17 Black LGBTQ+ Artists You Need To Add To Your Playlist ASAP
17 Black LGBTQ+ you need to add to your playlist STAT.
Steve Lacy/YouTube; Kehlani/YouTube; Epidemic R&B/YouTube; Lil Nas X/YouTube
Whether it's February for Black History Month or June for Pride Month and
African-American Music Appreciation Month
, Black artists deserve to be celebrated. Even more so are those influencing the music scene both past and present who also fit somewhere on the
From pop to hip-hop to rock, check out this eclectic list of Black queer musicians who are definitely worth a listen!
This iconic disco singer was one of the most prominent musicians of the 1970's. During his lifetime, he was also an HIV/AIDS activist in San Francisco. One of Sylvester's most popular songs was "
You Make Me Feel Mighty Real
This multidisciplinary artist combines spoken word and hip-hop to convey powerful messages about race, queerness, and gender. One of Ammons' most notable works is the song
from the album
Twilight For Gladys Bentley
, which reimagines the 1920's Harlem Renaissance blues singer Gladys Bentley.
The bassist and rock vocalist is best known as the bass guitarist, songwriter, and co-lead singer of the band King's X. One of King's X best known songs is
"Over My Head,"
which is a callback to Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Up Above My Head."
Armed with a powerful voice and message, transgender singer Shea Diamond triumphs with empowerment. Her most recent song,
is a funky, seductive track that oozes sexiness and confidence.
Adding a soulful voice to pop, Be Steadwell's music features unabashedly queer songs about romantic and sexual relationships. Visuals for Steadwell's most recent song,
combines basketball and romance to create a Black queer love story.
Initially rising to prominence in the alternative hip-hop groups Odd Future and The Internet, Syd has since applied her sweet and smooth vocals to a solo R&B career. Evoking the styles of '90s artists like Aaliyah and TLC, one of her vocal standouts is the song
Known as "The Godfather of House Music," Frankie Knuckles was one of the most influential DJs and record producers of his time. His influence is especially known in Chicago and in hip-hop music. One of his most notable songs is "
Based in Milwaukee, Lex Allen's artistry combines '70s pop with modern hip-hop & R&B and a dash of theater. The bisexual singer recently released his debut album
Table 7: Seven and Saints
. One groovy track from the album is called
"Bitch You Fabulous."
Combining the swagger of hip-hop with the pulse-racing beats of electronica, Mykki Blanco slays in more ways than one. In addition to their music, they are also a spoken word artist and activist. One of their best songs is
ROES (formerly known as Angel Haze)
A mix of vulnerable introspection and confident braggadocio, ROES' music discusses topics that range from depression to romance. One of their best songs,
features them singing and rapping as they look back on an ended relationship.
With mind-blowing sci-fi imagination, a gender-bending personal style, and a versatile sound, Janelle Monáe is one of the most creative and innovative musicians from the last decade.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Known as the Godmother of Rock n' Roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe played and sang gospel with an electric guitar and paved the way for future rock n' roll artists such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Johnny Cash. One of her most striking performances was the song
"Up Above My Head."
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X burst into the scene in 2019 with his smash hit “Old Town Road,” after initially releasing it independently at the end of 2018. He solidified his claim to fame with 2021’s
album, including his salacious titular song featuring a sexy lap dance with Satan.
King Sis is a Los Angeles-based R&B singer-songwriter producing music through Epidemic Sound about love and living in the natural world. With chill-hop hits like “Big Moody” and “Yeah You (Thinkin Bout You),” this bisexual goddess knows how to sing and set the mood for anything.
Kehlani achieved her initial fame as part of a teen group called Poplyfe, but released her first commercial mixtape in 2014. Describing her heritage as a mixture of ”Black, White, Native American, Filipino and Mexican,” Kehlani helped
discover her identity as a lesbian
through a Google doc, and songs like “Nights Like This” have put her on the map for good.
Steve Lacy took home the 2023 Grammy award for Best Progressive R&B Album for
, and his song “Bad Habit” put him up for three other nominations, as well. First rising to prominence as the guitarist for R&B band the Internet, he released his first self-produced debut EP in 2017.
“I did not come to play with you hoes… I came to slay, bitch.” Although most people may remember Big Freedia from her iconic line in Beyonce’s 2016 hit, “Formation,” Big Frieda is known as the unofficial ambassador of bounce music, a genre largely underground since early development in the 1990s. She also made a return for Beyonce’s “Break My Soul,” but has her own collection of music featuring the likes of Ke$ha and Lizzo.