Is Janelle Monáe About To Release The Queerest Album Ever? Plus, Check Out The Music We’re Streaming This Pride Month

by Carmella D'Acquisto

It’s officially Pride Month, and we’re ready to celebrate all things LGBTQ! To kick off the month, queer icon and heaven-sent musical genius, Janelle Monáe, is releasing her upcoming album, The Age of Pleasure, on June 9. And after premiering the incredibly sexy Lipstick Lover just last month, we’re ready for an album full of WLW anthems! While we wait in anticipation, here are five other queer artists we’ll be listening to.

Arlo Parks

British musician Arlo Parks already has grammy-noms under her belt from her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams. The bisexual artist JUST released her sophomore album, My Soft Machine on May 31 (stay tuned for a BUST review)! “My queer identity has always made its way into my music because it’s who I am,” Parks told The Pink News. “I remember the first time I heard somebody singing a song about being queer and using pronouns that I felt I could apply to love stories that I had been through, then also wanting to give that back to people. A big part of encouraging people is making them feel less alone.”

girl in red

Norwegian indie pop singer Marie Ulven Ringheim aka girl in red, has reached cult-status for young lesbians and other WLW. The artist, who originally identified as gay, now calls herself queer, an umbrella term that not only encapsulates the identities of LGBTQ+ people, but also represents the spirit of the community too. “I think having all this queer art and music and movies and photography and paintings, it’s so important and all that shit is gonna help this world move towards a better place,” Ringheim told Gay Times. “Seeing all these girls and boys making them gay tunes, I’m just like, ‘Yaaas!’” girl in red’s biggest hit (so far) is her song I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend, a tune chocked full of young and eager longing: “I don’t want to be your friend, I want to kiss your lips. I want to kiss you until I lose my breath.”

Brittany Howard

The Alabama Shakes frontwoman with an impressive solo career and some ethereal vocals, Brittany Howard, didn’t become fully aware of her lesbian identity until her mid-twenties, according to The Independent. Howard grew up in the religious south, a place with no representation of who she was: a young Black queer girl. While talking about a same-sex crush in her song Georgia, she told Vulture: “When I was younger, I wish I had a song like that. To be represented by someone who thinks more like me, rather than being represented by these giant images in the media, like, ‘This is what it looks like to be gay…’ I don’t look anything like that.”


Musician Syd (formerly Syd tha Kyd) has had a long career in music, though she just entered her thirties. The musician started turning heads at age 16 when she was a part of the collective Odd Future with artists like Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and Frank Ocean, then went on to start her own band The Internet. Syd, who is gay, tries to balance bringing her queerness to the forefront of her public image. “ I’ve always made it a point to just be gay,” she told The Guardian. “It was just like: ‘Look, there’s a girl in the video with me. What else do I need to say?’” Syd is a frequent collaborator with Kehlani, another gay artist with impeccable vocals check out their beautiful vocal blending on the song Birthday.

Rina Sawayama

The gorgeous and talented Rina Sawayama has had a jam-packed career, as a triple-threat: actress, musician and model. Her 2018 track Cherry exploded on the scene and was a song that openly discussed her pansexual sexuality. “I guess people find bisexuality harder to identify with,” Rina told Gay Times. “Gay male culture is very strongly represented, and lesbian culture is represented too, but bisexual culture is still in a formative stage where people are still learning to own it and making it what it is. I know it makes me sound really old school, but pansexual is a new word for me,” she says. “I grew up identifying as bisexual, because even maybe four or five years ago the language just wasn’t there, I don’t think. It’s such a new thing, so I’ve been getting used to my new identity.”

Top photo: screenshot of “Lipstick Lover” Music Video from the official Janelle Monáe YouTube Channel.

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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