11 Influential Black LGBTQ+ Musicians Who Rep Pride And Black Music
We celebrate our Black queer icons, this month and every month.
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
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
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
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
5. Sister Rosetta Tharpe
6. Lil Nas X
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
8. Jackie Shane
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.