Pride began with a riot. A protest for LGBTQIA+ rights, which were led by black transgender, and queer individuals. Whilst it is absolutely vital to continue to support and recognise pride month, it is especially important to honour and respect the #BlackLivesMatter movement alongside it. This pride playlist lists just a few songs that I think we should all listen to, in celebration of our pride and our sexuality. This playlist especially highlights black artists and musicians. These songs speak to the LGBTQIA+ community and should be played on full volume.
Please read to the end, where I will place some links for petitions that you can sign to support the #blacklivesmatter movement – and those wrongly incarcerated, assaulted, and murdered. Please, do not stay silent.
KEVIN ABSTRACT – ‘American Boyfriend’
Kevin Abstract, you have most likely heard of, because of his role as a member of BROCKHAMPTON. As the first artist on this list, he not only demonstrates beautiful vocals but is also a member of the LGBT+ community. Released in 2016, Abstract’s ‘American Boyfriend’ is a beautiful masterpiece of alternative RnB and alternative hip-hop. The song creates a cinematic intimacy like it has stepped straight out of a typical teenage American movie. The lyrical content speaks on Abstract’s struggle with his sexuality and the immense homophobia he experienced throughout his life, particularly from his parents. This song resonates with many who have had many similar lived experiences and appears to be common among LGBT folk. If you have not listened to this song or his entire album in fact, now is definitely the time.
KEHLANI – ‘Honey’
Kehlani. Wow, where do I begin? Kehlani is one of my personal favourite musicians. Not only is she experimental in terms of the genres of music she produces, but her voice is also incredibly soothing. Her song from 2017 ‘Honey’ discusses Kehlani’s love of women. With her beautiful RnB voice, this song will always stand out – it’s one of those unique voices that you cannot miss. Kehlani’s other music also features collaborations alongside powerful LGBT artists, such as the living lesbian legend Hayley Kiyoko, in 2018. Kehlani is bold with her identity and her music continues to emphasise that she’s unafraid to stay true to herself, over and over again.
LIL NAS X – ‘Rodeo’
This song by Lil Nas X is not an LGBT anthem specifically, but it is a song I can appreciate. Lil Nas is a gay icon, having not only shown up with multiple number 1’s in the charts but also for a twenty-one-year-old, his success is groundbreaking. In his song ‘Rodeo’, Lil Nas collaborates with Cardi B to speak about infidelity and trying to uphold a partner in a relationship. Nas’ voice is unique as he combines hip hop with country-trap on this track. You could hear a track by Lil Nas and instantly know it’s him. Musically, Lil Nas X challenges the norm. His sound is one that you should not miss if you haven’t personally listened to his music (other than the iconic ‘Old Town Road’). You need to check this song out.
FRANK OCEAN – ‘chanel’
Where would a pride playlist be without Frank Ocean? His song Chanel is composed beautifully and artistically. Consider the lyrics:
“My guy pretty like a girl / And he got fight stories to tell / I see both sides like Chanel”
In this song, Ocean suggests that his partner has a duality of feminine and masculine traits, comparing this to the Chanel logo. Perhaps his own sexuality could be said to be similar to that of the Chanel logo. This song is also very popular – if you use the app TikTok you have probably heard it played everywhere all over the app. ‘Chanel’ is a perfect song to enjoy this pride month.
Frank Ocean – ‘Forrest Gump’
Whilst on the topic of Frank Ocean, many of his other songs allude to LGBT romances and themes, but this song draws on the narrative of Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump longs for his sweetheart and in this song, Ocean takes on the role of his sweetheart, who longs for Forrest. Ocean talks about how he longs for Forrest and how he is always on his mind, suggesting a longing for a romance with someone he loves. The concept for this song is much like his other music, he always has a beautiful narrative for his lyrics to follow and tells a story through his music.
That Kid – ‘Boyfriend’
That Kid has a quirky dance-pop vibe to him and the beats he uses on his songs are a fresh new style that if you haven’t been introduced to, now is your chance. The bubblegum pop genre is one that’s fast taking over the LGBTQ+ community, pioneered by the label PC Music and artists like SOPHIE, GFOTY and Hannah Diamond. On That Kid’s track, ‘boyfriend’ he constantly talks about wanting someone and asking someone to be his boyfriend. This song is the type of song you probably sing in the mirror thinking of that special someone.
Diana Ross – ‘I’m Coming Out’
Despite the origin of this song not being written for the queer experience, it has become a hit gay anthem because of its lyrics and upbeat tone. The concept of ‘coming out’ has been in gay culture for a long time and the chorus of this song exclaims:
“I’m coming out / I want the world to know/ Got to let it show”
The song unintentionally makes a statement and a power anthem for the LGBT community and I personally love singing along to it (even though I sound terrible singing).
Todrick Hall – ‘I Like Boys’
Todrick Hall is one of those artists that is hard to miss. His song ‘I Like Boys’ is the perfect exclamation of his sexuality, and he does so in the narrative of explaining this to his mother. For this song, I would suggest taking a look at the music video. The music video shows Todrick as who he is, with his sassy personality dancing along to the rhythmic beats. If you want to dance to this one, be my guest. The song is much easier to visualise alongside the music video as it shows Hall’s flamboyant personality and energy that I personally want to recreate.
Domo Wilson – ‘Bisexual Anthem’
Domo Wilson is best known for her online presence on youtube, yet this song is one that I think expresses the anger that bisexual individuals feel. On the track, Wilson cuts through all the stereotypes of being bisexual and how others make her feel as though she has to pick a side (which is ridiculous). She raps throughout the song consistently saying that she’s bisexual and proud and it’s a song that emphasises confidence in being who you are as well. Wilson openly recognises and shows that being bisexual is real, and not to let anyone else make you feel wrong for being who you are.
These are just a few songs that you should play throughout the month of June, but a link to a whole playlist created by yours truly can be found here. Enjoy!
Also, here is a link to a collaborative resource (originally created by our amazing head writer Gem Stokes) that has a compiled document of things to educate yourself on, in terms of #blacklivesmatter, as well as a list of petitions you can sign. Please use this resource and share it. Protect and support black people.
Black Lives Matter.