28 June 2020 (Los Angeles) – On this day in 1969, in what is now regarded by many as history’s first major protest on behalf of equal rights for LGBTQ+ people, a police raid of the Stonewall Inn—a popular gay club located in New York City turns violent as patrons and local sympathizers fight back against the authorities.
The Stonewall Riots lasted from June 28 - July 3. Stonewall became a series of demonstrations by the LGBTQ+ community in response to the police raid. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s LGBTQ+ Americans faced a very homophobic legal system. They were targeted by the U.S. government at federal and state levels. The FBI, local governments and police departments kept lists of known LGBTQ+ people to target and arrest them in public, then expose them in newspapers.
Although the Stonewall riots were considered to be a turning point to obtain equal rights for LGBTQ+ people it was only one minor step in the right direction. Over the years the LGBTQ+ community has had many wins. On June 26, 2015 the supreme court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. Just this year on June 15, the supreme court ruled that the Civil Rights act protects LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in the workplace.
These victories are small in comparison to the work that still needs to be done. Homophobia is still rampant all over the world. Black LGBTQ+ people, and specifically transpeople, face more hate crimes and discrimination than anyone else in the community. According to the Human Rights Campaign, a 2014 report on hate violence, "Black LGBTQ+ proven to be twice as likely to experience physical violence and discrimination."
Black LGBTQ+ people also experience more police violence than any other group. According to the National Discrimination Survey, "38% of black transgender people who have interacted with the police reported harassment. 14% reported physical assult and 6% reported sexual assault." These inequalities are one of the reasons organizations like Black Lives Matter, the ACLU and Trans Lifeline exist. We all must continue to work for equal rights for our fellow LGBTQ+ family.
This Pride month, while the world turns like it did on that day in 1969 at Stonewall Inn, InRage Entertainment celebrates the creativity, beauty and music of the Black LGBTQ+ artists with whom we proudly work side-by-side: Autumn Cymone, Sunkee Angel, James Barmore, and KuiET.
Surrounded with music before she existed, singer-songwriter Autumn Cymone’s path to music could be genetic, but her songs emit the anxiety and beauty that are buried in her uniqueness. Her melodies are unforgettable; her distinct voice emits a combination of anxiety and confidence. She writes in her blog, "It wasn’t until high school that I completely understood that no, I’m not straight but I’m not gay either. I’m somewhere in the middle of a spectrum where I think beautiful people are beautiful, no matter their gender." In 'CRISCO', Autumn Cymone sings about a girl exploring her bi-sexuality on the low. The video, directed by Damien Sandoval, showcases a variety of women, including transgender entertainer Sunkee Angel, whose voice you hear in the opening.
Watch Autumn Cymone's 'CRISCO'
Gay non-binary artist James Barmore is a self-proclaimed renaissance man, a songwriter, dancer, choreographer and a genuine old soul trapped in a young body. After recording with artists like Usher and sharing the stage with John Legend and Chance The Rapper, James released his debut EP with InRage Entertainment, 'CHROMATIC SPECTRUM'. This, his first solo project is a musical representation of each chakra and includes the song 'NOT THE COWARDLY LION', a story about his journey to becoming comfortable in his own skin. James has performed at the BET Experience, Sayers Club in Hollywood, and The Federal Bar just to name a few. James Barmore's discography continues to grow as he produces his own original music. His latest InRage Entertainment release 'Frontline' is dedicated to everyone serving on the frontlines during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. 'FRONTLINE' also serves as an anthem for artists creating protest music right now.
Watch James Barmore's 'NOT THE COWARDLY LION'
Independent artist and transgender entertainer, Sunkee Angel, is what those in the technology industry would call a "disruptor". But being a disruptor means that there will be naysayers and Sunkee has had her share of them. In her true disruptor nature, Sunkee continues to barrel forward and never lets anyone steer her away from what her heart knows to be true. It's not easy, though. 'CHAOS AND CONFUSION' is Sunkee’s latest collaboration with InRage Entertainment CEO and Sony music producer Automatic. The song is a depiction of the challenges she has faced on her journey to embracing her true self. Discrimination, threats, and physical danger have accompanied Sunkee’s journey to become a woman, yet Sunkee remains an open book, sharing her transition story on Facebook to encourage others who are facing the same emotional challenges and discrimination that she has.
Watch Sunkee Angel's 'CHAOS AND CONFUSION
Transman and Ventura-based recording artist, KuiET has been independently molding his craft for several years. Formerly a popular athlete in his city, extraordinary circumstances brought KuiET to unite his soul with music. With multiple singles released, one of his most recent singles shares his personal story of trying to navigate family relationships while embracing his true identity. 'I’m the Man Now', produced by Automatic and released by InRage Entertainment is a follow up to 'SOMETIMES', a song about his transition. KuiET’s passion for the art he creates will only continue to tell his true story while his inspirational and beautiful journey continues.
Watch KuiET's 'SOMETIMES'
HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!
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