It is important for art to represent the depth and range of our intersectional diversities. This means the creative industry needs to be inclusive. We need young creative people to feel like they can relate to someone who looks and sounds like them. We need a diverse view of art from different types of people all over the world. Here are 4 awesome queer creative POC's who openly talk about their sexuality, and inspire many others.
Twiggy Jalloh is a British-Sierra journalist and a beauty and lifestyle assistant at British Vogue. She talks about wellness and her personal experiences as a queer Black woman. In 2021, she joined forces with Converse and their All Star network, a global networking programme of creatives.
She also has a wellness podcast called Take Ten With Twiggy. In her interview with gal-dem, she said the podcast helps her become “more self-aware by the day”. This is important to Jalloh because self-care is what saved her mental health from crumbling during lockdown. In her podcast, she talks about her struggles and the things she has learnt during the week, which she finds purifying.
Having a harmonious work-life balance and a routine which consists of listing the things she is grateful for everyday, meditating in the evening and putting on a face mask at night helps to make her life more amicable. Jalloh believes that using beauty products is part of self-care and is an integral part of life. You can read her articles about skin care products and hair products here.
“Just Me and Allah” is a queer Muslim memoir. It is a photography project by Samra Habib who is a queer Muslim photographer. She has travelled through Europe and North America to record the lives of LGBTQI+ people. Habib said meeting other queer Muslims and questioning them about their lives helped her in sharing her own story.
In the book, we get to read about the struggles queer Muslims face everyday; navigating different identities, being true to their feelings and their sexuality, dealing with Islamophobic and homophobic attacks, dealing with the stigma of being queer in the Muslim community, and how Islam has helped them find solace in all of this.
Habib has also written about praying at a queer friendly Mosque. After years of shame altering her relationship with Islam, she had finally found a “non-judgemental spiritual community where [she] could meet others like [herself]”. You can read her article here.
Arlo Parks is a 21-year-old, queer Black artist who is set to perform at Glastonbury 2022. Labelled as the “cinematic storyteller for Generation Z”, Parks openly talks about sexuality, love, mental health and gender identity through her music.
Parks says her lyrics have helped her fans “through times of anxiety or helped them when they were alone”. Her songs have personally helped me through heartbreak as her lyrics encouraged me to explore my own emotions. The singer is influenced by poets such as Sylvia Plath, Chet Baker and Jim Morrison. Her lyricism is abstract and illuminating through her use of graphic descriptions of nature.
Check Out: Bluish
"You twist violets in my eyes"
Inspired by a wide range of artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Sufjan Stevens and Kendrick Lamar, her indie pop/indie folk/R&B music’s lyrics are intimate and vulnerable Parks acknowledges her privilege of being an artist and having a platform to talk about important themes like sexuality. She wants to educate people through her music and she believes a way to instigate change is by having conversations and asking questions, instead of making assumptions.
Check out: Cola
"It's better when your Coca Cola eyes are outta my face, I checked your phone and no suprises, She's grinnin' from ear to ear in purple haze"
Check out: Green Eyes
"So I know why we lasted two months, Could not hold my hand in public, Felt their eyes judgin' our love and bayin' for blood, I could never blame you darlin' "
Tyler, the Creator
From a young age, Tyler Okonma felt different; he used to get called "white boy" for liking things that other boys he grew up with didn't like, for example listening to jazz and hating football. He described himself at that time as being "too white for the black kids, too black for the white kids".
At 17 years old, Tyler emerged as a founding member of the notorious alternative hip-pop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. His early music from the mid-00's has a punk, underground hip-hop, raw DIY feel, which was a sharp contrast to the luxe aesthetics of hip-hop at the time.
For Tyler, Odd Future was a safe place to express himself as a black individual against mainstream media's and white fantasies of blackness. This led to Tyler making direct statements about his sexuality in his self-produced album Scum Fuck Flower Boy in 2017.
The title Scum Fuck Flower Boy itself expresses his self-change and coming out to the world in terms of his sexuality.
Scum Fuck = suggests vile, abrasive, like his previous work and alter egos
Flower Boy = embracing femininity, referencing his sexuality
Scum Fuck Flower Boy = he is expressing himself as not a stereotypical, black bisexual male.
Musically, his basslines are not so skittish and erratic, but smoother and more orchestral in the way he merges sounds of jazz, funk and hip-hop together. He raps about him addressing his sexuality (after using homophobic lyrics in his previous albums), feeling lonely, his journey of self-growth and unrequited love.
Check out: Who Dat Boy?
"I'm currently looking for a '95 Leo"
Aren't we all? Sigh.
Check out: Garden Shed
"Garden shed x4, for the garden, that is where I was hidin' that was real love I was in...garden shed for the garçons, then feelings that I was guardin' heavy on my mind"
Check out: I Ain't Got Time!
"Next line will have em like Whoa! I've been kissing white boys since 2004"
To conclude, there are lots of queer creatives of colour and there definitely aren't enough of them. To find out more about queer creatives and if you would like to join the communities, check out 10 resources and communities for queer, trans and non-binary creatives.