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Here's What Harry Styles, Brandi Carlile & More Had To Say Backstage At The 2023 GRAMMYs
Backstage at the 2023 GRAMMYs, established and emerging stars alike — from Harry Styles to Samara Joy — opened up about what Music’s Biggest Night meant to them.
Like every edition of Music’s Biggest Night, the 2023 GRAMMYs featured a wealth of funny, touching and inspiring onstage speeches — both at the Premiere Ceremony and the main telecast.
But artists tend to express themselves differently, more intimately, backstage — and this certainly applied to GRAMMY winners and nominees at this year’s ceremony.
In the litany of videos below, see and hear stirring, extemporaneous statements from artists all over the 2023 GRAMMYs winners and nominees list, from Album Of The Year winner Harry Styles to Americana star-turned-rocker Brandi Carlile to Best Global Music Performance nominee Anoushka Shankar and beyond.
Throughout, you’ll get a better sense of the good jitters backstage at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Feb. 5, and hear exactly what the golden gramophone means to this crop of musical visionaries.
The list of videos begins below.
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The 2023 GRAMMYs Nominated For Three Emmys: See The Categories Below
In an awards show crossover to remember, the 2023 GRAMMYs telecast has been nominated in three prestigious categories at the 2023 Emmy Awards.
An Emmy for the GRAMMYs? It's happened before, and it could happen again.
The 2023 Emmys nominations list has been revealed, and Music's Biggest Night is well represented.
The 2023 GRAMMYs have been nominated for Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Production Design For A Variety Special, Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Special and Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Variety Series Or Special categories.
In the first category, the 2023 GRAMMYs compete with "The Oscars," "Encanto At The Hollywood Bowl," "Carol Burnett: 90 Years Of Laughter + Love," and "The Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show Starring Rihanna."
The second category also contains "Encanto At The Hollywood Bowl," as well as "2022 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony," "75th Annual Tony Awards," and "The Weeknd Live At SoFi Stadium."
Also nominated in the third category are "Bono & The Edge: A Sort Of Homecoming With Dave Letterman," "Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium," "Saturday Night Live • Co-Hosts: Steve Martin & Martin Short," and "Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert."
Check out the complete list here, and watch this space to see if the GRAMMYs will take home the world's most prestigious TV award!
Photo: John Shearer/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS
10 Albums On Divorce & Heartache, From Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' To Kelly Clarkson's 'Chemistry'
Divorce albums have been a staple of the music industry for decades. Take a look at some of the most notable musings on a breaking heart, from Kacey Musgraves, Kanye West and more.
Divorce can be complicated, messy, and heartbreaking. But those feelings are prime fodder for songwriting — and it's something that artists of all genres have harnessed for decades.
Writing through the pain can serve many benefits for an artist. Marvin Gaye used Here, My Dear as a way to find closure in the aftermath of his divorce. Adele told Vogue that her recording process gave her somewhere to feel safe while recording 30, a raw account of the aftermath of her marriage ending. And Kelly Clarkson's new album, chemistry, finds her reclaiming herself, while fully taking stock of everything that happened in her marriage, good and bad.
As fans dive into chemistry, GRAMMY.com has compiled a list of 10 divorce albums from all walks of music. Whether you need to cry, vent, or maybe even laugh, there's a divorce album that has what you need.
Tammy Wynette, D-I-V-O-R-C-E (1968)
During her life, Tammy Wynette was a prolific country songwriter and singer, releasing numerous albums exploring all aspects of love. She was also deeply familiar with divorce, with five marriages throughout her adulthood.
The most intimate album on the topic is her bluntly titled 1968 project D-I-V-O-R-C-E, which explores how sensitive the topic was to speak about. The title track is a mournful tune about hiding a separation from her children, but also conveys the general difficulty of discussing the topic with anyone. Elsewhere on the album, "Kiss Away" is a longing ballad about wishing for a more tender resolution when words have failed.
Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (1977)
After recording 10 albums together, Fleetwood Mac were in disarray. During the recording of their eleventh record, the members of the band were going through affairs, divorces, and breakups, even some with each other. Against all odds, they created Rumours — and it became the band's most successful and iconic album.
The spectrum of emotions and sounds on the album is wide. "The Chain" is all fire and bombast, while the laidback acceptance of "Dreams" seeks to find peace in the storm. Fleetwood Mac sorted out their issues and are still going strong to this day, but their heartbreak created something special in Rumours.
