The 2019 Grammy Awards are set to kickoff Sunday night and by the looks of this year’s nominations, it pays to be an ally of the LGBTQ community.
While a record number of queer women were nominated, including Janelle Monae, Lady Gaga, and Sophie, the Recording Academy also seems set on representing a slew of artists who practice unwavering allyship.
Kacey Musgraves and her album, Golden Hour, are up for four awards at the music industry's biggest night, including Album of the Year. Musgraves, who is set to perform with Dolly Parton during the awards’ telecast, has been one of the only voices of LGBTQ acceptance in country music — ever since she broke Nashville conventions in 2013 with her inclusive hit, “Follow Your Arrow.”
Fast forward to 2018 and Musgraves has achieved gay icon status with tracks like the dance-centric “High Horse” and the optimistic “Rainbow,” which won over queer audiences — so much so that she even earned a spot as a guest judge on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars. She frequently includes rainbow imagery into her visual cues as a nod to her LGBTQ fans, as seen in the video for “High Horse.”
Just as Golden Hour pushed the boundaries of country music by bringing in elements of pop and disco, Musgraves continues to push the genre’s non-inclusive status-quo. She spoke about her unlikely place at the intersection of country and queer culture at last year’s New Yorker Festival :
“What I think it is — someone told me this recently and it broke my heart — they said, I’ve grown up loving country music and I grew up gay in a small town, and country music has always felt like a big party that I wasn’t invited to. Oh my god, you’re invited to my party,” Musgraves said. “It’s crazy that a certain kind of a person could feel excluded from a genre that’s so real — or supposed to be so real. That has always really pissed me off. Because I love the genre so much, I felt, Well fine, maybe I’ll just have an all-gay audience.”
While Ariana Grande’s legion of gay fans are sure to be disappointed that the songstress won’t be performing or attending this year’s show — due to a creative dispute with Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich — she is still nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance for “God is a Woman” and Best Pop Vocal Album for Sweetener — and her commitment to the LGBTQ community warrants some serious snaps.
The pop star of the moment, who released her fifth album Thank U, Next on Friday, has been unrelenting in her support of the queer community. Whether it be performing at Pride celebrations, praising her out brother, Frankie Grande, or hopping on a song with gay heartthrob Troye Sivan —whose sophomore album, Bloom, was overlooked by the Recording Academy — Grande has made her support of LGBTQ people heard.
“My music being embraced and celebrated by the LGBTQ community is all I ever truly cared about when I thought about my career goals early on. There’s no award I could win or accolade I could receive that would fulfill me more than seeing a 6-foot queen with a 4-foot ponytail walk into my meet n greet and say ‘hey girl’ or meeting a young queer person at Starbucks and them letting me know that my music has helped them become who they are,” Grande shared in an open letter published on Billboard Pride. “I am eternally indebted to and inspired by the LGBTQ community. I hope to create anthems for you that wrap you up with comfort and make you get your best life for as long as I live. Thank you for celebrating me the way I celebrate you.”
Buzzy Puerto Rican rapper, Bad Bunny, is nominated for his collaboration with Cardi B and J-Balvin, “I Like It,” for Record of The Year. The Latin trap star is known for his eclectic and rather flamboyant taste in clothing and is at the forefront of Latin music’s recent surge in popularity. However, his recently released video for “Caro” positions him as a true ally for queer people.
The video begins with a shot of the rapper, whose nails are infamously always painted, getting a full treatment at the salon. Appearances by marginalized peoples, genderfluid stylings, and drag queens position the track as a self-acceptance anthem. These aesthetics and Bad Bunny’s commitment to true-self expression have placed him as a refreshing opponent to toxic masculinity, which is especially prevalent in Latinx machismo culture. In the climax of the video, both a man and women run up and kiss Bad Bunny on the cheek, signaling that Bad Bunny is sex-symbol for all to admire.
Bad Bunny has also taken a stand against homophobia. Last month, when reggaeton artist, Don Omar, used a Spanish homophobic slur in a tweet, Bad Bunny responded, “homofobia a estas alturas? que vergüenza loco,” which translates to, “homophobia at this point? That’s a crazy shame.”
homofobia a estas alturas? que vergüenza loco
— (@sanbenito) January 23, 2019
Other nominees, including Best New Artist nominee Dua Lipa, Kelly Clarkson, and Shawn Mendes have spoken out in support of LGBTQ people.
With so many nominations for queer artists and allies, LGBTQ audiences have a lot to root for Sunday. Let’s all hope for some rainbow representation.