminine and stays up to date on internet vernacular.)
Speaking of respecting women at work, Harlow at one point recalls meeting his first celebrity crush Vanessa Hudgens on the red carpet of the Met Gala for an interview, during which, quite uncharacteristically for someone who’s gone to great pains to self-brand as a ladies’ man, he made no visible effort to flirt with the former Disney icon. This was apparently very deliberate. “I didn’t want to do nothing; she was trying to work,” Harlow told Teen Vogue.
Perhaps Harlow saw the backlash to Offset crashing Cardi B’s Rolling Loud set in 2018, disrupting her performance to beg her to take him back. Perhaps he just isn’t a little twat. Either way, Harlow is clearly very aware that coming to a woman’s place of work, intruding, and creating a scene is toxic behavior, and he let Vanessa do her thing! Please join me in celebrating a classically handsome white man for doing the bare minimum!
Lest you thought Harlow was done taking out his dick at all of us to ogle at this stage of the interview, you haven’t seen anything yet. Referencing Harlow’s recent appearance on The Breakfast Club, during which he’s visibly shocked by one of the host’s confessions that his wife didn’t orgasm for the first decade of their relationship, Teen Vogue poses the question: “Is it important to Harlow to prioritize female pleasure?” Based on his answer, he seems to understand sometimes less can be more: “I’ll say this. I’m getting more selfless by the day.”
Well then! That certainly gives me a lot to think about, probably later tonight before I go to bed! Moving on!!
Finally, before the profile concludes with Harlow telling his interviewer he feels like he “went to school with a girl like you” who “did her homework,” he acknowledges his shortcomings and his need to work on and better himself, like any good internet boyfriend. When confronted about how some might see his lyrics as objectifying toward women, he tells the magazine: “I’d tell them I’m very open to the way they’re thinking. I’d love to keep learning more.”
In other words, he sees you, he hears you, and, yes, it’s apparently on you to perform the labor of educating him—but I have to say, this is not a man I am overly opposed to performing on or putting in labor for!
Harlow is, overall, not an especially useful member of society, based on his music and what he adds to the conversation, which isn’t much. He’s said and done some pretty dumb things, though he seems perfectly aware of and apologetic about this. But he is regrettably, indubitably cute and seems to put in the right amount of effort to not present as a massive asshole. And sometimes, for the internet at least, that’s enough.