Inspiring Black Lesbian and Queer Musical Artists

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As LGBTQ women have become more comfortable being out and open about their sexualities in the music industry, they are increasingly more visible. In honor of Black History Month, I put together a list of contemporary Black female musicians who should be on your playlist.

Tish Hyman

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Originally from New York and currently in Los Angeles, Latisha “Tish” Hyman is blowing up the pop music scene.  She was signed to the independent record label Blues Babe Records  by Shawn Gee — who has served as the tour manager for Lil’ Wayne and a music manager for Nicki Minaj.  Tish’s debut album Dedicated will be released on July 8th, 2016.  Her music video “Subway Art” is an exposé of the struggles everyday New Yorkers face trying to survive in the urban jungle.

Young M.A.

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This Brooklyn artist started rapping at the tender age of nine, went viral online in 2014 when one of her songs became a topic of controversy, and her hit song “Ooouuu” made it on the Billboard 100 Chart.  In 2016 this debut single was played seven million times on Spotify.  She has stated in a Vogue interview that coming out as a lesbian has helped her music evolve.

Angel Haze

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As an agender pansexual pop star, Angel Haze brings LGBT representation to a broader audience.  From 2012-2015 Haze has been nominated for an award every single year, including the “Best Female Hip Hop Artist” at the BET Awards.  Haze’s 2013 song “Battle Cry”, featuring Sia, was nominated for “Best Video with a Social Message” at the MTV Music Video Awards.

Syd tha Kyd

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On January 13, 2017, Sydney “Syd” Bennet debuted the song “All About Me” as a solo artist after leaving the hip hop collective Odd Future.  She still performs vocals for the R&B group, The Internet, which was nominated at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

THEESatisfaction

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This Seattle duo’s rich voices are a cluster of different genres blended into a hauntingly beautiful fusion.  Their poetic lyrics provide powerful visuals that create a vivid experience for the listener.  In May, 2016, they released an official statement that the group had reached it’s final chapter.  However, they intend to continue growing their careers independently.

Siya

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Vevo released her music video for “Honey Love”on YouTube January 6, 2017 and after only 10 days it had almost 21,000 hits.  This video features Siya in a storyline where she is trying to seduce an implied female lover to leave her partner for Siya.  During an interview with Latina.com she talks about being comfortable as a female lesbian rapper but does struggle with misogyny in the entertainment industry.

Freckles The Writer

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Before Siya’s “Honey Love” was out, Freckles The Writer released a music video with a similar storyline, “Uh HUh” in 2011 — six years earlier — where Freckles attempts to seduce a woman with a male partner.  Having worked with the likes of R. Kelly and Babyface, her influences come from a place of mastery.  Freckles announced a soon-to-be released album The Xperiment in a 2015 summer interview.

Skin

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This English indie rock artist is a singer, DJ, and model.  In 2009 this Jane of all trades told The Gaurdian that she was raised in a straight Christian household but realized that she “might be gay” when she was 20 years old.  She is the lead vocalist of the British rock band Skunk Anansie.

Meshell Ndegeocello

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With 10 Grammy nominations, Meshell has experienced a successful music career.  She has been credited in the LA Times as rebirthing neo-soul and influencing notable artists such as Alicia Keyes, Jill Scott, and India.Aria.  In addition to vocals, she can play four instruments.  She is a contributor to the book It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.

Dai Burger

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Dai Burger’s unapologetic sex-positive lyrics landed her the credit of having “the best feminist music video” by Interview Magazine for her song “Soufflé”.  She can be seen in Beyoncé’s “Party” music video, released in 2011.  She was originally a notable backup dancer for Lil’ Mama and eventually transitioned into a rap career.

Azealia Banks

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The beautiful marriage of hip-hop and house in Banks’ delightfully hip-house beats makes it impossible to not dance when her songs are playing.  Music is a subjective topic, but I challenge you to listen to her debut single “212” or her more recent “The Big Big Beat” and not feel motivated to move to the rhythm.  Her most recent album, Broke with Expensive Taste, was released in 2014 after spending three years jumping labels until she found representation she was satisfied with — Prospect Park.  Her song “Liquorice” has over 16 million views on YouTube.

Yo! Majesty

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This controversial combination of a crunk electro-punk musical group includes three Black Christian lesbians with their opening song to one of their albums titled, “F*cked up!” One of their EP’s were entitled Kryptonite Pussy.  NME listed Yo! Majesty on their “Top 11 bands of 2008” and the UK group HardfeelingsUK produced for them.

Tracy Chapman

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Last but CERTAINLY not least, Tracy Chapman. This four time Grammy winning artist has been actively performing since 1986.  Her debut album, Tracy Chapman, went multi-platinum.  Her music creates commentary on both personal and political issues sparking a dialogue among listeners, and the artist has been actively involved in social activism for a number of years. Chapman released her Greatest Hits album in 2015.

 


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About the Author: Lily Khuu

Lily Khuu is a Los Angeles based DJ and LGBTQAI+ party producer for Queertainment.  She has had several residencies including The Roar Room, The Other Door, The Vampire Lounge, and The Liquid Zoo.  She is currently running the queer events Honey Pot and Purr with more in the making.  Lily has DJ’d at many lesbian and queer socials in LA including the HER dating app sponsored events and GLOW B.O.Y.  For up-to-date information about the lesbian/queer events happening in your city visit www.queertainment.com — Follow Lily Khuu on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.  See more articles by Lily Khuu here.

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