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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > May 2019 > THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD


Attitude celebrates its 25th birthday by showcasing boundary-pushing, trail-blazing talents who are paving the way for the next 25 years


Writer and vocalist

Where did the idea for the track I’m Not Defeated come from?

I was at a really low point, I was dealing with the aftermath of a painful break up and feeling heartbroken about crimes against LGBTQ people around the world. I was trying to summon my own inner strength and create something to make me feel empowered.

The music video includes clips of LGBTQ trailblazers — who do you feel a particular connection to or admiration for?

I feel connected to so many. In particular, the words of Audre Lorde, James Baldwin and Federico Garcia Lorca, symbols of activism such as Marsha P Johnson, Silvia Rivera, Harvey Milk and Bayard Rustin, and artists including Sylvester, Frankie Knuckles and Keith Haring.

As a queer person, do you feel your work is inherently political?

Sure, but even the most commercial pop is grounded in some ideology and value system. Pronouns are political. Omission is political. Ambivalence is political. Sexuality is something that many countries still legislate [against] so it’s inherently political. It’s important for me to reimagine the boundaries of what it means to be a queer pop artist.

What do you try to challenge about queer culture through your work?

Pop divas will always have their place in our community. They’ve spoken up for us, and generations have lived vicariously through them. But this all-consuming obsession feels a bit outdated — it’s time for us to step up and support a broader spectrum of queer artists. We’ve started to see that happen with the likes of Christine & The Queens, Kelela, Anohni, Arca, Sophie, Troye Sivan and Frank Ocean.

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About Attitude

The 25th anniversary issue! With Colton Haynes on his drug and drink addiction, BBC News LGBT reporter Ben Hunte, Roger The Alien, The OA’s Ian Alexander + more.