As the temperatures rise and a revolutionary pride month comes to a close, we couldn’t possibly end the season without honoring the diverse and electric artists who comprise the black queer community.
While we’re all familiar with Steve Lacy and Janelle Monae for bringing gender fluidity and gay liberation to the forefront, here are four rising black queer artists you shouldn’t sleep on:
While we first met Destin Conrad through his hilarious social media persona, he’s done an incredible job rebranding himself as a rising R&B act. With his hypnotic vocals and penchant for telling queer love stories, the Tampa-bred artist is unquestionably next up. Being cosigned by R&B’s most high is the only validation he really needs after touring with Kehlani and collaborating with Musiq Soulchild.
Arlo Parks is the next big thing in indie pop, with her ability to create a sense of intimacy that feels as if she’s ripping out pages from your diary. Parks, a gay artist with a radically open heart, creates music from the most raw part of her psyche, eliciting truths about heartbreak, curiosity, trauma, friendship, and feeling lost in the same place you were once found. She honors the light, the dark, and the undeniably human in her angelic voice and awe-inspiring lyricism.
Dreamer Isioma, based in Chicago, is a one-of-a-kind multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. Curating an intoxicating elixir of psychedelic funk and experimental R&B, the non-binary artist not only uses their art to dismantle indoctrinated homophobia, but also to speak out against systemic oppression and racism. They embody the radical revolution they want to chariot as a new age leader.
Lava La Rue
With an electrifying shock appeal, it’s no surprise that Lava La Rue has captured the attention of American audiences just as easily as they have in the UK. Lava La Rue, who is half Latvian, half Jamaican, and non-binary, refuses to conform, which is reflected in their experimental hip-hop. They’re a mesmerizing act that will no doubt leave the industry in awe, mastering their own funk.