Your pride playlist sets the tone for your pride experience. Though there’s no exact science to what makes a song a gay anthem or an artist an icon to the LGBTQ+ community, dance divas and female pop artists often attract a large queer fanbase. As you compile your soundtrack for this month, take a look to double-check if you’re missing any of these ten iconic dance divas.
Mariah Carey’s vocals aren’t just perfect in December with “All I Want For Christmas is You,” she’s a perfect fit for your June playlist. Let her belt out the tune of your pride with self-empowering, peppy bops like “Can’t Take That Away” and the soothing sounds of “When You Believe.”
With themes of self-empowerment and pride, the LGBT community first picked up Aretha Franklin’s powerful voice in 1994 with her cover of “A Deeper Love.” Many LGBT+ fans of Aretha Franklin describe her as a “shade queen,” crediting her with having invented shade for her notorious callouts of others in the industry.
Older LGBT+ fans will remember Whitney Houston for the first time she performed at Pride: at the Gay Pride Pier Dance in New York, back in 1999. Many of her hits are non-gender-specific, making them relatable to people of all sexualities. Some of these include, but are certainly not limited to: “Run to You,” “My Love is Your Love,” “Saving All My Love for You,” and of course, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
For decades, Madonna has been one of the fiercest and outspoken allies of the LGBT+ community. Even her very first single in 1982, “Everybody,” has undertones of the unity, freedom, and love that define pride. Her song “Vogue” was directly inspired by the underground black and Latinx queer culture in Harlem during the 80s and 90s.
Donna Summer’s 1977 hit “I Feel Love” provided an outlet for the closeted LGBT+ community of the 70s. Summer was an outlier amongst her peers, being one of the first women to openly sing about sex in mainstream culture. A lot of gay men at the time flocked to the song, as they sung along to vicariously experience Summer’s freedom and confidence.
Kylie Minogue first realized she had become an LGBTQ+ icon in the 90s when a popular gay bar in Sydney had a Kylie night, which included drag queens impersonating this dance diva. Since then, her global LGBT+ following has only grown. Her single “All The Lovers” is a must on your pride playlist. The 2010 song was the third most-played song on American dance floors that year. Kylie said she wanted to pay homage to her gay audience with the music video, which features people of all genders kissing one and other.
In 2017, Britney Spears wrote a handwritten letter to her LGBTQ+ fans, which was published by Billboard Pride. She has shared before that she hit single “Work B**ch” which was written with her gay friends in mind and explained that she uses that word as a term of endearment with them. Alongside “Work B**ch,” “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “Gimme More” will give your playlist the essential Spears touch that it needs!
Beyoncé has long been an outspoken ally of the LGBT+ community. No one can forget her words in 2013 when pledging her support for marriage equality: “If you like it, you should be able to put a ring on it.” For this reason, “Single Ladies” is a perfect addition to your pride soundtrack. “Run the World (Girls)” comes in at a close second, becoming a huge dance floor hit in gay clubs almost instantly after release.
No dance diva list is complete without Lady Gaga, arguably the quintessential gay icon. As an openly bisexual woman, her support of the LGBT+ community comes from a place of solidarity. The iconic “Born This Way” single is etched into LGBT+ history. To hear a mainstream pop artist openly sing about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender support was empowering for her large queer fanbase.