This Black History Month, while it’s important to honor the stories of heroes and trailblazers, it is also important to discover rising Black queer talents. These artists are carving out worlds of their own by simply being their authentic selves and expressing their own definitions of queer Black joy.
Though alike, these nine musicians are vastly different in their craft; they individually bring various colors to paint on one ridiculously immense canvas. The responsibility of carrying the torch is not an easy task; representing both LGBTQ and Black communities comes with a unique set of experiences that can only be understood by those who occupy both worlds. From Kehlani-approved Drebae to violinist Tona Brown (who has performed for President Barack Obama), here are nine transcendent Black queer artists worth your attention.
Bewitching, to say the least: Zé is a vortex of unconventional artistry. His meticulous approach to music, from the sorting of his rhymes to the shadows placed upon certain words, will transport you to a musical domain of its own. On his latest EP, Fruit, the North Carolina based emcee delivers bars that could compete with greats like Kendrick Lamar and Lauryn Hill. And with lyrics like, “Your religion’s tryna’ damn me off to hell, and racist’s tryna’ drag me off to jail,” his unapologetic queerness is refreshing in such a hetero-dominated genre.
Check out: ”Icecold Lover,” “Good Guy,” “Melanin”
This Philadelphia native received a standing ovation as he auditioned for Fox’s The Four to Coldplay’s “Magic” and Brandy’s “Sittin’ In My Room.” He admits that winning wasn’t his goal for appearing on the music show competition — he knew his visibility as a queer, black man would impact young viewers: “I went on [The Four] for the little kids who looked like me, and who are gay, and who have never seen someone make it as far as I did.” With much truth to that sentiment, Vincint has released a cluster of prodigious singles like “Marrow” and “Mine” since his television debut.
Check out: “Marrow,” “Mine”
Hip-hop artist, media maven and an all-around electrifying personality, DeAndre Clark, who performs under the name Drebae, is a whirlwind of talent. In October of 2018, the Bay Area rapper released his debut EP Baby Boy which housed the explosive Megan Thee Stallion collab, “No Pressure.” The track became an instant favourite amongst his online supporters and his broad range captured the attention of Kehlani, who invited him to perform alongside her during her 2018 set at San Francisco Pride.
Check out: ”No Pressure,” “Elegant,” “Medusa”
Shea Diamond’s story is begging for an Oscar-winning retelling. This native of Little Rock, Arkansas found herself behind bars after attempting to rob a convenience store in order to pay for her medical transition. Whilst incarcerated in a men’s correctional facility, Shea penned her empowering trans anthem “I Am Her,” a soulful standout from her debut EP Seen It All. Diamond dexterously synthesizes melodies of dissimilar gradient to weave her introspective stories together.
Check out: “Seen It All,” “American Pie,” “Good Pressure”
Remaining artists includes: Kodie Shane, Durand Bernarr, Siena Liggins, Tona Brown and Troy Garrick. Click source to read the full story! You can also check these artists out via YouTube.