Beck, Sea Change (2002)
Beck has had a prolific career, with 14 studio albums to his name. One of his most affecting is 2002's Sea Change, written in the aftermath of his engagement and nine-year relationship ending.
It's a deeply insular album, even by Beck's standards. Tracks like "Already Dead" are slow and mournful, while standout "It's All In Your Mind" finds him burrowing deep into his own thoughts to parse out how exactly he's feeling with his new life.
Open Mike Eagle, Anime, Trauma, and Divorce (2020)
Divorce isn't a topic that immediately brings laughter, but rapper Open Mike Eagle seemed to find humor in his personal story with his album Anime, Trauma, and Divorce. The album title gives a pretty good rundown of what inspired the project, and Mike's laidback rapping sells how silly the aftermath of pain can be.
"Sweatpants Spiderman" finds him trying to become a functional adult again, and discovering the various ailments of his aging body and thinner wallet that are getting in the way. The fed-up delivery on standout track "Wtf is Self Care" is a hilarious lesson on how learning to be kind to yourself post-breakup is harder than it sounds.
Carly Pearce, 29: Written In Stone (2021)
Heartbreak is a common topic in all genres, but country has some of the most profound narratives of sorrow. Carly Pearce added to that legacy with 29: Written in Stone, her 2021 album centered around her 29th year — a year that included both a marriage and a subsequent divorce.
The emotional whiplash of such a quick change can be felt all over the project, from an upbeat diss track like "Next Girl" to more poignant pieces like the title track, which finds Pearce reflecting on her tumultuous year. Her vulnerability resonated, as single "Never Wanted To Be That Girl" won Pearce her first GRAMMY, and her latest single, "What He Didn't Do," scored the singer her fourth No. 1 at country radio.
Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak (2008)
Kanye West's fourth album 808s & Heartbreak came from a deep well of pain. Besides the end of his relationship, West was also in turmoil from the death of his mother, Donda. The result is one of the bleakest sounding records on this list — but also one of West's most impactful.
808s & Heartbreak is minimalistic, dark, and brooding, with a focus on somber strings and 808 drum loops (hence the album's title). West delivers most of his lyrics in a monotone drone through a thick layer of autotune, a stylistic choice that heightens the sense of loss. Besides being a testament to West's pain, the electronic sound pioneered on 808s & Heartbreak would serve as a foundational inspiration for the next several years of hip-hop.
Toni Braxton & Babyface, Love, Marriage, & Divorce (2014)
Toni Braxton and Babyface are two stalwarts of R&B in their own rights, and in 2014, the pair connected over their shared experiences going through divorce. Their bond sparked Love, Marriage, & Divorce, a GRAMMY-winning album that intended to capture the more universal feelings the life of a relationship conjures up.
Each artist has solo tracks on the record — Babyface wishing the best for his ex on "I Hope That You're Okay" and Braxton sharing her justified anger on "I Wish" and "I'd Rather Be Broke" — but where they shine is on their collaborations. The agonizing "Where Did We Go Wrong?" is heartbreaking, and the album ends with painful what-ifs in the soulful "The D Word."
Adele, 30 (2021)
Divorce is hard no matter the circumstances, but it gets even more complicated when children are involved. That was the reality for Adele, and it served as major inspiration for her fourth album, 30.
Like every album on this list, there's plenty of sorrow on the record, but what really sets it apart is just how honestly Adele grapples with the guilt of putting her son Angelo through turmoil as well. The album's GRAMMY-winning lead single "Easy On Me" addresses it in relation to her son, and standout track "I Drink Wine" is a full examination of the messy feelings she went through during her divorce.
Kacey Musgraves, star-crossed (2021)
As many of these albums prove, divorce triggers a hoard of emotions, from anger to sadness to eventual happiness. On star-crossed, Kacey Musgraves goes through it all.
There's the anthemic "breadwinner" about being better on her own, "camera roll" looking back on happier times with sorrow, and "hookup scene" about the confusion of adjusting back to single life. Star-crossed sees Musgraves continue to evolve sonically — incorporating more electronic sounds into her country roots — but ultimately, she comes out the other side at a place of renewed acceptance and growth.
Kelly Clarkson, chemistry (2023)
Kelly Clarkson's tenth album chemistry was born out of her 2020 divorce. In true Kelly fashion, she addresses the subject with thoughtful songwriting and a pop-rock vibe fans have adored for 20 years on.
