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10 Out Black Musicians You Should Know

by Alamin Yohannes /
Image: A combo image of Alex Newell, Angel Haze and Le1f
Alex Newell, Angel Haze and Le1fGetty Images for GLAAD, Getty Images, Invision/AP

In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month and African-American Music Appreciation Month — which are both celebrated in June — here are 10 out black musicians to add to your playlist.

Mykki Blanco

Fader Fort Presented By Converse - Day 1
Mykki Blanco poses for a portrait backstage before a performance in the Brooklyn.Roger Kisby / Getty Images

Hip-hop artist, poet and performer Mykki Blanco is known for his bold and vibrant style. From the energy of his performances to his fashion choices, Blanco commands attention. He is also known for being vocal about LGBTQ issues.

Parson James

102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango 2016 - Show
Singer Parson James performs on stage at 102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango 2016 at StubHub Center on May 14, 2016 in Carson, California.Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

The biracial soul singer left his hometown of Cheraw, S.C., at age 17 to begin his music career in New York City. After his hit song "Kygo," James went on to release his soulful debut EP, "Temple." Now signed to RCA Records, the artist is preparing to release his debut album, which includes previously released single "Sad Song."

Cakes da Killa

USA - Music - House Party NYC at Webster Hall
Cakes Da Killa attends House Party NYC at Webster HallNicky Digital / Corbis via Getty Images

New Jersey native Cakes Da Killa is known for his bold lyrics, which he uses to challenge the status quo of hip-hop. Cakes, who names Missy Elliot among his inspirations, was recently on tour with rapper Mykki Blanco. The hip-hop artist, whose first album is titled "Hedonism," is currently working on his sophomore album.


Image: Shamir performs onstage during Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Shamir performs onstage during Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 16, 2016 in Indio, California.Emma McIntyre / Getty Images for Coachella file

In 2014, singer-songwriter Shamir released his debut EP, "Northtown," which received rave reviews and led to a record deal at XL Recordings. The artist, whose unique musical style and voice make him stand out, went on to release his debut album, "Ratchet," in 2015. While Shamir has since been dropped from his recording label, the artist self-released his sophomore album, "Hope," on Soundcloud earlier this year.


Image: Syd Bennett with The Internet performs during ONE Musicfest 2015 at Aaron's Amphitheater at Lakewood on Sept. 12, 2015, in Atlanta.
Syd Bennett with The Internet performs during ONE Musicfest 2015 at Aaron's Amphitheater at Lakewood on Sept. 12, 2015, in Atlanta.Robb D. Cohen / Robb D. Cohen/Invision/AP

Los Angeles native Syd built herself a small home studio at just 14 years old. Since then, the singer has released her own EP, produced tracks for other artists and worked as a DJ. She is also the frontwoman for soul band The Internet.


Image: Rapper Le1f performs at the Brooklyn Museum's 4th annual Brooklyn Artists Ball
Rapper Le1f performs at the Brooklyn Museum's 4th annual Brooklyn Artists Ball in New York, on April 16, 2014.Mireya Acierto / Getty Images

Le1f is a New York-based performer and rapper who holds a degree in dance from Wesleyan University. After releasing several EPs and mixtapes, Le1f released his debut album, "Riot Boi," in 2015. He maintains a strong connection to other LGBTQ artists of color through collaboration, connection and support.

Young M.A

Image: Young M.A. performs in Brooklyn
Young M.A. performs on Oct. 27, 2016, in Brooklyn, New York.Scott Roth / Scott Roth/Invision/AP file

Brooklyn-born Young M.A has been rapping for quite some time, but in 2016 she had everyone saying "Ooouuu" when she released her debut single. "Ooouuu" became one of last year's songs of the summer and brought the rapper wide acclaim. Since then, Young M.A has spoken out about how her sexuality and coming out journey have been important to her development as an artist.

Kevin Abstract

Image: Kevin Abstract performs in Los Angeles
Kevin Abstract performs on Nov. 12, 2016 in Los Angeles.Frazer Harrison / Getty Images file

With inspirations including Frank Ocean, Quentin Tarantino and Childish Gambino, it is no surprise Kevin Abstract has a distinct vibe and sound. The Texas native garnered the attention of music publications when he released his debut album "MTV1987" in 2014. He followed that up with "American Boyfriend" in 2016. The artist is also part of hip-hop collective BROCKHAMPTON, which released a collective mixtape titled "All-American Trash."

Alex Newell

Image: Alex Newell
Alex Newell performs during the GLAAD Rising Stars Luncheon in New York on May 5, 2017.Aurora Rose / Rex Features via AP Images

Fans of Fox series "Glee" will remember Alex Newell as the actor who played transgender student Unique Adams. During his stint on the series, Newell amazed fans with impressive performances of hit songs including Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy" and Nicki Minaj's "Starships." Now the singer is beginning a career of his own, having released an EP and having gone on tour with Adam Lambert. Currently, Newell is working on his debut album.

Angel Haze

Image: Angel Haze
Angel Haze performs on the pyramid Stage during the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm on June 28, 2014.Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Angel Haze started releasing mixtapes on the internet back in 2009, and then the rapper released the debut album, "Dirty Gold," in 2013. One of the album's singles, "Battle Cry," features guest vocals from singer-songwriter Sia. Throughout Haze's career, Haze has openly discussed being both pansexual and agender.

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