At a time when people around the world are fighting back against pervasive systemic racism and police brutality, it’s more important than ever to use this Pride Month as a means of uplifting and supporting black queer individuals everywhere. So, for this week’s First Out, Billboard Pride is highlighting some of the best new music of this week from BIPOC queer artists.
From a heartbreaking ballad by Joy Oladokun to a protest anthem from Ky and Rhyan Besco, here are some of our favorite new releases this week:
Joy Oladokun, “Who Do I Turn To?”
“I’m scared of getting pulled over ’cause of someone else I look like,” singer-songwriter Joy Oladokun sings on the opening of her new track. “I’m scared, of raising my voice ’cause everyone’ll think that I’m gonna fight.” The poignant new ballad emphasizes Oladokun’s fears in a time where black lives are being directly threatened. In a note posted to her Twitter to accompany the song, Oladokun spelled it out for anyone who isn’t paying attention to the lyrics: “We can’t trust the police to protect us. We can’t trust this country to hear us. People keep telling us to wait for heaven, but we are hungry and thirsty and breathless right-f—ing-now.”
(Joy also announced that a portion of the proceeds from “Who Do I Turn To?” will be donated to LGBTQ youth shelter Launchpad Nashville, while the remaining proceeds will be donated to black-owned businesses.)
Cakes da Killa & Proper Villains, “Don Dada”
With his latest single, rapper Cakes da Killa is ready to turn the party. From its club-ready beat to its rapid-fire lyrics, the star establishes himself yet again as one of the preeminent talents currently putting down bars, as he spits, “This is my house, that’s word to Latifah.” “Don Dada” is the flex you need to lift yourself up today.
Shamir, “Something That’s Worth My Praises”
The new single from Shamir, titled “Something That’s Worth My Praises,” establishes itself early as a lo-fi transcendental ride, taking listeners on a psychedelic journey inside of the singer’s thoughts. Listen closer, though, and you’ll hear the star’s echoing voice deliver a much-needed message to those listening: “All that glitters once came from dark coal/ And pressure from the dirt will bring/ Something that’s worth my praises.”
Dua Saleh, “Body Cast”
As Dua Saleh’s new single “Body Cast” begins, listeners will hear the voice of Angela Whitehead, a Montana woman who was captured on video stopping two police officers from entering her home unlawfully by telling them, “You are violating my rights, sweetheart.” Saleh’s song follows suit with their razor-sharp songwriting on full display, as the Minnesota-based singer sends a clear message to the police who killed George Floyd, Tony McDade and the countless other black lives they list on the single’s artwork. “Lately I’ve been analyzing time/ Y’all been dodging cameras like they bullets over crime,” they sing.
(Saleh also announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from their new song will be donated to Minnesota’s Black Visions Collective.)
Bronze Avery, “Only You”
More than anything, rising pop singer Bronze Avery wants to help the healing process start. On his new single “Only You,” Avery focuses his attention on his lover, telling them that in a time when everything feels wrong, they give him the peace he’s looking for. “You feel so soothing/ My favorite new thing/ There’s no confusing my heart,” he sweetly sings. In a statement, Avery himself established that in dark times like these, he wanted to bring some light. “I was in a really dark space during this entire quarantine and with recent events, I’ve never needed healing more than I’ve needed it now,” he wrote on Twitter.
Ky feat. Rhyan Besco, “BLM”
There’s something haunting about rising R&B singer Ky’s latest single, “BLM.” The new song reads like a to-the-point protest anthem, directly addressing the protests around George Floyd’s death, sampling activist Tamika Mallory’s viral speech in Minnesota, and featuring rapper Rhyan Besco’s heartfelt bars. But the song’s smooth, stripped-down melody offers an odd sense of calm, so when Ky sings laser-focused lyrics like “I’m so comfortable in my skin/ If you’re not that’s not my sin/ Tell me where do I begin/ They pull triggers on innocence,” it lands like a ton of bricks.