Chemistry focuses not just on the pain of divorce, but on the tender feelings that many couples still have for each other even after the end. Tracks like "favorite kind of high" mirror the euphoria of love, juxtaposed with ballads like "me," in which Clarkson finds comfort in herself and her inner strength — an inspiring sentiment for anyone who has had their heart broken.
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7 Artists From R&B's New Class: Coco Jones, Kiana Ledé, Phabo & More
R&B has veered away from the jazz and blues that lay at its foundation. These seven artists are paying dust to the tired idea that "R&B is dead" by incorporating elements of hip-hop, alternative, and even electronic music into their sound.
From fighting just to make up, to setting a cheating lover's clothes ablaze, to finding any excuse to mention a crush's name in conversation, good R&B music will make you feel all the emotions.
Of course, the genre is much deeper than make-up-to-breakup anthems and "baby-making music." R&B originated in the 1940s as a catch-all term for Black music, later giving birth to soul music in the '60s and evolving further in the '90s to include a breadth of contemporary influences. Throughout its long history, R&B lyrics and instrumentation have been a source of inspiration and empowerment for Black Americans — with Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" being clear examples.
Since its inception, R&B has veered away from the jazz and blues that lay at its foundation. These days, artists like Jazmine Sullivan, SZA, Ari Lennox, Kehlani, Jhené Aiko, Giveon, and Daniel Caesar rule the genre, but there’s always room for more in the mix. Summer Walker, Victoria Monét, Bryson Tiller, Queen Naija, and a host of others are paying dust to the tired idea that "R&B is dead" by incorporating elements of hip-hop, alternative, and even electronic music into their sound.
And while it may not be your mother’s traditional R&B, it’s worth turning up in embrace of the genre’s ongoing evolution. In honor of Black Music Month, here are seven of R&B’s finest rising stars.
Chloe Bailey is beyond a triple threat — the 24-year-old sings, writes, produces, acts and executes choreography like nobody’s business. She's also one half of the sibling group Chloe x Halle, who came to the fore as Beyoncé’s proteges.
Audiences first met Bailey in the early 2010s when she and younger sister, Halle, started uploading YouTube videos of themselves covering popular songs. Beyoncé saw their version of "Pretty Hurts" and signed the then-teenagers to her management company. Chloe x Halle put out two studio albums — 2018's The Kids Are Alright and 2020's Ungodly Hour — and were nominated for four GRAMMY Awards.
While Halle was in London filming the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, Bailey began piecing together the sounds that would eventually become her 2023 debut solo project: In Pieces. "I use music and therapy in the best way possible. [I've had] a huge range of emotions for these past three years, so I think that's why [In Pieces] feels well-rounded when it comes to the storytelling and my feelings," she told GRAMMY.com.
Two years ahead of In Pieces, Bailey dropped her debut solo single "Have Mercy." The track reached No. 28 on the Hot 100, showing off the songstress’ sexier, more mature side.
Coco Jones’ dedication to her music seems to be finally paying off after going the independent route for nearly the past decade.
In late March, the former Disney Channel star — who currently stars as the iconic Hilary Banks on Peacock's reboot of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" — celebrated her first-ever Billboard Hot 100 chart entry. Her sultry single "ICU" peaked at No. 63, as well as cracked the top 20 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Earning over five million streams in the U.S. alone, the tune appears on the 25-year-old's debut EP, What I Didn't Tell You, released in 2022.
Phabo doesn't mind being compared to neo-soul icons D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. Though clearly a student of late ‘90s/early 2000s-adjacent sound, Phabo’s R&B sounds as modern as ever. On his sophomore studio effort, Don't Get Too Cozy, Phabo teamed up with producers Troy Taylor (Boyz II Men, Babyface), Louie Lastic (Kehlani), and Eric Hudson (Nas, Kanye West) for a well-rounded LP that’ll keep new and existing fans wanting more.
"New words, new inflections, new beat patterns [and] new cores. [It’s] more authenticity from the start to the finish," he told Rated R&B about his new music. "I feel like people can look forward to those notes of classic R&B that they grew up listening to and loving as well as the sound that we’re trying to push forward as well."
Upon the 2021 release of his debut studio album, Soulquarius, VICE called then 28-year-old Phabo "R&B's North Star." That might be a lot to live up to, but Phabo seems to be charting the course just fine.
Muni Long may have been nominated for Best New Artist at the 65th GRAMMYs, but the rising star is no stranger to the music industry. With five EPs and three studio albums under her belt, the 34-year-old boasts songwriting credits for big names, including Madonna, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert.
