2017 was the year of Dua Lipa, with her song New Rules hitting number one and its accompanying video well on its way to amassing one billion views. Dua Lipa is a thoroughly modern pop star with progressive views to match. Her video for Blow Your Mind (Mwah) featured an LGBT Pride flag, as well as using the Mean Girls quote ‘You can’t sit with us’ and changing it to ‘You can sit with us’. As Dua Lipa said herself: “Artists should really use their power and presence on social media to just put it out there and show support.”
Frank Ocean isn’t a loud musician. He isn’t outspoken, and he isn’t a ‘media celebrity’ in the way most popular musicians are. And that means when he makes a statement, it echoes. This summer at Panorama Festival, he won praise for wearing a T Shirt that read “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you could just be quiet?” The shirt was designed by bisexual entrepreneur Kayla Robinson. In a further fashion statement, Ocean donned a sparkly and rather fetching sequin skirt for a magazine cover.
She’s a former Disney star who fans call ‘Lesbian Jesus’, so it’s no surprise to see Hayley Kiyoko on the shortlist for the British LGBT awards. The young queer icon ‘broke the internet’ with her video for Gravel To Tempo, which saw her showing off her dance moves and kissing ‘Headphones Girl’ to the delight of Twitter. In her video for Feelings, the star flirts with a woman in the street. Pink News praised the clip, saying; “What’s so wonderful about it is that she represents all women who love women in such a joyful way.”
Along with bringing attention to important issues, supporting LGBT causes means celebrating the happy, joyous moments that being gay entails. Jess Glynne did just that when she brought her concert to a standstill… so one of her gay fans could propose to his partner. “It was just amazing, the crowd were cheering so loud, chanting and showing so much love,” said pop fan Lewis Nicholls. “We also got a photo with Jess on stage and the 6,000 people are behind us”.
After a rough 2016 in which her attempted suicide was splashed all over the press, Kehlani rose like a Phoenix in 2017, releasing an acclaimed album (SweetSexySavage). Later in the year, she unelaashed Honey, a gorgeous acoustic track featuring the lyric: “I like my girls just like I like my honey – sweet, a little selfish”. Kehlani is open about her fluid sexuality. She had her first girlfriend in secondary school, where she thought she had to be gay or straight, but now she’s “learned that there’s really no wrong or right, that it was cool to like everything”.
At this year’s MTV VMAS, Pink accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, the most prestigious gong handed out at the ceremony. Pink used it as an opportunity to school the world in equality, diversity… and in the process became the coolest mum in the world. She said her daughter had complained she was the ugliest girl she knew. Pink did the best thing: she showed her daughter pictures of legends such as Janis Joplin, Elton John, George Michael and David Bowie, artists “who live their truth, are probably made fun of everyday of their life, and carry on, and wave their flag, and inspire the rest of us.”
PVRIS’s 2014 debut album White Noise propelled them to alt-rock stardom, with four years of intense touring following. Lead singer Lynne Gunn came out to her parents as a teenager and has never been shy about her sexuality. Although acceptance and equality is something the band has always advocated for, since Donald Trump became President they have been fierce in their support of LGBT+ rights. “I think Trump has inspired a lot of people to be really vocal with each other,” says Gunn, “A lot more people are on the right side of history, rather than his side.”
Pop princess Rita Ora teamed up with Charli XCX at Radio 1’s Big Weekend to perform Girls, an ode to same sex romance featuring the lyrics: “Sometimes I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls,” and “I put the lion in the cage and then I laid with her all night.” The song went down so well that Rita wants to release it as a single. The singer has also joined celebrities such as Lena Dunham in condemning the purge of gay people in Chechnya.
TEGAN & SARA
GLAAD-Award winners Tegan and Sara have long spoken out for LGBT rights, and now the pop duo have launched their own foundation to help women. Inspired to launch a charity by their fans, the pair said: “Our journey navigating sexism and homophobia in the music industry has always been interwoven with the stories you share with us. Your personal histories of injustice and discrimination at home, school, work, and church have inspired us to use our public status to speak out about the struggles of the LGBTQ community.”
His queer-tastic new video to certified pop banger ‘My My My’ amassed 10m views in one week, and there’s a reason why. It’s brilliant. It’s openly, screamingly gay, and yet artsy and restrained. Sweating bodies do everything but collide with one another in a clip that confirms Troye as a musician to be reckoned with. “In short, till recently, there was no way for a major pop artist to be openly gay and actively physical,” said culture bible Vulture… that’s all changed now. My My My is like George Michael by way of Justify My Love and signals a big leap forward for Troye’s career.