Happy Pride! Pride began as a political demonstration to voice LGBTQ+ demands for the freedom to love as one chooses and equal rights. In the documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? the interviewer asked Nina Simone what freedom meant to her. She said ”I’ll tell you what freedom is to me, no fear.” With states like Mississippi and Oklahoma allowing businesses to bar members of the LGBTQ+ community, the Trump administration actively working to stop the hard-won progress made for LGBTQ+ people, the administration’s decision to leave the UN’s Human Rights Commission, and more, it’s hard to feel fearless. But we know folks are strong. We hope this playlist inspires those who need it to love passionately, celebrate joyously, and take action seriously.
You can also listen to these songs on Unsweetened: A Playlist for a Feminist Future on Spotify.
Lily Allen, “Fuck You”
Let’s just start this Pride addition with what we are all thinking: Fuck You. Allen recorded this song about George W. Bush, but it’s just as appropriate for the current administration.
JD Samson & MEN, “Who Am I to Feel So Free”
Former Le Tigre member, JD Samson explores gender politics and sexuality, while making you want to dance with the Brooklyn music collective MEN. In this queer anthem, Samson reminds us we deserve to feel so free.
Sara Bareilles, “Brave”
We are brave. Thanks for the reminder, Sara Bareilles.
Against Me!, “True Trans Soul Rebel”
Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace wrestles with topics that are at the foundation of punk music — alienation, self-loathing, and a longing for acceptance and love — at the same time Grace, who came out as transgender in 2012, inspires trans women to fight for their lives.
Hayley Kiyoko, “Girls Like Girls”
This Japanese American pop singer tells personal stories about high school crushes and coming out. “Tell the neighbors I’m not sorry if I’m breaking walls down.”
Leslie Gore, “You Don’t Own Me”
Leslie Gore recorded this song in 1963 and what was radical then is still essential: “Just let me be myself, that’s all I ask of you.”
Lowell interweaves her pop music with the politics of sexuality and sex work. Openly bisexual, she sings, “Why are you afraid of how I feel? L-G-B-T, L-O-V-E.
Tegan and Sara, “Freedom”
The Canadian indie band break out the harmonica for this song about freedom. “Standing on the edge of a crisis/We decide to raise our own voices.”
Conchita Wurst, “Heroes”
This pop song by Austrian singer, Conchita Wurst, is about the battle against intolerance, love, and self empowerment.
Adult Mom, “Survival”
Adult Mom is an indie-pop quartet from Purchase, NY. Led by Steph Knipe, who identifies as non-binary, the band addresses gender identity and sexuality with a bubbly, upbeat sound.
Angel Haze and Sia, “Battle Cry”
Rapper Angel Haze features Sia in this fierce battle cry.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert, “Same Love”
This song by hip hop duo, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert advocates for human rights and equality.
Shamir, “In For the Kill”
Shamir, who identifies as non-binary, told Pitchfork that “In For the Kill” is about “making sacrifices to do things that make you happy.”
The rap and funk Seattle duo, THEESatisfaction, is made up of Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White. These self-identified queer black babes provide the medicine “to keep your soul intact.”
Le Tigre, “Keep on Living”
“Stupid shit just makes you cry (keep on, keep on livin’!)”
Blame the Youth, “Oasis”
This North Carolina group, which is made up of three black women and a Mexican trans lead singer, named their band after Janelle Monáe’s song “Givin Em What They Love.” This song is a reminder that we all need safe spaces.
Hurray for the Riff Raff, “The Body Electric”
NPR proclaimed this song by the political feminist queer folk band as the 2014 Political Folk Song of the Year. The melodic song encourages us to question the violence and discrimination against people of color, women, and the LGBT community.
Sister Sledge, “We Are Family”
We are family. Together we are strong.
Listen to the entire playlist here: