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Beyoncé's Appreciation of Black Queer Culture Sets Her Apart


This larger-than-life icon, one of our people of the year, is not shy about giving props and displaying her influences.

Beyonce's latest album, Renaissance Act I, featured extensive collaborations with Black queer creators. That talent included trans DJ Honey Dijon, trans actress TS Madison, and queer rapper Big Freedia. Beyonce also brought in lesbian musician Syd to help produce the track "Plastic Off the Sofa." And in her song "Cozy," Beyonce literally describes Daniel Quasar's Progress Pride flag -- also no surprise, given that the album is partly dedicated to her gay "uncle" Johnny.

Johnny, who was technically an older cousin, helped design Destiny's Child clothes in the beginning of Queen Bey's career, and served as a supportive influence for both Beyonce and her sister Solange. Johnny died of AIDS complications several years ago and in her dedication to this album, she wrote, "A big thank you to my uncle Jonny. He was my godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album. Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long. This is a celebration for you." The album is a noteworthy throwback to often unacknowledged Black queer origins of house music and its continued influence on popular music today.

This story is part of The Advocate's 2022 People Of The Year issue, which is out on newsstands Nov. 1. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe -- or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.

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