2016 has been an incredible year for music, especially for LGBTQ artists who are just emerging or stapling their place in the music industry. It’s so important for the young generation to see these incredible artists on a visible platform so they know that whoever they are, they should be proud. I grew up looking for that gay pop star that I could see myself in. There were a few gay artists, however, none that I could personally connect with. In recent years I’m beyond happy to say there is an abundance of queer artists appearing that many people including me a 19-year-old gay boy from Wales can connect with.
MNEK (real name Uzoechi Osisioma Emenike), a gay black man from London broke onto the music scene through his songwriting and features on songs such as Gorgon City’s ‘Ready For Your Love’. Earlier this past year MNEK rose to prominence from his Zara Larsson assisted ‘Never Forget You’ which hit the Top 5 of the UK official charts.
MNEK is everything. Period. A gay black man who’s open, proud, beyond talented and very ambitious with his songwriting. As a young boy I used to look up to many black artists and see myself in them, someone who doesn’t conform to the ‘white social norms’. So seeing a black gay artist succeeding and celebrated today, makes me so happy.
Many will know Miley Cyrus for her insane controversial performances and her ever changing style. But most never realise that Cyrus (who identifies as pansexual) is a huge LGBTQ rights activist. This past year Cyrus launched her Happy Hippie foundation, which helps raise money for homeless youth, specifically LGBTQ homeless youth. Cyrus an honoree of Variety’s Power of Women event used her title and her stint as a coach on the Voice 2016 to bring even more awareness to LGBTQ rights.
Years and Years
Years and Years broke onto the scene last year with their smash hit ‘King’ which soared up the UK charts. Now, a year later Years and Years fronted by Olly Alexander (a gay man) are a pop staple in the UK and are starting to breach out globally. It’s incredible to see Alexander speak to tens of thousands of people at festivals about gay rights, why his music is about boys and why it should be socially acceptable to be who you want to be. Years and Years are now up there with the huge popstars of today, making a name for themselves and this incredible community.
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