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#PRIDE2022 RS Essentials

Celebrate Pride Month with this list of songs that celebrate the LGBTQiA+ community

Amit Vaidya Jun 20, 2022

Over the years, the celebration of Pride Month has increased exponentially across the globe. Music has been instrumental in not only shaping many of the artists’ stories but also been perhaps the most immediate way for the larger audience to be introduced to and understand the LGBTQIA+ community. We commemorate the month with an exclusive RS Essentials #Pride2022 edition.

“MONTERO (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME)” – Lil Nas X

Hard to believe the same young rapper who started off his career with the mega-blockbuster “Old Town Road” would go on to become the most provocative visual artist and performer since, dare I say, Madonna? “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” was Lil Nas X’s coming-out track and boy, did he rock the boat (or is it the Devil?). Regardless of the controversy surrounding the imagery, X took a page from the Material Girl’s iconic career by making sure the song hit hard and would remain memorable for months and years to come.

“YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN” – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift was very intentional with her single “You Need To Calm Down.” She knew what she wanted to create and she did just that. It helped that the music video (with the help of Todrick Hall) became an even bigger hit than the single itself. The cherry on top? The highly public feud between her and Katy Perry seemingly got resolved by the end of the music video, proving that love is love… no matter what.

“FIREWORK” – Katy Perry

Speaking of Katy Perry, while her first two singles “Ur So Gay” and “I Kissed A Girl” also deserve mention, it’s the everlasting “Firework” that resonates the strongest. There’s probably not a pride festival around the world that doesn’t’ incorporate the single into its last act – a celebration of pride, self-worth and spectacle.

“FOLLOW YOUR ARROW” – Kacey Musgraves

Country music never really embraced the community early on, though icons like Dolly Parton and Shania Twain are drag royalty even today. So, it was the most pleasant surprise when Kacey Musgrave’s “Follow Your Arrow” finally became the country anthem the community needed and deserved. The simple sing-along with which you could follow your arrow “wherever it goes” brought acceptance into the country mainstream… finally!

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“TRUE COLORS” – Cyndi Lauper

Probably the best ally of the community for decades on end is Cyndi Lauper. Her ballad “True Colors” has become the unofficial pride (and its flag’s) anthem for countless years now. No matter what your association with the song is, she’s made sure that you now see that the connection between the rainbow and the community is love.

“BEAUTIFUL” – Christina Aguilera

While Britney Spears may always be the bigger ‘gay’ icon, no single of hers can match the power and impact that Christina Aguilera’s classic “Beautiful” has. Self-empowering and building with strength over the verses, the single became a rallying cry for the community, allowing them to be open and ready to share their lives, their stories, themselves with the world.

“I’M COMING OUT”– Diana Ross      

It’s always amazing to see how an old classic gets a whole new meaning as the years go by, and Diana Ross’s classic “I’m Coming Out” did just that. While the single managed to stay relevant thanks to its most famous interpolation in The Notorious B.I.G.’s epic “Mo Money Mo Problems,” the original track went from disco leftover to pride classic and we don’t see the song ever retiring (much like Ross!).

“YOUR DISCO NEEDS YOU” – Kylie Minogue

While she’s had massive hits on the radio and huge hits in the clubs, “Your Disco Needs You” might actually be the gayest song Kylie Minogue has ever recorded. It could arguably be said that it’s the gayest song ever recorded! Camp at its best, Minogue found a way to turn this 2000 gem into a tribute to everyone from ABBA to the Village People (who, while not on this list, are high up there on a more extended list thanks to “In The Navy,” “Y.M.C.A.” and “Macho Man”).

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“VOGUE” – Madonna

It’s hard to choose one song from Madonna’s repertoire given her nearly four-decade impact on the community. But nothing shines brighter than “Vogue,” the 1990 single that showcased the Harlem “House Ball” culture and its iconic dance. While many today believe the singer profited from the underground movement, Madonna brought respect and appreciation to the performers and their vision – something that otherwise would not have had such a mainstream platform at the time.

“BORN THIS WAY” – Lady Gaga

When Lady Gaga decided to pay tribute to her “monsters” on the first single from her sophomore album, it was clear that she knew her audience and what they not only wanted to hear but needed to hear. While Madonna brought the community into the spotlight, Gaga made them feel accepted and no song since has topped the cultural impact “Born This Way” made on the global stage.

“YOU BETTER WORK (SUPERMODEL)” – RuPaul

The world would change forever when dance singer and drag queen RuPaul released “You Better Work (Supermodel)” in 1992. At the time, there was literally no one else like the artist, who would go on to become not only an icon of the community, but through RuPaul’s Drag Race turn drag into an art form celebrated by the masses.

“I WILL SURVIVE” – Gloria Gaynor

This might be the biggest record on this chart. Gloria Gaynor’s anthem “I Will Survive” was the original female empowerment smash that somehow, thanks to its disco beat, parlayed its way to legendary pride status. Songs like Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” and Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” would follow suit, but nothing gets folks singing along at any pride festival around the world quite like this classic.

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