Long has experienced plenty of ups and downs — her 2009 debut album, Jukebox, was met with disappointing sales when she was signed to Capitol Records under her birth name Priscilla Renea.
Now though, Long is betting on herself as an artist, even launching her own label, Supergiant Records. Not only did Long make history as the first independent female artist to top the R&B Songs chart with her breakout single "Hrs and Hrs" in 2022, but the song’s success later earned her a GRAMMY for Best R&B Performance, as well as a record deal with Def Jam through her label.
"[With ‘Hrs and Hrs’] I can breathe now and can celebrate a little bit," she told GRAMMY.com. "My hand is in every pot as an independent artist… overseeing everything and just making sure that it was authentic. True to me, not allowing other people’s judgments to affect mine."
The spotlight is nothing new for Kiane Ledé. When she was just 14, she won Kidz Bop's KIDZ Star USA talent contest, which led to a deal with RCA Records. Her first single, "Hey Chica" was praised for encouraging "young women to feel beautiful in their own skin."
When RCA dropped Ledé a couple years later, she worked at a gymnastics center and jazz club to make ends meet. Behind the scenes though, she was getting her groove back — her covers of popular songs like Drake's "Hotline Bling" helped her ink a deal with Republic Records.
"Ex," her breakout single off her debut EP, Selfless, skyrocketed to No. 9 on R&B Songs chart in the spring of 2019. But her momentum didn't end there. Months later, Lede's follow-up EP Myself's spawned the single "Bouncin,’" featuring Offset, earning her the No. 30 spot on Billboard's rhythmic airplay chart.
Following the release of a couple stand-alone singles, including "Easy Breezy," Lede's debut album, Kiki, arrived on the singer’s 23rd birthday. Lead single "Mad at Me" borrows from Outkast's 2000 hit "So Fresh, So Clean." Inspired by her childhood nickname, Kiki debuted at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 and features guest appearances from fellow R&B stars Ari Lennox, 6LACK, and Lucky Daye, to name a few.
From Loose Ends and Sade, to Craig David and Estelle, the music industry has seen its share of Black British artists breathe new life into R&B over the decades. Born and raised in East London, Jvck James' covers of popular songs (most notably Whitney Houston’s "I Have Nothing") on YouTube helped him gain a following. At just 12 years old, he was cast as a young Michael Jackson in the West End production of the "Thriller — Live" musical.
Fast forward 13 years later, and James shows no signs of slowing down. He performed at the Berlin-based live music session known as COLORS and churned out three EPs, 2019’s Detour, 2021’s Joyride, and 2022’s On The Rocks — the latter of which birthed "Hennessy Tears," one of his most well-recognized tracks. That same year, Apple Music named the then 28-year-old artist as 2022’s Global Up Next Artist.
Ryan Destiny may be most recognizable from her roles in Lee Daniels' short-lived musical drama series "Star," as well as season three of "Black-ish" spin-off "Grown-ish," but she’s ready for her music close-up. The 28-year-old multi-hyphenate is carefully crafting her long-awaited debut EP; she’s in no rush to drop it, though she’s hinted it could be released this year.
Despite not being backed by major-label budgets — she’s signed to November Yellow, Destiny’s music video for "How Many" racked up over 770,000 views within the past six months on YouTube.
While the future R&B princess’ latest release "Lie Like That" didn’t receive the video treatment, it’s a total earworm that showcases her saucy alter-ego with bold lyrics like "You need me/I don’t need you, you’re so sad" and "When it comes to the horse, I'm high on the bitch/Look down on a bitch."
By the sounds of it, the Detroit native is more than ready to leave her mark on R&B and beyond.
Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images for iHeartRadio
9 Artists Who Advocate For The LGBTQIA+ Community: Troye Sivan, Taylor Swift, Madonna & More
From Big Freedia to Beyoncé, artists who identify as queer and allies alike celebrate love in all its forms.
"GAY RIGHTS!!!!!" Betty Who captioned a cheeky photo earlier this month. Yes, it was a well-known inside joke among the LGBTQIA+ community, but the all-caps message held some serious meaning. The queer pop star's photo was from the White House's 2023 Pride Celebration, where President Biden formally announced the New Actions to Protect the LGBTQIA+ Community plan — and Betty Who was the star performer.
