Queer women are having a big year in the pop mainstream thanks in part to Kehlani. The Oakland singer/songwriter has dazzled us at Mod Club and Rebel over the past three years, but extra exciting is that she hasn’t been shy in flaunting queer love on red carpets and in songs like the flirty acoustic ballad Honey. Though she’s always identified with the LGBTQ rainbow, she recently clarified on Twitter, “I’m queer… i felt gay always insisted there was still a line drawn as to which ‘label’ of human i was attracted when i really jus be walking around thinking ERRYBODY FINE.”
ERRYBODY FINE could also be the theme of this year’s Pride weekend music lineup, which kicks off with a headlining performance by R&B icon Brandy on June 22 and ends with Kehlani at Yonge-Dundas Square following the Pride Parade on June 24.
Despite being a massively influential voice in R&B, Brandy rarely played Toronto until last year, when she headlined the Black Diamond Ball in February and played Echo Beach in the summer. Her Pride performance means this year’s event will be bookended by old-school and new-school R&B.
Other artists announced so far include a lot of hip-hop and experimental electronic acts. International artists include Tennessee rapper BbyMutha, who will headline Yes Yes Y’All’s Sweat block party on June 22, and Bolivian-American electronic producer Elysia Crampton, who performs on the Indigenous music stage Catalyst on June 22 alongside rappers Chhoti Maa, Dio Ganhdih and local producers Obuxum and Ziibiwan. Also on June 22 is the Alterna Queer stage, featuring dubby Toronto band Above Top Secret, Montreal’s hip-hop duo Hua Li and Iranian rapper Säye Skye.