8 Black Queer Men We Celebrate for Bringing Needed Change
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Let’s take a moment to celebrate Black queer men who are bringing needed change to society, and Black queer visibility in general. Whether they are artists, local or state-level lawmakers, fashion leaders or more, there are plenty of Black queer men to celebrate. And with every passing day, Black queer people are creating, protesting and helping create a better world for all of us.
Here are 8 such celebrities — all Black queer men — to celebrate for their efforts:
Bob the Drag Queen
This RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 winner is so many things: a drag performer (and one of the biggest in the business); an actor who has appeared on High Maintenance, Tales of the City and A Black Lady Sketch Show; and an activist who spoke on Drag Race about his 2011 arrest during a marriage equality protest: “They fucking threw my ass in jail, in full drag, girl.”
Pennsylvania state representative Malcolm Kenyatta is on the rise within the Democratic Party. After being initially elected to his state’s House of Representatives in 2018, he has fought for local issues like voter rights. Kenyatta has also openly discussed and displayed his relationship with fiancé Dr. Matthew Miller. On top of that, Kenyatta was a keynote speaker, with Dr. Miller, at last year’s Democratic National Convention.
Jeremy O. Harris
Playwright and actor Jeremy O. Harris is having a great few years. After graduating from the Yale School of Drama, Harris went almost immediately to Broadway. His play, Slave Play, tackles tough issues like interracial dating, racism in modern America and the long-lasting effects the trauma of slavery has on everyday Black Americans. Now Harris’s play has a record-breaking number of Tony nominations, and his name is getting more popular by the day.
Justice Smith & Nicholas L. Ashe
From one Broadway playwright to a Broadway actor (and his boyfriend). Nicholas L. Ashe began 2019 on Broadway performing in Choir Boy (written by another Black queer man, Moonlight’s Tarell Alvin McCraney). Then, in 2020, Ashe made headlines when Detective Pikachu and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom star Justice Smith revealed the two were dating. We love to see it!
Edward Enninful may be one of the most powerful gay men in the fashion world. In 2017 he was named the Editor-In-Chief of British Vogue. Then, just last week, Enninful got a promotion. Now he will act as the European Editorial Director and will run Vogue’s U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain publications.
Lil Nas X
Ever since he broke the record breaking single “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X has been creating visibility in the pop and hip-hop music scenes. Even better, he’s creating visibility for Black queer men worldwide. Last year, Lil Nas X confronted comedian Kevin Hart on his internalized homophobia while talking about the homophobia within the Black community. Since then, the rapper and singer has talked about sexual positions, trolled fans online and been a personality desperately needed in America.
Lastly, we have DeRay McKesson, an activist bringing change by organizing protests, community support and political lobbying. As a leader within the Black Lives Matter organization and movement, McKesson has worked aggressively towards racial equality. As an example, he recently won a Supreme Court case over who’s liable for damages and assault during a protest. That’s just one way McKesson has helped to bring needed change in America. And he’s one of many Black queer men on our list — and many others who weren’t listed — who are doing the same.
Who are some other Black queer men we should be celebrating?
This article was originally published on February 2, 2020. It has since been updated.