Pandemic Playlist: Winding up Pride Month with 5 tracks by modern LGBTQ icons who keep the queer spirit alive
Before it ends, we're taking a moment to celebrate queer musicians who remind us to hold on to love and support the LGBTQIA++ community
As Pride Month 2020 comes to a close, it's hard to say goodbye to the colorful celebrations that provide a tiny bit of relief during these trying times. It's a short escape from the daily persecution the LGBTQIA+ community deals with, one that is cherished and celebrated with the purest joy, with rainbow colors taking over every space. But before it ends, we're going to take one last moment to celebrate it with these five tracks from queer artists that remind us to hold on and uplift and support one another, because better days are ahead.
Superfruit - 'The Promise'
The brainchild of Pentatonix's Scott Hoying & Mitch Grassi, both of who are boldly queer and proud, 'The Promise' is a stunning track that promises listeners they'll have a friend in Superfruit, no matter what. With lyrics like "If you need a friend / Don't look to a stranger / You know in the end / I'll always be there," the song assures those listening that whether they're in pain or too angry to hear the message right away, when all the dust settles, everything will be okay. And for so many young LGBTQIA+ folk, this is one of the most important messages to hear some days.
The song itself is a love song, but what makes it even better is that Hoying and Grassi are both openly gay. It's rare to have that kind of queer representation in music, especially from two high-profile artists such as these two, and it makes for an amazingly emotional track.
Rebecca Black - 'My Moment'
Released the same year as the infamous 'Friday', which led to Black being on the receiving end of worldwide hate and daily bullying, and long before she came out as queer, 'My Moment' is an extremely fun, catchy song that sees the young aspiring singer celebrate 'her moment' - the start of her career. But it isn't just any self-empowerment song: it is one that Black specifically dedicated to her haters, making sure they knew they weren't about to hold her down.
Black couldn't catch a break, because where 'Friday' was lambasted for being a 'bad song', 'My Moment' was criticized for not being as fun as 'Friday'. But for some critics, it proved that Black was an artist, one that was gifted and deserved the chance she was fighting so hard for. On the track the singer states, "Weren't you the one who said that I would be nothing? / Well, I'm about to prove you wrong / I'm not the only one who believes in something / My one wish is about to come true." And she made good on that promise, coming back stronger than ever with her later music.
Jake Zyrus - 'Diamond'
Zyrus first rocketed to fame in the mid-2000s after appearing on several TV shows, including 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' and 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show', demonstrating vocals that sounded otherworldly coming from a person with such a tiny stature. He would go on to perform in concert with top stars like David Foster and Andrea Bocelli, among others, and release several charting songs and records, including 2010's 'Charice', which entered the Billboard 200 at number eight and became the first album of an Asian solo singer ever to land in the Top 10. 'Charice', however, was more than just the album's name: it was the name Zyrus went by at that time, long before he came out as trans.
The Filipina singer first indicated to the world that he was queer when he came out as a lesbian in 2013, before later letting the world know he was trans. By 2017, Zyrus stopped going by 'Charice Pempengco' and, after having male chest reconstruction and beginning testosterone treatment, fully reintroduced himself to the world. While Zyrus has several hits to his name, one that stands out is 'Diamond', his first single since coming out as trans which talks about emerging as a "diamond" after dealing with significant "pressure." It's a stunning track that showcases both Zyrus' talent as well as his journey from that tiny young singer with the huge voice to being unapologetically and proudly himself.
Angel Haze ft. Sia - 'Battle Cry'
Amidst lyrics and the pain and struggle that queer folk go through, Haze delivers a powerful 'battle cry' - a song about overcoming these struggles victoriously. Haze's stunning verses paired with Sia's powerhouse vocals make for a stunning song that celebrates the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community, with Haze also taking pride in her journey as well as sharing her joy of being able to fulfill her dream of creating music while getting to stay true to who she is. In a Digital Spy interview, Haze shared, "When I was feeling suicidal, I’d go to sleep with [Sia’s Breathe Me] on. And I’d either feel like my entire world was closing in on me or, in some strange, euphoric way, I was becoming stronger." For Haze, her battle cry is rising victoriously above the negativity that once threatened to derail her.
Haze identifies as pansexual and agender, but she also makes it abundantly clear that she prefers singular pronouns. "People talking about me, like, ‘I'm glad there's an actual woman of color representing queerness and pansexuality, someone who is like me in the spotlight'," she stated in an interview with Out Magazine in 2014, later expanding on her identity in a 2015 Buzzfeed interview by stating, "I feel like my agenderness and my gender identity have evolved...I sound like four people when I get written about as 'they.’ It drives me crazy... I'm one person. So, if you call me 'him' or 'her,' it doesn't matter to me. I don't consider myself of any sex. I consider myself an experience."
Sam Smith - 'I Feel Love' (Donna Summer cover)
Sam Smith is nonbinary and proud. Their very existence serves to redefine how gender and identity are viewed in the music industry and beyond, and therefore by extension, every song they put out is, in its own way, revolutionary. But Smith covering queer icon and disco queen Donna Summer's iconic anthem 'I Feel Love'? Now that's just far too much iconic queer pride all in one place!
Check out the awesome track, a celebration of love in all its forms, below. And make sure to get your dancing shoes on, 'cause this one is a bop!
Pandemic Playlist is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained instead of feeling drained while you're isolated at home. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!