30 Days of Pride: Songs of Celebration
As Pride Month continues throughout June, LGBTQ+ artists use music to uplift each other, support the community, and highlight different identities
Even if officially confined to the month of June, Pride Month is a continuous celebration of identity. While the spirit of pride lives on in LGBTQ+ individuals all year long, having a month set aside gives an opportunity for the community to share their stories with others in order to gain visibility in a world where doors are finally opening to sexuality. Music is a vehicle of self expression during Pride Month as well as year round where artists can share their stories of love, community and hardships within their sound for those of any background to listen and appreciate. This playlist does just that, encapsulating all that it means to celebrate Pride.
Identifying as a lesbian, Kehlani’s song “Love Language” details the importance of communication in any relationship. The lyrics “I know I don’t speak your language / But I wanna know more, baby / Never wanna get lost in translation,” express the narrator’s desire to work on learning what their partner needs in a relationship to feel loved. This song’s sweet tune proves that all relationships, whether they be friendly or romantic, rely on more than just love — that respect and communication are pivotal.
Hayley Kiyoko is best known for being one of the first mainstream lesbian pop singers. She released “for the girls” this year, which celebrates women of all backgrounds and sexualities. “Summer’s for the girls / the girls that like girls / the girls that like boys.” Songs like this one help normalize that relationships come in all shapes, sizes and between all genders through its catchy beat and inclusive lyrics.
In “I Saw a Boy at the Party,” Myylo, an artist who identifies as gay, describes gazing at a boy and the little worries that arise when his crush sets in. Between describing the fear of awkwardness and initial flirting, this song makes the perfect pride listen because of its simplicity. It isn’t meant to be a political statement, just an expression of identity just like any other song would be if about a straight couple. This song plainly states the normal stages of a crush with no extra barriers because of the narrator’s sexuality.
The Aces is a band that consists of four women, three of which being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” consists of upbeat guitar with the narrator recounting how they fell in love with a girl but hasn’t told her yet. “We’re laying in sun rays / She’s wearing my beat-up jean jacket so damn well”. Just like Myylo, this song simply appreciates the happiness of a relationship. It shows that the LGBTQ+ community has a spectrum of feelings and activities that aren’t centered on their pain.
Omar Apollo sets a perfect example of not needing to label yourself to be valid. Apollo mirrors his choice of not labeling himself in his song “The Two of Us”. With mesmerizing guitar riffs between a chorus detailing a sweet relationship between two people, no pronouns are used which leaves the song open for those of all backgrounds to picture themselves in.
BRONZE AVERY’s song “CRY A LOT” breaks the barriers of male fragility. His lyrics “Cry a lot / Cause I’m happy and sad about everything”, oppose the wide-held belief that men are supposed to be a strong emotionless figure in society. He shows that men are human beings, and feel emotions the same as someone identifying as a different gender.
As the first transgender person nominated for a Grammy, SOPHIE broke the barrier for the LGBTQ+ community in the academy. Her music is so special because of its unique sound and composition, a reflection of herself as much as this song is. “Immaterial” uses lots of synth beats to bring a high energy song that explains the fluidity of the human spectrum with lyrics such as “We’re just im-ma-ma-material (I could be anything I want) and But I could be anything I want.”
Upfront, Pride is a celebration of sexuality and gender identity. Deeper than that, the month of June symbolizes freedom of expression and the visibility of a community that has gone through structural turmoil for generations. Music has always brought people together and this playlist reflects the multidimensional nature of what being a part of the LGBTQ+ community truly is.