Possibly the most exciting time of the year for queer folks is here: Pride Month! All around the globe, the challenge to put on the most wondrous celebration is on. Especially since last year’s festivities were (rudely, but reasonably) interrupted by COVID restrictions. Well, 2021 is seeing brighter rainbows as COVID cases are going down, vaccinations are ongoing, and many states are fixing to open up soon, while others are up and running like normal.
It’s time for the community to come back together and be proud in the way we always have. And what way to celebrate the beauty of being queer than by blasting tunes made by us for us. With that being said, I present to you a 25-track playlist of artists that deserve the spotlight at this year’s gayeties (pun intended).
1. "Between" - Alextbh
You know where it hits right
You know when it feels right
Elevate to the skies
Alex is the gay Southeast Asian representation the music industry needs. The Malaysian pop star sings openly about his relationships and hookups despite the aversions he faces in his country.
2. "Headaches" - Raveena
She's the kind of girl who will fuck you up
I'm the kind of girl who will love too much
Though she has quite a following, Raveena has yet to hit mainstream. A proud pansexual, Indian-American woman, she inspires brown youth through her spiritual lyrics about growth, self-empowerment and feminism.
3. "Bi Fren" - Omar Apollo
He talking 'bout hi friend, I'm talkin' 'bout bi friend
I'm not gon' sit here like I owe you, ain't no mic here
Apollo's recent album embraces his queerness in a bolder way than he previously has, with "Bi Fren" calling out a DL teenage boyfriend. Born to Mexican immigrant parents, the 25-year-old pays homage to his roots in his other work.
4. "Something" - Moaning Lisa
In between great loves, she was there for me
Unabashed and free, she gave me time to breathe
Here's a band I have yet to see on any queer/Pride Spotify playlist. Australian-based quartet, Moaning Lisa, provides the queer rock my 13-year-old emo self would have loved to headbang to in my room.
5. "On Top" - Esteman
Que hablen de pecado/Let them say it's a sin
Me resbala a mí/I couldn't care less
En una sociedad que se miente así/It's a society that lies like that
Esteman, the stage name for Columbian singer Esteban Mateus Williamson, is challenging homophobia in Latin America. Listening to the profound love songs he writes for his boyfriend give hope to other queer Latinxs struggling with their sexuality within society.
6. "Mango (Freestyle/Process)” - Orion Sun
You got a heart of gold, just like your mother
And no matter how angry you get, you'll never be your father
While this track is mellow and no party song, it deserves its spot as the cutest lesbian declaration of love. Orion Sun pours her entire heart and soul into her music and this tune is no different. (Plus, who doesn't love crying to music you wish someone would dedicate to you!)
7. "Cherry" - Rina Sawayama
Even though I'm satisfied I lead my life within a lie
Holding onto feelings I'm not used to feeling
Similar to Raveena, Sawayama has established a fanbase online but has yet to infiltrate the mainstream of queer-represented music. On "Cherry", the British-Japanese musician sings about the queer struggle of catching new and confusing feelings you may have never expected.
8. "Freak" - Jada Michael
The way you dance on me,
Don't take your hands off me,
Girl, you know I'm a freak
The queer music scene constantly needs someone who breaks from the mold and Jada Michael is here to do that. It's not every day that a plus-size, queer, Black woman holds space within the industry but Michael deserves it and so much more.
9. "Powerslide" - Ryan Beatty
His muscles flex when he takes a puff from his cigarette
He's looking tough and so friendly
I'm in love
Beatty's debut album "Boy In Jeans" is a love letter to his sexuality. His soulful vocals and contemporary pop beats make for an experience I hope all queer people find liberating.
10. "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” - Lil Nas X
Oh, call me by your name
Tell me you love me in private
Who would I be if I didn't include Lil Nas X; a literal rising gay icon. This song speaks for itself and although he's not a lowkey artist, I can't leave him out.
To listen to the rest of the tracks, visit my playlist on Spotify below and happy Pride Month to all of us, no matter where we are in our journey of love and acceptance.