Image via Instagram @kehlani, @mnek, & @blonded.
As LGBTQ life become more accepted by mainstream audiences by the day, it’s important to recognize and celebrate LGBTQ creatives who are bringing us artistic content with queer perspectives. This way, our voices, and those similar to our own, can be heard by the rest of the world.
But what about artists who are making music about, and just living, life as a queer person of color? Well, this list will hopefully introduce you to a few or reinstate why they are so great to ongoing fans.
Frank Ocean was already a celebrated R&B singer before he came out as bisexual back in 2012. Afterwards, he received major love and support form his fans and other musicians. This includes Beyonce and JayZ (who often support LGBTQ issues).
Since then, the originally reclusive Ocean has slowly become more open with his life. Not only did he include the below lyrics to his singer “Chanel,” but he also shared in an interview with GayLetter that he’s in a 3-year relationship and a casual fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Kevin Abstract showed up in the music scene only a few years ago, but has already made a name for himself there. While the Texas native first attempted to be a solo artist with a debut album that heavily talked about his bisexuality, Abstract later got the idea to create the internet’s first boyband.
Abstract formed a group of singers, rappers, composers, directors, and more through a Kanye West forum. That group became BROCKHAMPTON, and they have released four studio albums, 25 music videos, 16 singles, and 1 mixtape in the past two years.
Syd, also known as Syd the Kid, is a hip-hop, neo-soul, and alternative R&B singer who heads groups Odd Future and The Internet on top of her own solo work. Her music invokes the styles of ‘90s artists like Aaliyah and TLC while still having her own authentic and smooth sounding aesthetic. The Internet’s sound is so fantastic that the band received a Grammy Nomination for their 2015 album Ego Death.
Syd constantly creates music celebrating her sexuality and with the focus of serenading other women. From “Girl” to “Come Over,” Syd is representing queer women of color with style and flair rarely seen in the music industry.
Mnek is a celebrated British songwriter who is blossoming as a solo artist. For the past decade, Mnek has worked as a songwriter with many celebrated musicians like Beyoncé, Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Little Mix, BTS, Bastille, and more.
But last year, Mnek dropped his debut album as a solo artist. The singer is now trying to represent Black, gay men through sharing his own life and voice. And we’re here for it!
Le1f is New York rapper who uses his classical ballet training and work as a hip-hop producer to create music hits for us. Le1f first got attention as a solo artist in 2012 after his mixtape Dark York received mass praise.
Since then, Le1f has constantly talked about the injustice and obstacles placed before people of color, queer people, and especially queer people of color. He’s also shared the struggles of being a Black gay man trying to date on Grindr. No matter what, Le1f is here to share the Black, Queer voice.
Kehlani is slowly rising as a queen in the pop and R&B music scene. The part-black, bisexual singer from Oakland, California gained mass attention for hits like “Distraction” and “The Way.” Kehlani has discussed her sexuality through several songs such as “1st Position,” “Honey,” “CRZY,” and more.
Not only has Kehlani been constantly vocal about her sexuality, but she has been willing to admit that she needs to learn more about what it means to be LGBTQ. The Singer, who sold out LA Pride last year, regularly talks to fans through social media about LGBTQ life and sexuality.
This YouTuber turned musician has been singing for thousands for years now. But in just the past few years, he has received more respect for his singing talent. While Hall was once told by Simon Cowell that his singing career would never take off (Funny, he said the same to Jennifer Hudson…), Hall has starred on Broadway’s Kinky Boots, released a 16-song visual album, and sensational single “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels.”
Plus, his close friendship with Taylor Swift, the world’s highest paid celebrity, has led to the singer becoming more vocal in her support of LGBTQ rights.
Lastly, we have Janelle Monáe who rocked the world last year with her album Dirty Computer. Her sci-fi inspiration and gender-bending personal style was heightened after the singer openly explored her sexuality and queer identity through the celebrated album.
The eight-time Grammy Award nominee has is a rising star and trailblazer in the music industry for both black women and queer women. Her artistic style was also influenced by her late mentor and friend Prince, which will probably be seen and heard in her art for years to come.
Black, Queer, And Proud
Those are just eight Black and LGBTQ artists currently taking the music scene by storm. Who on this list excites you and speaks to you in a way that no one else can? Who would you add to this list or your own? Let us known down below and let’s celebrate queer, black people in music.