23 Queer Black Celebs That Have Opened Up

Proud is an understatement.

I recently watched My Fake Boyfriend on Prime Video starring the one and only Keiynan Lonsdale as a hapless romantic who can’t seem to find the right guy to settle down with.


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Apart from being a super cute watch, the movie got me thinking about how more and more Black, LGBTQ+ characters and celebs like Keiynan are being given the spotlight, and are finding the courage to share their sexualities in a public forum.


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Keiynan revealed to us that he could relate to the way “the stumbling and fumbling of queer dating were represented” in My Fake Boyfriend, and that he wanted to represent those who might see themselves in Andrew’s journey.

That’s NOT to say that moving through the world being both Black and queer is an easy feat, and this is why we have to show our appreciation to the brave public figures who are using their platforms to shift the narrative and create a safe space for marginalised groups.

So, to celebrate shifting the spotlight and including everyone, here are 23 notable Black, queer celebs who are paving the way!

1.

Willow Smith


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If you were whipping your hair back and forth in 2011, you’ll know that Willow has always been unapologetically herself. Her outfits, hair, and music have always been major, and she’s taken transparency to a whole new level; her appearances on The Red Table Talk evidence this. “I love men and women equally, and so I would definitely want one man, one woman”, the actor and singer shared on the talk show.

The star also discussed her preference for polyamorous relationships as opposed to monogamy, stating that “I focus a lot on the emotional connection, and I feel like if I were to find two people of different genders that I really connected with, and we had a romantic and sexual connection, I don’t feel like I would feel the need to try to go find more.”

2.

Amandla Stenberg


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Yes, little Rue has grown up before our eyes and become a fantastic role model for young people, consistently speaking out and spreading awareness of important topics like colourism. The star previously came out as bisexual and then pansexual, but speaking to Wonderland magazine in 2018 they now find the label gay fits them the best. “I was so overcome with this profound sense of relief when I realized that I’m gay—not bi, not pan, but gay—with a romantic love for women.”

3.

Lil Nas X


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Lil Nas X is continuously breaking down barriers within the hip hop community, Black community, and even the LGBTQ+ community! From his creativity and impeccable style, to his supreme clapbacks, you honestly ~can’t~ hate him!

At the height of his success, the star came out on Twitter in 2019, referencing lyrics from his song “c7osure”. Later, in an interview with the BBC, Lil Nas opened up about his decision to come out: “It’s something that, you know, I was considering never doing, ever. Just taking it to the grave or something… But I don’t wanna live my entire life — especially how I got to where I’m at — not doing what I wanna do.”

4.

Kiersey Clemons


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Kiersey is the definition of dope – and that’s not just due to their character Diggy in the coming-of-age comedy film, Dope. On the roles they’ve had so far, Kiersey has said, “I’ve played Black queer characters more than once or twice, which a lot of queer people do not get to do”. Of course, there’s a flip side, and Kiersey has also shared that they’ve received tweets about them only playing queer people. “We never say anything to white men about just playing straight white men who drink whiskey — and they do it all the time!” they said in response to Out Magazine. Go Kiersey!!!

5.

Tessa Thompson


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I’ve been a fan of Tessa’s work since For Colored Girls, and she’s only gone from strength to strength both on and off the screen since then! In an interview with Net-a-Porter back in 2018, the actor opened up about being attracted to both men and women: “It’s so free and you can be anything that you want to be… I’m attracted to men and also to women. If I bring a woman home, [or] a man, we don’t even have to have the discussion.”

6.

Alexandra Shipp


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Now we know Alexandra was done dirty when she took on the role of Aaliyah in Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, but she’s continued to shine, bagging roles in the likes of X-Men and Love, Simon. Outside of her acting, the star decided it was time to fully embrace who she is, and came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in a moving Instagram post. “It’s exhausting chasing other people’s ideas and opinions of who you should be”, she wrote in a post. “Today I’m happy in ways I don’t think my kid self could imagine. I get to be exactly who I want to be EVERY FUCKING DAY and it feels incredible!! It’s never too late to be you.”

7.

