June has come, and with it the spirit of PRIDE! So far we’ve seen Caitlyn Jenner break the Internet with the debut of her new public image, and President Obama officially proclaimed June as LGBTQ Pride Month. Though these two major victories for queer visibility are indicative of progress, they also serve as reminders that the fight for respect, equality, and dignity, on all levels, is never over.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of Latinx artists currently pushing the movement forward on their own terms, in their own corners of the world.
Gay, gender fluid, and in your face; La Delfi goes through pronouns like he goes through outfits. Delfi has been burning up the Dominican charts with his turnt up dembow and flamboyant looks, and letting the people have it! Even though Dominican Republic is quite conservative in matters of sexual orientation and gender, La Delfi has nothing to hide, and sings in no uncertain terms of his exploits and feuds. Delfi is just one of a new wave of LGBTQ artists to explode onto the Dominican scene since Rita Indiana kicked the door open back in 2011.
Soto is a Mexican-American singer, dancer, fashionista and club kid, born and raised in East LA. He describes his work as “stylized commentary on homophobic attitudes present within dominant culture.” He is often on tour, showcasing his unique blend of club music, ethnic heritage and gender commentary by performing in sequin Mariachi outfits and quinceañera dresses. The video for his most recent single, “ChaCha Bitch,” went viral for being equal parts catchy and poking fun at hyper macho Mexican culture.
The electrobrega trio is a ball of energy right out of Goiânia, Brazil. Formed by Davi Sabbag, Mateus Carrilho, and the gorgeous Candy Mel, a major Brazilian trans voice, Banda Uó’s pop sensibilities are on point. They first gained notoriety by sampling Katy Perry, and covering Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair.” Their own original content is polished and charming, never failing to get the party going.
The Chilean pop wunderkind has strong ties to the LGBTQ community, even as an ally. His video for “Como Puedes Vivir Contigo Mismo?” drew inspiration from Jennie Livingston’s seminal 1987 documentary Paris is Burning, while also showing reverence to the community it portrayed. Most recently, Alex wrote and directed Nunca Vas a Estar Solo, a film based on the events surrounding the death of Daniel Zamudio, a gay teen from Santiago who was assaulted and left to die by a hate group. The film is currently in post-production.
You can’t talk queer Latinos without the group of women that out-swagged every cumbiero in Argentina. The Kumbia Queers hold an undeniable place in the pantheon of trailblazers when it comes to diversity in the vastly heterosexual male genre that is cumbia. Though they’ve been away for a few years, the band is gearing up for a much awaited comeback and has finally begun to release new music.
Daniel Umpiérrez, better known as Dani Umpi, is a musician, visual artist and writer from Montevideo, Uruguay. The visuals for his artwork and performances are directly rooted in the surreal and the absurd; his own aesthetic being heavily influenced by Leigh Bowery. Umpi is also a musical chameleon, with his discography ranging from the dancey to the acoustic, always with his signature touch of weird.
The singer/songwriter is a relative newcomer on the already influential Chilean pop scene. He started out as Javiera Mena’s keyboardist (already a queer Latin icon in her own right) and has gone on to develop his own sound, putting out his first album Folklorico back in March. The music is light and beautiful, much like Namuel’s own delicate and cherub-like features. His first two singles “Lucha Libre” and “Babycakes” both deal with themes of first love, heartbreak and sexual innocence.
Originally from Belêm in northern Brazil, Jaloo has been described by his peers as a “true artist” for his highly conceptual work, infusing various elements of nature and indigenous Amazonian culture into his music and videos. His aesthetic plays off gender ambiguity, and he often dons make up, headpieces, and masks to accent his already androgynous physical features. Though moody and often avant garde, he proved that pop is not out of his grasp with his excellent cover of Miley’s “Wrecking Ball,” though it was his own song “Downtown” that really put him on the map.