Just A Bunch Of Amazing Queer Black And Indigenous Artists To Support
From music to literature, these Black and queer artists are fierce and talented.
Before it was renowned as a party, Pride was (and still is) a protest movement built out from the Stonewall riots.
Stonewall couldn’t have happened without Black and brown LGBTIQ folk, such as black trans activists, Marsha P Johnson and Miss Major. Black lives, Black LGBTIQ lives, always have and always will matter. Our community needs to remember this, and support them.
For those of us in the LGBT community, we have many Black LGBTIQ folk to thank for the Pride we know today.
So, here’s some BlPOC creatives from Australia and beyond, who are out and proud, for you to support.
Alison Whittaker is a proudly queer Gomeroi poet, academic and author.
She has published two deadly poetry collections, Lemons in the Chicken Wire (2016) and Blakwork (2018). Not to mention Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power Today (2020), a collection she curated featuring other creatives in this list.
Whittaker’s words are a force, dealing powerfully in post-colonial memory, reflection and identity. Support and follow her @AJ_Whittaker on Twitter.
Non-binary Sudanese-American, Dua Saleh is a composer, singer and poet.
Their debut EP, ROSETTA, deals closely with being black and closeted, and is an ode to the erasure of black queer and trans artists in the music industry. Even the name, ROSETTA is after Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a queer Black American musician from the 1940s.
Saleh hopes their work will reach and uplift other queer Black folk. The Minneapolis native’s recent single, ‘Body Cast’ is about police brutality, and Saleh is donating all proceeds from the track to Black Visions Collective. Go listen!
Nayuka Gorrie is a Gunai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta writer and social commentator.
Gorrie is one of Australia’s most vital Blak queer voices. You can find their work in Vice, The Guardian, The Lifted Brow, and here in Junkee. Most recently Gorrie co-wrote Thalu. Thalu is a live-action kids tv series about a group of Indigenous kids fighting to save their country from the Takers and their mysterious dust cloud. Thalu is currently streaming on SBS on Demand.
You can and should also follow Nayuka Gorrie on Twitter @NayukaGorrie.
Melbourne based queer Wiradjuri and Filipino performer, Mo’Ju has been a loud proud voice in the alternative Australian music scene for the last few years.
She’s not been afraid to call the industry out either, remarking in a Guardian interview from 2019, “I was too queer, too brown or not attractive enough to sell records”.
Her soulful album, Native Tongue is out, streaming now, and defiantly deadly to boot.
Ellen van Neerven
30-year-old Ellen van Neerven is a fiercely talented award winning author, poet and playwright of Mununjali Yugambeh and Dutch heritage.
Their books include their novel, Heat and Light (2014), their first poetry collection, Comfort Food (2016), and their latest poetry collection, Throat, published by University of Queensland press this March. Ellen is currently curating an upcoming anthology of Speculative Fiction by Black authors published by Djed Press.
Their works are as stunning, powerful and proudly queer as they are, and absolutely worth the read.
Shea Diamond is a trans Black American singer, songwriter and activist.
Her music style is best described as “outstanding”, in my humble opinion, but also specifically as soulful RnB that dapples confidently in rock ‘n’ roll. I cannot hype her singles, ‘I Am America’ and ‘I Am Her’ enough, and ‘Don’t Shoot’ is, to say the least, relevant as hell to our current moment.
Steven Oliver is a legendary Aboriginal comic.
Descended from the Kukuyalanji, Waanyi, Gangalidda, Woppaburra, Bundjalung and Biripi peoples, Oliver is a proud gay Black writer and comedian. He has no shortage of fabulously funny credits, including ABC’s Black Comedy, and Thor: Ragnarok.
But this Pride month I recommend checking out Faboriginal. Oliver co-created and hosts Faboriginal (SBS) where he and a host of other talented Indigenous celebs (many of whom are also LGBT) discuss Indigenous art, trivia and do a whole lot of laughing.
Proud Black American trans author, actress and director, Janet Mock made history in 2018 as the first out transgender woman of colour to write and direct an episode of television when she directed an episode of Pose (avaliable through Foxtel).
Since then, Mock has directed, written and produced 10 episodes of the award-winning heartwarming drama. Pose follows the lives of trans and queer Black and brown folks living in New York in the ‘80s, and is the first show in history to have five out trans women of colour in its main cast.
Mock also signed a deal with Netflix in 2019, and made history again as the first out transgender woman to call the shots at a major content company. In 2020, Mock wrote, produced and directed episodes of Hollywood (Netflix) which is now streaming. Support her activism and work on Instagram @janetmock.
Uncle Jack Charles is a legend of Australian entertainment.
He is a member of the Stolen Generations, and has been many things in his lifetime; an actor, activist, an addict, a criminal, musician, and poet.
The complexities of his life were immortalised in the 2008 documentary, Bastardry (Docu Play), which followed the challenges of his having to balance a life of acting and crime. Now a proud and out elder, in 2019 Charles published his autobiography, Jack Charles: Born Again Blakfella with Penguin Books.
Gifted is severely understating Zaachariaha Fielding’s talent as a musician, performer and poet.
Coming from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara community in Mimili, South Australia, Fielding has talked openly of the struggles of growing up gay and Black in such a small remote community. He formed the electro-pop band, Electric Fields with Michael Ross to great success.
Fielding performs in both his Native languages and English, and the band’s sound has been described as the love child of Nina Simone and Daft Punk. Electric Fields latest single, ‘Would I Lie’, is streaming now.
Known initially as Syd Tha Kyd, founding member and lead singer for indie soul band, The Internet, Syd has said she isn’t too into labels.
But the American singer, songwriter and performer has opened up about owning her identity as a gay Black woman in many interviews, her music and her solo album, Fin.
If your playlist of Black LGBT artists already has Janelle Monae, Shea Diamond and Halsey, then I suggest you also add Syd and her suave tunes.
Apart from being a living manifestation of warmth and sunlight, Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi is an award-winning emerging poet, storyteller and author of Tongan, Black and Indigenous descent.
Her work has featured in the anthology, Fire Front alongside other writers on this list like Alison Whittaker, Steven Oliver and Ellen van Neerven. It wouldn’t be far from the best decision you’ll make today if you go support and follow her on Twitter for some fire tweets, and updates on her latest and greatest projects @endlessyarning.
This list is by no means exhaustive and I’d encourage readers to support LGBT BIPOC creatives, regardless of the month, because all Black lives matter all the time.
Finally, I’d encourage any Black/Indigenous creatives who are LGBT to reply to this thread on Twitter with where people can follow and support you!
Merryana Salem is a Lebanese Indigenous Australian masquerading on most social media as @akajustmerry. She’s also a freelance critic and teacher with a podcast called GayV Club where she gushes about lgbt rep in film, but mostly she hopes you ate something nice today.