In recent years, positive strides in the fight for marriage equality have finally taken center stage, and same-sex issues have been getting real attention in the music world as well. Young musicians are, more often than ever, opening up about their sexuality or about their refusal to subscribe to simple sexual identity labels. That being said, the generation of people now in their twenties are rapidly breaking down the categories of sexuality and experiencing it more fluidly.
French New Wave indie rock girl Soko, whose fantastic album came out earlier this month, is openly bisexual but doesn't really make too much of a deal about it. She's said that she just always knew and that since she was a kid, she was always fascinated by women's bodies and by bodies in general. She's also said "I just love people, I don't really care whether it's a man or a woman, I just like people's spirit and people that I can connect with and that make me feel the best about myself and I do the same for them."
Similar to Soko's views, 22 year old rising rap star Angel Haze has always publicly identified as pansexual. She has said, "I define it as someone who sees people for who they are and not gender. I don't base all of my relationships off of sex. To kind of identify as pansexual, to me, means to just want love. To have a connection with anyone you can find it with." She has also publicly stated that she's a virgin, and hasn't felt the need to express her love sexually.
Despite picking a hot-headed twitter fight with Angel Haze, Azealia Banks is also a bisexual woman in the hip hop industry. Her views on her own sexuality reveal that she's well aware of the world in which she operates and yet is resistant to letting herself be labeled. She has said, "I'm not trying to be, like, the bisexual, lesbian rapper. I don't live on other people's terms." And that she certainly doesn't, if evidenced only by her aggressive twitter presence. The whole beef started when she called Angel Haze out, "YOU ARE NOT A NEW YORKER." Naturally the fight escalated and led to Banks' use of inflammatory homophobic language, angering the LGBT community which has always supported her. Angel Haze then retaliated by releasing a diss song.
The bottom line is that each individual has their own way of relating to their own sexuality. Some people like labels and they find them empowering in reclaiming their identity. Other people, like many young musicians today, find them to be oppressive: their attitude being that sexuality is a non-issue; it's much more radical to treat it casually when it comes up, rather than making a whole "coming out" of the affair. It's interesting to see how even in just the past few years people's levels of tolerance and attitudes toward sexuality have shifted. Hopefully, these attitudes can only move in the direction of progress, and of having an ever more open dialogue on how we talk about sex and how we talk about love.
Check out Angel Haze's powerful rendition of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Same Love."