25 LGBT Black Trailblazers Who Have Paved The Way

Celebrating the triumph and resiliency of Black leaders in the face of adversity, has become an all-too-common narrative. Nearly every generation is marked with a movement for racial justice and equity. In the midst of these powerful movements Black Queer contributors and trailblazers are often left out of the narrative. Let’s take a moment and take pride in a few dope people who have helped to pave the way.

Frank Ocean

Frank was born Christopher Edwin Breaux on October 28, 1987. He is an American singer, rapper, songwriter and photographer. We will always remember him for starting a revolution for the black LGBTQ music community in 2012. Frank's latest work is his album 'Blonde' which he released in 2016.

Joy Oladokun

Joy Oladokun is an Afro-American born on April 6, 1992. Her music spans many genres like folk, R&B, rock and pop. While she was raised in Casa Grande, Arizona, she later moved to Los Angeles. She released 'Who Do I Turn to,' a ballad co-written with Natalie Hemby during the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. On July 4, 2021, she released her 3rd studio album.

Keiynan Lonsdale

Keiynan Lonsdale is an Australian actor born in Sydney, Australia but has mixed ancestry:

  • His father being Nigerian and his mother, Australian.
  • He is a dancer, singer and songwriter. He is known for his roles as Oliver Lloyd in the ABC series Dance Academy and Wally West in the CW series The Flash and several other series.
  • He started his acting career in 2007 when he featured in Razzle Dazzle: A Journey into Dance. He came out as bisexual on Instagram in 2017. His latest work is in the drama series Eden, where he plays the role of Cam.

 

Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe Robinson is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is from Kansas City and is the CEO of her record label. Janelle is known to use global platforms to speak out against police brutality while also promoting support for the LGBTQ people.

Kelvin Abstract

Kelvin Abstract was born Clifford Ian Simpson on 16 July 1996. He is an American rapper, songwriter and director from Corpus Christi, Texas. He released his debut album in 2014 and it received a lot of attention. Kelvin came out as gay in 2016 and has promised to use his music as a venture to support the LGBTQ movement.

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X was Born Montero Lamar Hill on 9 April 1999. He is an American rapper and singer from Little Springs, Georgia. He gained prominence after the release of his rap single 'old-time road' in 2019. Lil Nas X has gone on to release many other hit singles. He came out as gay in 2019. At the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, he was the most nominated male artist and he later became the first LGBTQ Black artist to win a Country Music award.

 

Kiersey Clemons

Kiersey Nicole Clemons is an American actor born on December 17, 1993, in Pensacola. She is also a singer and producer and came to prominence in 2015 after portraying the character Cassandra Andrews in the comedy-drama 'Dope'.

Kiersey has featured in many other movies including Zack Snyder's Justice League in 2021. the movie 'The flash' and the television series 'Fairfax'. Keirsey suffers from Bipolar disorder.

Azealia Banks

Azealia Amanda Banks is an American rapper born May 13, 1991, and grew up in Harlem, New York. She became prominent in 2011 when her single 212 went viral. Aside from her music, she's known to counter public figures on matters of U.S politics on Twitter and publicly speaking out on Civil rights issues.

 

RuPaul Andre Charles

RuPaul is an American model, host, producer and judge of the reality TV series RuPaul's Drag Race. Born on November 17, 1960, in San Diego, California, USA.

He has appeared in several movies and is said to be the most commercially successful drag queen. In 2020, he released his thirteenth studio album.

Justin Fashanu

Justin was born on February 19, 1961, in Hackney Central, London. He became the most expensive player in England in1981. He, however, took his life in 1998 after coming out as gay in 1990.

 

Jackie Kay

Born in November 1961 in Edinburgh, Scotland Jackie is an educator. She won numerous awards as a poet, playwright and novelist including the Guardian fiction prize in 1998. She is currently a Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and a Cultural Fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University.

 

Paul Danquah

He was born Joseph Paul Walcott on May 25, 1925 in London, England. He became popular for his role in the movie A Taste of Honey. After acting, he went into the bank to work as a consultant. He died on the 13th of August, 2015

 

Rotimi Fani Kayode

He was born in Nigeria but was forced to leave the country with his family as a result of the civil war in 1966. He became prominent for his work on sexuality, masculinity and race. He died from a heart attack due to Aids-related complications on 20th April, 1955

 

Lady phyll

Lady Phyll was born in November 1974 in Islington, London, England. She is a political activist and co-founder of UK Black pride. This organization promotes unity and cooperation among Black people of different nationalities.

 

Gina Yashere

She was born in Bethnal Green, London, England. She gained prominence as a comedian. She has also been featured in several TV shows with her recent feature in 'Bob Hearts Abishola'. We expect to see a sitcom by Chuck Lorre soon, written by Gina.

 

Trey Anthony

Trey was born in London, United Kingdom on February 18 1983. She's a playwright, actor and producer who became popular for her award-winning play and Television series 'Da Kink in My Hair'. Her latest work was appearing in CBC Gem's Queer Pride Inside.

 

Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson was born in Kingston, Jamaica on December 20, 1960. She is known for her short stories mostly revolving around Caribbean history. She started a LGBTQ comic book series since 2018, which continues till date. Some of her novels are Brown Girl in the Ring, Midnight Robber and The Salt Roads.

 

Walter Marren

Walter Marren Borden born in 1942 is a Canadian actor, poet and playwright. He became prominent for his films and television series. His latest works include Coroner in 2020 and the 2015 movie Hexecutioners.

 

Robert Joseph Greene

He was born on January 11, 1973. He is a Canadian Author and he is known for his works in gay romance fiction his latest works are The Gay Icon Classics of the World and The counting of Sins; A love story in 2020.

 

Thom Allison

Thom is a Canadian actor born in Winnipeg. He is best known for portraying the character of Pree in the series Killjoys. He won the Canadian Screen Awards for Best Supporting Actor in A Drama series for this role.

 

Lebogang Precious Mathosa

Born on July 17, 1977, in South Africa. She started with the South African band "Boom Shaka" in 1994. She was one of the most  successful female artists in the Kwaito genre. On October 23, 2006, her life was tragically cut short at age 29 when her driver had lost control of their vehicle in a highway accident. More than 15 years later her inflenuce lives on and has impact various genres of music internationally.

 

Sade Giliberti

Born and raised in South Africa but of mixed race(Italian/Zulu). She is an Actress, presenter, Media personality and Mental Health and LGTBQ+ rights advocate.

 

Steven Canals

Born September 14, 1980. Steven Canals is an American screenwriter and producer. He worked as an LGBT resource coordinator at SUNY Cortland and also as the director for gender and sexual orientation initiatives in 2011.

 

Laverne Cox

 

She is an American actress born on May 29 1972. She gained prominence for her role in the TV series, Orange is The New Black, becoming the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy award. Her resume is long with additional credits in Modeling, Netflix, Broadway, & hosting the Emmy's Red Carpet for E. Notable appearance post OITNB include The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Kinky Boots, & Inventing Anna to name a few. 

 

Lee Daniels

 

Born on December 24, 1959, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US, Daniels first gained prominence for producing the movie Monster Ball, which earned Halle Berry an Academy Award for Best Actress. His later work Precious based on the best selling Urban Novel "PUSH" would serve as a platform for another Oscar win for a Black Female actress, "Monique". In 2015 he would later join forces with friend and executive producer Tarji P. Henson to produce the mega hit primte time drama "Empire" centered around a famous entertainment family with a troubled past. His latest work was the critcally acclaimed,The United States vs Billie Holiday which he directed in 2021.

 

 Have we missed anyone? Who should we include? Let us know in the comments.

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