In Billboard’s first ever Pride Roundtable, the stars of Billboard’s 2019 Pride Issue — Big Freedia, Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara, ILoveMakonnen, Hayley Kiyoko and Adam Lambert — chat about the power of LGBTQ representation, the best ways to use their platforms and what steps the industry can take to become more inclusive of other queer musicians.
“Leading by example is a form of activism,” Lambert told the group, which quickly turned into a mutual admiration society as the artists opened up about how they’ve inspired each other. Kiyoko told Quin, “I would listen to Tegan and Sara in my car on a road trip and be like, ‘If they can do it, I can do it.’” Or as ILoveMakonnen put it early on in the conversation: “You guys are legends to me.”
In addition to opening up about their coming-out stories and recent Pride Month experiences, the artists discussed the significance of Lil Nas X’s record-breaking Hot 100 streak with “Old Town Road” — “These moments are incredibly important” Quin says, “but there just has to be more done on a foundational level to change the system” — as well as examples of meaningful allyship in the music industry.
Kiyoko, who appeared in Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” video, spoke about feeling “very grateful for Taylor’s support,” while Lambert commended Swift for attaching a petition to the video that called for the Senate to pass the Equality Act: “She’s moving people to take action.”
The five artists took part in the roundtable ahead of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter’s inaugural Pride Summit, where Freedia, ILoveMakonnen, Kiyoko and Tegan and Sara will reunite for a special live panel to keep the celebration and conversation going. The Pride Summit is taking place Thursday (Aug. 8) at the 1 Hotel West Hollywood.