It’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month! Celebrated every year in June as a way to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, Pride is a time for the LGBTQIA+ communities of the world to come together and celebrate! It’s a time to reflect on the progress they’ve made toward equality, to proclaim proudly their right to exist happily, and to highlight the LGBTQ+ community’s role in modern pop culture. To help you get into the spirit of the season, HollywoodLife is running a month-long feature called The Sound Of Pride.
This playlist is updating….
Throughout June, HollywoodLife will ask some of your favorite stars and celebs what they think are songs you need to include on your Pride 2022 playlist. As the month goes on, we will update this post with links to all the individual interviews, so you can find out who picked what and why. The playlist will also grow as the month goes on, so be sure to check back.
The Sound Of Pride 2022’s Curators:
Bob The Drag Queen
“I think it’s just a remarkable experience about the black queer experience, specifically the black trans experience, and how it feels to be othered within your own community, whether it be the black community or the queer community,” Bob told HollywoodLife.
“I love celebrating Pride, but I think at this time, besides celebrating Pride beyond, we also got to remember that we are still perfect. We are still okay and able to dream and achieve whatever we want to achieve,” Grag told HollywoodLife.
“I would love to share that no matter where you are in the world, no matter whether you are or are not able to express yourself in the way that you want, I want you to know that you exist. Therefore, you are valid,” Vico told HollywoodLife.
Kid Congo Powers
“The gay punk has always been there, many times leading the way. I learn a lot thru identification, so I hope some younger, or older, will identify and find a bit of illumination. Or at least a laugh,” Kid Congo Powers told HollywoodLife.
“I do recognize, as a black person, how tired I was of trying to handhold folks through conversations about systemic racism. I’m beginning to feel the fatigue again, as I’m sure the rest of the community is. I won’t quit, but I sure wish more people would get up to speed with their intersectional thinking. We all deserve to feel unabashed joy this Pride,” Peppermint told HollywoodLife.
“The only thing I’m wishing for is that one day – as soon as possible – we won’t have the need to celebrate pride! We will all be so free to love whomever we want, that it will simply be the greatest given of our everyday lives,” George Perris told HollywoodLife.
“For many of us, the battles have been waged and won over the decades, but this new one raging so deeply around the world is one that we need to make sure we protect for the LGBTQIA+ community. Smile and spread joy and love, but never forget to check in with those who are about to begin and start their journey. For the more visible they become, the scarier things can be,” Mercury Stardust, the “Trans Handy Ma’am,” tells HollywoodLife.
“Be proud of who you are and proud of the humans around you. It’s hard to be a person, whether you are queer or not. It’s also hard to be social after a ridiculous two years. So if you put pants on today, be damn proud,” MuMu told HollywoodLife.
“I picked this song to represent all the people still living in the closet. Part of the reason [why] I celebrate Pride proudly is for those who can’t celebrate openly or freely,” Sam Kogon told HollywoodLife.
“The community has missed pride through the past couple of pandemic-ridden years, so I imagine everyone will be making up for lost time (myself included). We’ve also faced a lot of political challenges, unfortunately, some big losses, and feeling a sense of community is a beautiful tool for healing. That’s the pride vibe,” Ash Gordon told HollywoodLife.
“When I came out, I was surprised to find a little community of fellow queer folks at my university. Now, I live in NYC and my life is a real-world version of The L Word. I have a wonderfully supportive group of friends that are more like family and they make me feel supported and seen. You will find it too!” Elizabeth Wyld told HollywoodLife.
Whether it’s your first or fiftieth Pride, no matter how you identify or even if you’re still figuring it out, I hope you know you are valid, and there is a place here for you!” Maryze told HollywoodLife.
“I would like to see all LGBTQ+ professional athletes, signed and unsigned, to keep being seen as sellable and pushed into the mainstream outlets all year round, and not just during Pride Month,” Sonny Kiss told HollywoodLife.
“As I celebrate myself and my community, part of me also fears for our safety. Outside of the parades and festivals, there are so many people that are still enduring abuse. So for me, Pride 2022’s vibe hits the whole damn spectrum: Fear, mourning, joy but most of all, hope,” Jada Michael told HollywoodLife.
“I could be wrong, but it feels like people are ready to celebrate and release some pent-up energy between literally not being able to get out the last two years because of the pandemic and the recent hate-filled laws that have been coming out, people need some hope and positivity,” Nyla Rose told HollywoodLife.
“Be proud of who you are, you’re true, authentic self. You are VALID, and there is always a place for you. Self-love is self-acceptance. The world will embrace you, and the community will always be here to support, help, and love you in your journey,” Mercedes Martinez told HollywoodLife.
“Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Focus on what makes you happy in life and don’t let others’ negativity, immaturity, or ignorance stop you from being the person you are or aspire to be,” Anthony Bowens told HollywoodLife.
More to come…
Though the climate hasn’t always allowed them to live freely, queer people have been instrumental in the creation of music. Mai Rainey, a pioneering blues musician, sang about how she “don’t like no men” in her 1928 song, “Prove It On Me Blues,” per Billboard. She and Bessie Smith, another bisexual blues singer, pushed the envelope of what society deemed fit at the time. That spirit was also found in Esquerita, the provocative rock ’n’ roller of the late 1950s. With a trademark towering pompadour, the rocker born Eskew Reeder Jr. blazed his own path in music history – one commemorated by Norton Records adopting Esquerita’s face as their official mascot.
It would take numerous books to comprehensively summarize the impact that the LGBTQ+ community has had on modern music (one could check out Sasha Geffen’s Glitter Up The Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary, Darryl W. Bullock’s David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music or his other book, The Velvet Mafia: The Gay Men Who Ran The Swinging Sixties as a start.)
Pop music – both behind the scenes and behind the microphone – is full of LGBTQ+ people. Hip-hop wouldn’t exist without queer people, specifically the queer people of color who pioneered the genres of disco, house, and dance music that begat hip-hop. Sylvester, Big Freedia, and Frankie Knuckles walked so that Lil Nas X and Frank Ocean could run (check out more unsung heroes here and here.)
Similarly, rock, punk, and metal music wouldn’t exist without Freddie Mercury, Kid Congo Powers, Jayne County, Jobriah, Elton John, Rob Halford, Joan Jett, Bob Mould, Linda Perry, and more helping pave the way. Lzzy Hale, Billie Joe Armstrong, Gaahl, Laura Jane Grace, and more rockers – which you can find here – continue to light the path for today’s youth, making space for the next generation of LGBTQ+ rockers to fly their flags while banging their heads.
This is just scratching the surface of a rich history of LGBTQ+ involvement in music. June 2022 is a good month to research new LGBTQ+ musicians and find out those that influenced your favorite artists. And keep coming back to HollywoodLife for the latest installment of The Sound of Pride and the latest additions to The Sound Of Pride 2022 playlist.