It is no question that the fine arts have always been at the forefront of movements that challenge social scripts, and today artists are certainly making their messages clear. In light of recent events of pain in the LGBTQIQA* community, musicians are taking an aggressive stand against the status quo.
Gender neutral duo PWR BTTM works to redefine not only the social construct of gender but also what it means to be “queer”- as per their own definition. Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins have no fear in taking the stage literally, as well as in a more subconscious way. The duo arrive to their shows wearing thrifted dresses, lipstick, nail-polish; the whole nine of “drag”. I refrain from using the word “drag” with its dictionary definition, as this is not what PWR BTTM is. Their shows are their ways of openly expressing how they feel via clothes and music, along with showcasing their weirdness so the more apprehensive members of the community can see that it is entirely acceptable to display freedom of expression.
PWR BTTM is not alone in the quest to push the LGBT agenda. Months ago when the North Carolina bill was passed which designated bathrooms people may use, many artists began to boycott the state [of North Carolina]. Musicians came forth releasing statements on how it is more important to support a community than to hold a show in a state that denies an entire group of people their civil rights. Death Cab for Cutie and CHVRCHES both released statements saying that they would still be playing their NC shows, but they are turning their shows into benefit concerts instead of making personal profit.
Openly bisexual neo-soul hip-hop artist Frank Ocean released a statement on his personal heartbreak in the wake of recent Orlando shootings. Usually statements from artists, following such times of despair, come as cries for help or as aggressive calls to action. However, here Frank shows us the inner workings of how his non-heteronormative mind is wired to react in times of tragedy. The takeaway from Frank’s note is the question, “How?”. How does such a tragedy happen? How is this allowed? How sick does someone have to feel in order to do such damage?
Musicians understand that they play a vital role in teaching their audience about respect for others, along with emotional expression and how important it is to let the two interact. In our society’s current situation it is awfully important to listen to the voices giving you this free education.