Black Queer Music History, Pt. 4 (1990s-Present)

Today, more than ever before, Black queer musicians are a huge part of mainstream music and culture. From Le1f to Syd tha Kid to Brittany Howard (of Alabama Shakes), these musicians are collaborating with artists like Beyoncé and are winning awards on their own. Not to say that we’re taking over, but we’re taking over y’all. Our style is varied – from hip-hop to dance to Americana – we are dipping our toes into every genre and we’re blowing people away. These artists are proudly queer, and wildly varied. They’ve had careers as Disney stars, been innovators in entire genres of music, and are almost always politically outspoken about issues involving QTPOC. They are our strongest advocates, and they’re leading the revolution with singing and dancing.

“Hold On”, Alabama Shakes

“Real Real”, Meshell Ndegeocello

“Rage”, Le1f

“Lift Dat Leg Up”, Big Freedia

“That’s So Raven”, Raven-Symone

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“I’m Gon Win”, Dej Loaf

“Deliver Me”, Rahsaan Patterson

“Highschool Never Ends”, Mykki Blanco

“Pyramids”, Frank Ocean

“YOU’RE THE ONE”, KAYTRANADA, ft. Syd

“Twerk”, Basement Jaxx

“Matters of The Heart” Shaun J. Wright

“Battle Cry,” Angel Haze

“Snakes”, Shannon Funchess

“Respect”, Frenchie Davis

“New Phone (Who Dis)”, Cakes da Killa

“Ima Read”, Zebra Katz

“I Am Her”, Shea Diamond

“Three Minutes”, Brittani Nichols

“HennyNHoes”, Young M.a.

https://open.spotify.com/user/1229950546/playlist/0FI6gRpo0SuM2wP13aiVkd

Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 322 articles for us.

8 Comments

  1. I’ve loved this series…I’ve been able to discover so much great new music.

    I love Syd’s collaboration with KAYTRANADA but I also want to shout-out Syd’s debut solo album, Fin, which came out earlier this year. It’s so, so good.

    (PS: How did I miss that Brittany Howard identified as queer?! I’ve seen and heard speculation but never heard her confirm it.)

    • Da Brat! Great recommendation, @needlesandpin.

      She’d be a great addition to this list. What song, though? Her solo classics like “Funkdafied” or “Give It 2 You” or one of her collaborations like “Sock It 2 Me” w/ Missy or “Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)” w/ Angie Martinez, Lil Kim, etc?

      Of course, that made me wonder: should Missy be on this list or….

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