Music has always been a safe haven for gay and trans people of all kinds — from the closeted kids in Middle America finding sanctuary in the songs of their favorite pop stars, to the out-and-proud artists forming the soundtrack for the next generation of LGBTQIA+ fans. And Pride has always been a special time of the year to celebrate visibility and inclusion in the music industry — a place where everyone deserves to show up and be seen (and heard!) as their authentic self, and where every proverbial note, melody and harmony make up a beautiful and unique soundtrack that can only be yours.
Recently, queer musicians and allies who use their platforms to stand up for the LGBTQIA+ community has felt more important than ever. A rash of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation has swept through state legislatures across the country, from so-called "Don't Say Gay" bills to blatant legal attacks on drag queens, trans kids and LGBTQIA+ history as a whole — but those who stand for the community are fighting even harder.
As Pride month carries on, GRAMMY.com has rounded up a list of nine LGBTQIA+ artists, allies and bonafide gay icons who've made advocating for the community a central tenet of their music, their words and their actions. Of course, there are dozens to highlight, but take a look at how queer artists like Kim Petras and Troye Sivan and allies like Taylor Swift and Madonna have helped fans shine as their authentic selves.
Petras cemented her place as a rising star in the pop music echelon in February, when she became the first trans woman to win the GRAMMY for Best Pop Duo/Group collaboration with Sam Smith for their subversive collaboration "Unholy." (Smith, who identifies as non-binary, also made history with the win, though they graciously ceded the floor for Petras to give her awestruck acceptance speech on the GRAMMYs stage.)
As the cover star of Out's 2023 Pride issue, the German pop princess spoke out about the rash of anti-trans rhetoric taking root in legislatures across the country and harming vulnerable trans youth. "I literally was very suicidal as a kid, and I just wouldn't still be here had my parents not believed me," she told the magazine. "I hate that another generation is going through this, and I hate that young kids are going through the same s–t I was going through, and that apparently just isn't changing. I think it's sad. I just never understood why people were so obsessed with what people do to be happy. Just focus on what you can do to be happy."
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X has never been shy when it comes to sticking up for the queer community — and he usually does so with a healthy dose of snarky humor on social media. He's cheerfully clapped back about everything from the explicit queerness of his music videos to his place in the modern pantheon of hip-hop; mostly recently, he hopped on Twitter to hilariously take down conservative outrage over Pride-themed merchandise at Target.
"Can't believe target is supporting this nonsense, im never shopping there again, my son is not 'too cool for school' these shirts are ridiculous. He is going to school and he WILL learn," the GRAMMY winner wrote in a since-deleted tweet, mockingly referencing the anti-LGBTQIA+ crusaders upset with inclusive and trans-friendly apparel being sold at the popular retailer.
In another instance from late April, Montero made his stance hysterically clear when he tweeted, "I want to clear all the straight rumors. i have many straight friends and i support their community, but that is NOT me!"
Years before releasing his debut album Blue Neighborhood in 2015, Troye Sivan came out publicly via YouTube. Since then, he's been consistently outspoken about his experiences as a gay artist in the music industry.
The Australia native, who announced his long-awaited follow-up to 2018's Bloom earlier this month, has made a consistent point in his career to turn his visuals into unapologetic examples of queer art — from the lusty defiance of 2018's "My My My!" to the "gushy juicy doting adoring power b^tt^m gay ballad" perfection that was 2021's "Angel Baby."
Perhaps most powerful of all, though, was his video for early single "Heaven" featuring Betty Who, which depicted historic moments in the LGBTQIA+ rights movement including some of the earliest Pride parades on record. "We have always been here. we will always be here. this video is dedicated to all those who've come before me and fought for our cause and those who now continue the fight," he wrote in the video's description. "in dark and light times, let's love forever. love, troye x."
Speaking of Betty Who, the indie pop star received an invitation directly from President Biden to perform at the White House's official 2023 Pride Celebration, where the commander in chief formally announced his administration's plan titled New Actions to Protect the LGBTQIA+ Community. The three-point roll-out promises to focus on "Strengthening Physical Safety," "Addressing Civil Rights Violations" and "Strengthening Mental Health and other Support Resources."
"Today was the biggest pride celebration ever held at the white house and i got to be a part of it!!!!!!!!" Betty, who identifies as both queer and bisexual, wrote afterwards on social media. "So many things i want to say! What an honour it is, how proud i am to be part of the lgbtqia+ [community], how special today's event was and how grateful i am to @potus, @drbiden and the amazing white house staff for hosting us. queer joy spouting everywhere!!! very grateful for this incredible experience."
