The Ultimate Underappreciated List: 30 Black Folks Who Need Their Flowers ASAP
Wake up and appreciate the greatness of these criminally slept-on heroes
Ever since White jazz critics barged into the hootenannies Black musicians threw for one another, the face of genius has been homogeneous. The standards for what was considered creative could only be performed by men, it seemed — an assumption that hasn’t changed very much. Standards in Black creative production are a little wonky in that they largely adopt a patriarchal structure made to separate us from experiencing one another in full. Luckily, there have always been adroit beings from all across the gender-and-sexuality spectrum making waves for the people that they can touch.
These folks aren’t always the most celebrated. They aren’t considered — as much as we believe they should be — gracing the doors of artistic providence. That is largely because those doors have only let in but a few.
We’re kicking some more wood down and celebrating some more underrated men and women that need applause pronto. The musicians who demand gyration via sultry fluidity and a feel for pulsation. Writers and community leaders who remind us that Blackness, transness, and otherness exist as technologies of loving oneself and the world. Curators and artists who reveal past worlds and unlock visions for brand-new ones. Old heads who’ve always had a spotlight but never the shine that their talent demands.
We are but a collection of names, experiences, and memories. But these names and the experience attached to their contributions should never be lost on us. For the indelible mark they’ve made on us, the culture they work to lift up, we have nothing but appreciation. — Tirhakah Love
Should be as famous as: A$AP Rocky