Jack Harlow at the Sports Illustrated Super Bowl Party in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images
Anyone who is attracted to men can pinpoint the exact moment when they accepted that Jack Harlow is the sexiest creature in the world. For me it was being Chicken Shop Date† After 20 seconds of seeing him flirt with Amelia DimoldenbergI became aware of a disturbing truth: I would enthusiastically trade my firstborn for the chance to sit in a greasy chippy with this man.
When I pit the 24-year-old Louisville rapper against my childhood crushes, it doesn’t really make sense. Can he pack a punch like Anthony Joshua? Beat Thor in a race? Or jump from iceberg to iceberg like Diego the saber-toothed tiger from Ice Age† Probably not. I’d even go so far as to spend money on Mr Harlow as the guy who used asthma as an excuse to skip gym just to slip to the park for a 3pm spliff. But have I dreamed more about him in the past two weeks than Diego, Joshua and Hemsworth combined? Absolute.
He is the princess of the people. The attainable king. He’s the kind of guy who seems only a little okay at first because of a basic appreciation for basic hygiene and the ability to make you laugh. It is inevitable that you will eventually become utterly obsessed. (The curls and ability to make unwavering eye contact play a vital role here.)
Yes, I’ve thought it through carefully. But I’m not the only one. After the release of teaser videos for his new single “First classThe internet went into cardiac arrest. The #jackharlow tag on TikTok has two billion views and creators have left no stone unturned in analyzing all layers of Harlow’s beauty.
But why has this seemingly average man put us all in such a stranglehold? “You know that one crazy guy in high school who would always try to find reasons to hate? And then one night you kiss him in a bathroom at some random party? And five years later he is rich, hot and famous?” asks Meelayna Morgan, who is part of Harlow’s TikTok fans† “That’s Jack Harlow. He’s the goofy goober who got away and got fucking sexy too.”
“I feel like he would bring me breakfast in bed,” says Helen Femy, 19, of New York. “You just know it smells good.”
Amy Morgan, a 20-year-old fan from Belfast, adds: “He’s the right mix of stubbornness balanced with the knowledge that he’d pay 100 percent for your taxi coming back the next morning.”
Harlow is also known for personally winning over fans. “I literally changed my damn flights from Ireland to New York so I can see him after his concert,” Meg Cassin, another 20-year-old fan, told VICE. “Have you seen how he is with his fans? I know he looks objectively average, but he’s also the most handsome man ever.”
Diehard fan of Becker’s Land video from her encounter, Harlow went viral in January. The TikTok clip reaches its flirty climax with the two holding hands through a fence. “I think he’s one of the most attractive men on the planet because of his demeanor,” Becker tells VICE. “He asked questions, he wasn’t an asshole, his nails were groomed, his curls were fresh, he smelled really good, he was respectful. It was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Rachael Lloyd, eHarmony’s relationship expert, has turned to science to unravel the crush. “When it comes to primary mating preferences, confidence and originality go a long way, and Jack has these traits in buckets,” she explains. But Lloyd ultimately attributes the obsession to personality: “Jack’s values are also part of his attractiveness. He defends the black community and the empowerment of women.”
Unlike other prominent white rappers like Eminem, whose lyrics have often shown a brazen disregard for women at best—and misogyny at worst—Harlow has a passionate, black female fan base to thank for his rise to fame.
“I think Jack Harlow’s attraction to non-white people is specifically that he wants to be cool and frosty, but he doesn’t want to be black,” explains Addis Fouché, a writer and creator who goes by. The most recognizable internet site† “Obviously his place in the rap community is one of conscious kindness; his presence does not feel symbolic or predatory at all.”
She points to his friendship with colleague “Industry Baby” Musician Lil Nas X as proof: “No other male rapper right now, white or black, is really trying to befriend the queer rappers right now, especially not in public. And besides, he’s all right as hell?”
Will Jack Harlow soon release us all from his spell? It looks unlikely. (Message to Jack: If you’ve come this far…my Twitter @ is literally there.)