Natalie Lee's Pride Playlist

If you couldn’t already tell from all of the major corporations’ rainbow ad campaigns, June is Pride Month! To celebrate our most authentic, beautiful selves, we’ve created a playlist featuring gay, bi, lesbian, trans, queer artists. The eras span from the ‘60s to the present day. There’s a whole lotta pop and classic rock, as well as some blues and hip-hop; there’s something for everyone. Crank this up to get any pride party going.

It is important to acknowledge that the celebration of Pride started with the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969 led by trans women of color. So, when we commemorate this month, it’s crucial to shine the light on trans, femme, black folk. Lately, the LGBTQ community has been very white, cis, and commercialized. Corporations and institutions are branding themselves as allies, but very few are actually committed to the cause. We’ve gotten to a point where Pride is becoming more and more inclusive and mainstream every year. It’s a welcoming party; an invitation to revel in what makes us beautiful and unique. Still, Pride is political. Remember that queer history involves the intersectional fight against police brutality, racism, transphobia, and, homophobia. The community and its allies should celebrate, but be active in what still needs to be done to achieve justice.

This playlist reflects the change in dynamics of the LGBTQ community over several decades like how our love for ourselves has grown unapologetic, but also how anti-LGBTQ sentiments and violence are still prevalent (and arguably even worsening). I’ve highlighted notable queer-fronted bands and queer musicians with different struggles. We’ve witnessed a transformation from the ‘50s and ‘60s in which queer folk faced explicit anti-homosexual legal system such as homosexuality being a basis for arrest. The ‘80s were definitely more flamboyant and glamorous, however, there was still difficulty for stars to discuss gay topics in their music. Today, the popularity of queer artists is skyrocketing because the community’s visibility is being more widely accepted.

These artists don’t just create music about their sexual orientation, but also who they are. This music is the soundtrack of our lives since the artists live with similar personal struggles to their audience. Pride is about validating queerness and music has played a large part in making us feel comfortable; it has been anthemic The representation allows people to embrace their diverse identities. Music is a reminder that queer folk exist, feel, and create art.

-- Natalie Lee

Check out Natalie's playlist here!

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