June 10 2020, 2:05 pm

For most people, June signifies the beginning of summer where cookouts, pool parties and music festivals commence. More importantly, however, the month pays homage to two marginalized communities that often intersect — the Black community and the LGBTQ+ community. June is not only designated as Pride month, it's also Black Music Month, thus we want to take the time to celebrate our Black queer family by rounding up 11 influential Black LGBTQ+ musicians who should need no introductions.

1. Keiynan Lonsdale

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Keiynan Lonsdale is an actor and singer, known for portraying one of DC Comic’s most iconic superheroes, The Flash. With hit songs that champion living out loud, such as “Kiss The Boy” and “Rainbow Dragon,” the superstar made headlines in 2018 for his groundbreaking performance in the film Love, Simon.

2. Big Freedia

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With appearances on hit songs like “Formation” and “Nice For What,” Big Freedia only added to the mainstream exposure that she already garnered. Known throughout the music industry as the “Queen of Bounce,” our good sis is also a world record queen, having set the Guinness World Record for the largest group of people twerking concurrently.

3. Frank Ocean

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Let’s be real, there is at least one song from Channel Orange that dominated our playlists from 2012 and forward. The release of Ocean’s critically acclaimed 2012 album wasn’t the only reason we fell in love with him — that was also the year he came out in a heartfelt letter, posted to his Tumblr account. 

4. Janelle Monáe

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What’s not to love about our favorite Android? From her trendsetting style to her iconic tunes, Monáe has been captivating audiences for a while now. Fans or fandroids rejoiced when the Kansas native came out as queer.

5. Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Did you know that rock-n-roll was created by a Black, queer woman? Tharpe was known as the “Godmother of Rock-N-Roll” throughout the Great Depression for her effortless merging of her electric guitar and gospel songs. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame included her in its class of 2018 inductees.

6. Lil Nas X

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We’ve been in love with our favorite cowboy ever since he took us on the “Old Town Road.” Alongside breaking the record for spending the most time in the top spot for the Billboard Hot 100, Lil Nas X is also the first out Gay man to win an award at the Country Music Awards for “musical event of the year.”

7. Da Brat

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Da Brat recently made headlines when she officially came out on Instagram earlier this year and that just made us love her even more. The “So So Def” artist has been blessing us since the 90s with her debut album being the first rap album by a woman to go platinum.

8. Jackie Shane

An artist truly ahead of her time, Jackie Shane captivated audiences in the 60s with soulful ballads and pantsuits that caused many to question her sexuality. Shane later went on to retire from the music scene in the 70s, having turned down deals from major labels such as Motown.

9. RuPaul

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RuPaul may have been on the Time 100 most influential people in the world list, but his influence transcends any roster. His hit show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, which put 13 Emmy awards under his belt, provides a platform for Drag performers to showcase their talents and superstar abilities. We love to see it.

10. Ma Rainey

You probably know that Ma Rainey is considered the “Mother of the Blues,” for her groundbreaking musicality but did you know she was queer? Rainey sang unapologetically about topics that were considered taboo including lesbianism.

11. Labi Siffre

With some of his hit songs being sampled for artists like Kanye West and Eminem, UK artist Labi Siffre is known for hits like “It Must Be Love” and “Bless The Telephone.” Siffre’s melodies were also sampled for Eminem’s hit, “My Name Is” through legal loopholes, even though Siffre denied it initially for what he called “lazy writing” with homophobic and sexist lingo.




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