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#FollowFriday, Aug. 31: You Should Be Following These 5 Photographers, Performers and Activists

In this week’s look at the best and brightest LGBTQ rising stars on Instagram, we share with you a mixture of queer talent that goes in many directions. It’s a feast for the senses, from photography and music to humor and courage.

It’s #FollowFriday, so check out these five photographers, performers and activists:

1. @pagmi

Paul Mpagi Sepuya is a photographer based in New York and L.A. whose work plays with depth in tantalizing ways. It’s delicate, sensual and challenging. You’re unlikely to ever look at the same photograph in the same way twice, with subtle gestures revealing whole worlds of feeling.

With homoerotic forms juxtaposed against clever collages of different parts of different bodies, there’s an empowering narrative at play for queer people of color.

Sepuya’s Instagram is a great place to see original photography that follows his trademark styings. There are also snippets of news and works in progress, giving you a real sense of a 21st century artist using Instagram to show who he is.

2. @arca1000000

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Arca is a Venezuelan-Londoner who’s been producing music since he was a teen. With comparisons to Bjork, this gorgeous creature has music with strong synths that are just as likely to make you tingle as they are to make you shudder.

He’s actually worked with Bjork on her Vulnicura and Utopia albums, as well as on projects with Kanye West, Kelela and FKA Twigs.

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We love the intimacy and openness of his Instagram. It’s full of memories, nostalgia, cute stories and even cuter selfies. Oh, and small clips of new music he’s working on, so really plenty to keep you scrolling.

3. @queerappalachia

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If you’re from outside the United States, you may not have heard of Appalachia. It’s a distinct cultural region that stretches from the southern part of New York State to northern Alabama and Georgia. It’s mostly rural, full of mountains and beautiful forests.

The Queer Appalachia account on Instagram is a fabulous community resource, with pictures, videos, memes and news. Even if you’re nowhere near there, the folks that run this page are worth a follow.

Their vibrant and heartwarming community activism in such a vast rural area is incredibly inspiring. You’ll also learn lots of quirky facts and cultural traits from the region.

4. @desmondisamazing

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This sometimes controversial ‘drag kid’ is a celebration of all the progress we’ve made as a community in the last decade.

Desmond Napoles (better known as Desmond is Amazing) is an 11-year-old performer and outspoken gay youth. He’s an award-winning LGBTQ advocate and an inspiration to young queer people across the planet. His Instagram account is run by his mom, but the quotes are his own. Wise and brave beyond his years, we wish we’d had a similar icon when we were growing up.

My homage to Divine as Dawn Davenport. I've only seen Hairspray but I still am huge fan of Divine . . . Hi! 👋 I’m Desmond from NYC. . I'm a drag kid, dragutante, draganista and a total drag slayer. . I'm the youngest member of the iconic voguing House of UltraOmni and the founder of the first ever drag house for drag kids, the @hausofamazing. . I'm an awarded LGBTQ+ advocate. My motto is "Be Yourself, Always" 🌈. . My looks are androgynous and my style is 'avant drag'. I'm inspired by RuPaul, the Club Kids, the Blitz Kids, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Marsha P. Johnson, Dragula, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, and Comme Des Garçons. . A big thank you to my fans, the Amazies . . . #divine #johnwaters #dawndavenport #cultfilms #costume . #alternativebeauty #androgynous #babydrag #boysinmakeup #brooklyndrag #clubkid #clubkids #drag #dragart #dragartist #dragkid #dragkids #draglife #dragqueen #dragqueer #dragsuperstar #genderfluid #makeupartist #nonbinary #nycdrag #queerartist #queermodel . #desmondisamazing #beyourselfalways #amazies . booking: @pegmgmt

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He says, “People should be able to dance, sing or dress in any way. You can express yourself however you want. It doesn’t matter if you like jazz or rap, ballet or ballroom, dresses or suits. You can just do you. I like Diana Ross. Maybe you do too.”

Desmond, we love Diana Ross, and we love you.

5. @blairimani

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Blair Imani is an African-American Muslim activist. She came out as queer in June of last year after springing to prominence following her role in protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and New York.

She’s the author of the inspirational book @modernherstory, which celebrates 70 women and nonbinary champions of progressive social change.

Her Instagram is gorgeously colourful, with beautiful photographs of Imani carrying out her work, as well as catching up with friends and having fun. Imani is also the founder of @equalityforher, an organization that supports and promotes tools of empowerment for everyone who identifies as a woman or nonbinary person.

Happy #FollowFriday! And follow Hornet on Instagram, too!