By Hayley Van Allen
The Internet is composed of five clearly great friends, two of whom are very openly gay: Sydney Bennett (Syd), the lead singer, and Steve Lacy, on guitar/vocals. Their music blurs the lines between funk, rap, and more traditional R&B. In Hive Mind, their newest album released in June 2018, Syd sings intimate love songs backed by masterfully crafted tracks created by the rest of the band. Additionally, all the members also released solo work in the last two years, and Syd’s album Fin is very gay and very slept on mix of R&B, hip-hop, and soul. The Internet’s song Come Over has been nominated for two Soul Train Awards this year, and it can’t be recommend it highly enough.
Recommended Songs/Music Videos: Come Over (video), Girl, Body, Smile More
Kehlani’s rise to relative fame over the past few years has been well deserved. Her musical style mostly is a blend of R&B and pop, but she has also strayed from that and made some bops. She openly identifies as queer, having said on twitter “i love love, and that love lies in every gender there is.” Much of the music on her most recent album, SweetSexySavage, is very slept on.
Recommended Songs/Music Videos: Honey (video), Distraction, Playinwitme (video), Table ft Little Simz
Jamila Woods is an openly queer artist, poet, and activist. While she doesn’t explicitly sing about being queer, Woods is worth mentioning for her musical talent alone. Her songs feature personal reflections, critiques of racialized society, and a soft optimism. You may have seen her perform at Pomona’s No-chella concert last spring! She’s done collaborations with a number of artists, including Chance the Rapper, Noname, and Macklemore. Her musical style can be described as a soothing mix of soul and R&B.
Recommended Songs/Music Videos: Holy (video), Blk Girl Soldier (video), LSD ft Chance the Rapper
Janelle Monae officially came out in tandem with the release of her most recent album, Dirty Computer. Her work spans a variety of styles, from R&B to rap to pop and much of it has clear influences from Prince. Monae puts an incredible amount of creative effort and thought into her albums and the worlds she creates with her music. If you haven’t seen it yet, her Emotion Picture “Dirty Computer” is well worth the 45 minute watch. Her music and videos deal with issues surrounding race, gender, and sexuality.
In an interview about her album, Monae said, “being a queer black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with men and women, I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”
Recommended Songs/Music Videos: Q.U.E.E.N. (video), Pynk (Video), Make Me Feel (Video)
King Princess identifies as genderqueer and gay and is currently dating actress Amandla Stenberg. The singer released her debut single “1950” in February of 2018. The song became immensely popular and the KP is now hailed as a gay role model for many of her fans. At only 19, she released her first EP Make My Bed four months later in June. KP captures a similar vulnerability to Lorde in her pop songs, singing about love, loneliness, and the queer experience.
Recommended Songs/Music Videos: Pussy is God (video), 1950 (video), Talia (video)
No summary of queer music artists would be complete without mentioning Hayley Kiyoko, affectionately referred to by many as Lesbian Jesus. In 2018 alone, the artist released her first full length album, went on a solo tour around America and Europe, opened on tour for Panic! At The Disco, released two music videos, and managed to dub the year “20gayteen”. Her most first full length album, Expectations, was released in April 2018. While her music style can be described as predictable pop, what makes Kiyoko stand out is her bold lyrics about relationships with other women. Few popular artists have been able to capture the queer experience the way Kiyoko has.
Recommended Songs/Music Videos: Girls Like Girls (video), What I Need ft Kehlani (video)
Image Credit: The Source