June is upon us, which means it's a time for hot weather and Pride. Pride Month celebrates LGBTQ people, their history and their progress through parades, marches and other events. There are thousands of LGBTQ artists who create music that encourages individuality and acceptance ⎽ a common theme of Pride as well. It’s important not only to recognize these artists during Pride Month so we can celebrate this colorful community, but also to enjoy the music they create.
“Girls Like Girls”—Hayley Kiyoko
Hayley Kiyoko released this single in 2015, and it was a breakthrough pop song for the gay artist. The lyric, “Don’t tell me, tell me what I feel / I’m real and I don’t feel like boys,” shows Kiyoko’s constant openness about her sexuality. Since the release of the single, Kiyoko has become a favorite within the LGBTQ community, and the pride she shows through her music is great to jam out to this month.
“I Know a Place”—MUNA
MUNA is an all-female, queer POC pop group, well-known for touring with Harry Styles in 2017. “I Know a Place” was written about the victories that the LGBTQ community have accomplished throughout history. Its uplifting message expresses that any gay, transgender or queer person can find protection: “They will try to tell you you’re not free / Don’t listen.” This song can give any person the sense of pride they need.
“I Don’t Trust U Anymore”—Left at London
Left at London, otherwise known as Nat Puff, uses her platform as a transgender woman to advocate for other trans people. Her song “I Don’t Trust U Anymore” is from her aptly-titled album “Tunes 4 Trans Lives.”. She recognizes the violence trans people face, with lyrics like “I see you look at me as they attack my sisters,” and she also emphasizes solidarity for the LGBTQ community. No matter your identity, anyone can jam to Left at London’s music.
“Hide”—Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Rainbow Kitten Surprise not only releases relatable tune for LGBTQ youth, but the band is also led by bisexual singer-songwriter Sam Melo. Their hit “Hide” discusses the struggles LGBTQ people face when deciding whether to be open or guarded about their sexuality. Melo chooses to celebrate his love, singing, “The sons of men pulled me to the touch and I loved it.” His advice to be open, no matter who you love, is a powerful reminder for everyone celebrating Pride.
King Princess, or Mikaela Straus, preaches self-acceptance in her pop hits. The genderqueer singer’s “1950” insults the ridiculous ideals held in the 1950s in regards to LGBTQ lifestyles. Every Pride month is part of the movement to equalize LGBTQ rights, and “1950” is the pop equivalent of a raised fist.
“In the Middle”—dodie
Bisexual singer Dodie Clark first began her career on YouTube. Her most recent EP, “You,” features the song “In the Middle” which tells the story of Dodie setting up a date between a past girlfriend with one of her ex-boyfriends. She even references her relationships in the song: “You’ve got so much in common / Talk about your taste in women.” The song’s tone encourages sharing your sexuality.
Mary Lambert is a gay singer, poet and activist for LGBTQ rights. Many of her pieces have discussed the struggles of self-acceptance for LGBTQ people, and she may be most well-known for her collaboration with Macklemore on “Same Love.” The lyrics in her song “Secrets” share her belief that the world has to accept LGBTQ people and their rights: “I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are.” She has become a fan-favorite performer because her songs are loving, accepting and honest. She is the perfect artist to acknowledge this month.
“I like my girls like I like my honey,” sings Kehlani, a queer woman of color. The song is a confession about her interest in women, and it displays how Kehlani has accepted her sexuality in a way that’s honest and beautiful. She sings, “I’m a beautiful wreck / My fire fate was you.” Kehlani’s R&B style of music, and the song’s retro feel are the perfect combination to add a great twist to your Pride month playlist.
As one of the most popular gay singers in mainstream music, Sam Smith has been open about his sexuality in his music for years. “HIM” is a powerful gospel/pop ballad that professes Smith’s belief that sexuality should be accepted, despite religious teachings: “Don’t you try and tell me that God doesn’t care for us / It is him I love, it is him I love.” Every playlist needs a slow song, and this one encourages you to celebrate your love as love. Smith is a must-have inclusion.
“Somebody Loves You”—Betty Who
Betty Who has written many uplifting and empowering songs, including this hit. She is an adamant LGBTQ rights activist who believes her platform should be used to proclaim that love is love. The popular bop, “Somebody Loves You,” is a great self-love addition for Pride Month that reminds listeners there’s love for everyone.