Earlier this year, Big Freedia was honored by PFLAG — the nation's longest-running LGBTQIA+ organization — with its first-ever National Breaking Barriers Award. The new honor, which she received at PGFLAG's 50th anniversary gala in March, is meant to shine the spotlight on "an individual who uses their platform to help remove obstacles to LGBTQIA+ and intersectional equality in pursuit of a more just, equitable and inclusive world."
Upon receiving the award, the bounce music trailblazer (and 2023 GRAMMY winner) took to Instagram with a determined message, writing, "There's still so much work to do to fight discrimination and I will continue to work on behalf of our whole community to spread love, acceptance, inclusion and everyone's right TO BE FREE."
While she'd slyly referenced her support for the LGBTQIA+ community in the past on songs like "Welcome to New York," Taylor Swift took a public stand in 2019 with her Lover era single "You Need to Calm Down." The gay anthem's celebratory music video issued a call to action for her fans to support the as-yet-unpassed Equality Act with her very own Change.org petition.
During her Eras Tour stop in Chicago earlier this month, the superstar spoke specifically to her LGBTQIA+ fans, promising them that her concerts would always be a "safe space" for them to celebrate who they are.
"I wish that every place was safe and beautiful for people in the LGBTQ community, I really wish that. We can't talk about Pride Month without talking about pain," she told the sold-out crowd of Swifties at Soldier Field. "There have been so many harmful pieces of legislation that have put people in the LGBTQ and queer community at risk. It's painful for everyone — every ally, every loved one, every person in these communities. And that's why I'm always posting, 'This is when the midterms are. This is when these important, key primaries are.'
"'Cause we can support as much as we want during Pride Month," the 12-time GRAMMY winner continued. "But if we're not doing our research on these elected officials — Are they advocates? Are they allies? Are they protectors of equality? Do I want to vote for them? — I love you guys so much and happy Pride Month."
What hasn't Madonna done in her iconic career to lift up the LGBTQIA+ community? In fact, there's an entire Wikipedia page dedicated solely to her status as a living gay icon.
Famously, Her Madgesty's love for the gay community started with her early mentor and dance teacher Christopher Flynn. Early in her career, she became one of the first artists to speak out about the HIV/AIDS crisis and decry the stigmatization of gay people at the time.
She's been recognized by the GLAAD Media Awards multiple times, including in 1991 with the Raising Gay Awareness award and in 2019 with the Advocate for Change award. (At the latter ceremony, GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis stated, "Madonna always has and always will be the LGBTQ community's greatest ally.")
More recently, Madge added multiple dates to her upcoming Celebration Tour, including a special stop in Nashville to stand in solidarity with the state's queer, trans and drag communities as they've been bombarded by a string of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation from the state's Capitol.
"The oppression of the LGBTQIA+ is not only unacceptable and inhumane; it's creating an unsafe environment; making America a dangerous place for our most vulnerable citizens, especially trans women of color," she wrote on Instagram alongside the announcement. "Also, these so-called laws to protect our children are unfounded and pathetic. Anyone with half a brain knows not to f— with a drag queen. Bob and I will see you from the stage in Nashville where we will celebrate the beauty that is the queer community!"
Long considered a gay icon in her own right, Beyoncé paid reverential honor to the LGBTQIA+ community and her late uncle Johnny with 2022's Renaissance, an undulating magnum opus inspired by the underground ballroom scene sparked by Black, trans and gay pioneers of the 1970s, '80s, '90s, and beyond.
Queen Bey also holds space for queer artists throughout Renaissance's sprawling, hour-long track list, collaborating with TS Madison and Big Freedia, sampling Kevin Aviance and late drag star Moi Renee, working with Honey Dijon behind the boards and more. "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," the living legend wrote in a note posted to her personal website upon the album's release. "This is a celebration for you."
Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds has emerged as a powerful advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community through his nonprofit organization Loveloud and its popular Utah festival, which he launched in 2017 to support LGBTQIA+ teens in the state's overwhelmingly conservative (and outspokenly anti-LGBTQIA+) Mormon community.
This year, though, Reynolds and the Loveloud board — which includes out and proud musicians like Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees, Vincint, Wrabel and Parson James — have expanded Loveloud's mission beyond the Mormonism of the Wasatch front. In early March, Loveloud announced it would be transforming into a traveling festival for its sixth year with stops in Austin, Texas, where dozens of anti-LGBTQIA+ laws have been pursued by the state legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott, and Washington D.C.