Celebrate Black Music Appreciation Month by Listening to These Black LGBTQ Artists – INTO
June is when the celebrations of Pride Month and Black Music Appreciation Month combine. Popularly known as black music month, the time has come to celebrate the rich musical contributions of black artists in the United States of all genres. With Pride Month and Black Music Appreciation Month lining up, it’s a great time to highlight Black LGBTQ artists you should know. Some you may be familiar with and some may be new to you. Anyway, take a look at their discography and get lost in their music.
Victoria Monét (bisexual | her)
From Chloe x Halle to Ariana Grande, Victoria Monét has penned some of the biggest pop and R&B hits of recent years. With several EPs to his credit, the album released in 2020 Jaguar cemented her status as one of R&B’s deepest performers. With a polished production, his famous lyrical gymnastics and visuals inspired by the style of the 70s, Monét covers topics of sex, romance and self-love with impeccable style.
Big Freedia (gay | flexible pronoun)
Renowned for popularizing the bouncy music of New Orleans, Big Freedia is a musical force to be reckoned with. The rebound queen has been making music for decades and in addition to her constant hard work, Freedia’s vocals can be recognized on some of Drake and Beyoncé’s greatest hits.
Michaela Jaé (transgender | her/her)
You may know her from Laid, but Golden Globe winner Michaela Jaé Rodriguez is also a powerful singer. Videos of her singing graced the internet, but she also got to show off her vocals in Laid then duet with co-star Billy Porter. She released her debut single “Something to Say” ahead of her upcoming debut EP.
Janelle Monaé (pansexual & non-binary | they/she)
Look up the definition of superstar and you will find the name Janelle Monaé there. The singer, rapper, songwriter, producer, actor and writer continues to break records, push boundaries and leave his creative mark on everything he touches. Now they’re gearing up to play bi-con Josephine Baker in a new TV series.
snakewithfeet (gay | he/him)
Josiah White, known professionally as serpentwithfeet, is a Baltimore native who uses his classical training and church upbringing to create experimental R&B that feels sacred. His eclectic taste is reflected in his musical collaborations, as he has worked with everyone from Björk, Ty Dolla Sign, FKA Twigs, BROCKHAMPTON and Ellie Goulding.
Syd (gay | she/she)
Syd first gained recognition for being a member of hip hip group Odd Future, which featured black queer musicians Frank Ocean and Tyler the Creator. She then formed the Grammy-nominated band The Internet, which featured black queer musician/producer Steven Lacy. On her own, Syd has become another voice-changing alternative R&B and has worked with everyone from Kali Uchis, Willow Smith and Kehlani.
Kaytranada (gay | he/him)
The Grammy Award-winning DJ has produced some of the best dance tracks of recent years. The Haitian-born, Canadian-raised musician is known for creating music for other artists, like Tinashe, Kali Uchis, Chance the Rapper, and Anderson .Paak, while building his presence in dance music with his albums. award-winning. 99.9% and Bouba.
Isaiah Rashad (sexually fluid | he/him)
The Top Dawg Entertainment rapper has built a large following by creating music with thoughtful, nostalgic, and accurate lyrics. Isaiah Rashad has collaborated with label mates Kendrick Lamar and SZA on various tracks and his work spans topics of mental health, drug use and family. He recently came out as sexually fluid in an interview with Joe Sudden, adding another black queer presence to rap.
Lil Nas X (gay | he/him)
Montero Hill, known professionally as Lil Nas X, is one of the biggest names in popular music today. The Grammy Award-winning superstar continues to string together successes and uses social media transparently to market her work, enhance her stardom, generate lots of laughs and be unapologetically black and gay.
Frank Ocean (queer | he/him)
When you think of musical game changers, Frank Ocean might come to mind. The pioneering singer, writer and producer changed R&B with his experimental sounds and thoughtful lyrics. Ocean’s music locks you into its abstract world. He took the music industry by storm with the release of the 2011 hit “Thinkin Bout You”, which focused on his longing for his first love, which was a man.
Kehlani (lesbian & non-binary | she/they)
The 90s-influenced R&B singer has continued to make his mark on the music world. With an upbeat vocals and the ability to maneuver seamlessly across multiple genres, Kehlani’s music gets you dancing, makes you think, and makes you want to love. Their confessional-style lyrics leave no stone unturned and cement them as a powerful lyricist.
Kevin Abstract (gay | he/him)
So many great artists come from Texas, and Kevin Abstract is one of them. Whether he’s releasing his own rap albums or being part of hip hop boy band BROCKHAMPTON, Abstract is busy creating genre-defining work and doing it with some of the biggest names in the music industry, like Dua Lipa and ASAP Rocky.
Willow Smith (bisexual & polyamorous | she/she)
Willow Smith gives all the black rocker vibes we need. The musical chameleon started “whipping her hair back and forth” as a kid and now, as an adult, she’s busy doing guitar riffs, animating The red table talk with her mother Jada Pinkett Smith and her grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, on rock/alternative tracks, and being an effortless badass.