DreamDoll


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I know Dreamdoll all too well from her stint on the Reality TV show Bad Girls Club, but to see how far she’s come as an artist is remarkable. She’s really found her foot in what she wants to do, and you’d be a hater if you thought otherwise, I’m sorry! In a gorgeous, colourful Pride month Instagram post last year, the rapper came out as bisexual writing, “Happy Pride month. I’m proud to announce that I’m bisexual”, and followed it up with a tweet appreciating all the love.

8.

Samira Wiley


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Yes, I did cry when Poussey didn’t get the ending she deserved in Orange Is The New Black. Her character quickly became a role model for the LGBTQ+ community, but that doesn’t mean Samira has always been inclined to being out off-screen.

In a 2020 interview with Essence magazine, the star revealed that she was accidentally outed as gay, and spoke about how her OITNB character helped her overcome this. “I wasn’t out in the beginning and I think falling in love with Poussey, which is a real thing that happened to me, helped me fall in love with myself as well.”

9.

Jason Collins


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Coming out is not easy for anyone, and it can be even more complicated when you have a career in professional sports. It’s still a huge taboo, with many LGBTQ+ athletes keeping their sexuality a secret, but former NBA player Jason Collins is hoping to change that. 

In an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine back in 2013, Jason became the first active player to come out in any major American sport, and this provoked mixed reactions from the media and his fellow players. “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m Black. And I’m gay”, shared Jason.

10.

Niecy Nash


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We love a celeb who can surprise us at any time, and the Claws actor did just that after she announced herself as the new “Mrs Carol Denise Betts 💍.” The surprise wedding came as a shock to her fans, but speaking to People magazine, the star said that the moment wasn’t about ‘coming out’ per se.

“I don’t feel like my marriage is my coming out of anywhere, but rather a going into myself and being honest about who I love”, she shared before adding that she wasn’t limiting herself on what that love is supposed to look like. The couple has since celebrated making history as the first-ever same-sex couple to grace the cover of Essence!

11.

Lena Waithe


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Lena has inspired many people both on and off-screen, and her visibility as a Black queer woman has allowed her to be a force for positive change in Hollywood. During the 2018 Essence Black Women in Hollywood ceremony, the actor made a powerful speech encouraging people to embrace who they are: “Being born gay, Black, and female is not a revolutionary act. Being proud to be a gay, Black female is.”

12.

Tinashe


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I don’t think we appreciate Tinashe enough! The talent is right there, and not enough people are giving her the credit she deserves… Shout out to songs like “2 On” and “Superlove”.

In 2020, the singer came out as bisexual in a cover story for Gay Times, and spoke about feeling comfortable in her sexuality. “I never wanted people to think that I used it for attention. There are so many f—ing stereotypes about being bisexual that made me want to shy away from talking about it. I’m much more open to having those discussions now.”

13.

Keke Palmer


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Keke is one of the few celebrities you can depend on to keep it 100% real at all times. She’s either busy becoming a viral sensation, or being a voice for those that need it, and in 2015 she came out as sexually fluid in her music video “I Don’t Belong To You.”

Speaking about it further in People magazine, the actor said she feels very open in defining who she is. “The video was to represent the young woman today – it’s not the traditional woman anymore – and not the specifics of ‘Am I gay? Am I straight? Am I bi? I’m making the rules for myself, and I don’t have to be stuck down to one label.”

14.

Robin Roberts


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For those who don’t know, Robin is a beloved news anchor for Good Morning America who officially came out as gay in December 2013 via Facebook. In an interview with People magazine, the anchor reflected on why she decided to keep her sexuality a secret for so long.

“I was afraid… I was afraid people couldn’t think I could be a Christian and gay. And then I realized, if somebody who looks like me was to come along, maybe I could give them a little more courage. Maybe they would know they were not walking alone.”

15.

Janet Mock


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How can you not love Janet? She literally made history by playing a pivotal role in the hit TV series Pose, and has since not had a minute’s rest! The trans rights activist and bestselling author opened up to The Guardian back in 2018 about always knowing that she was a woman, but feeling like she was “cursed by biology”. “I believed I was, and knew myself as, a young woman, even when I had a penis. It wasn’t as if I needed the surgery to confirm that for me”, she said.

16.

Sasha Lane


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Sasha is not only my loc sister from another mister, but she’s a leading voice for mental health. The actor is using her platform to create change, and wants to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. She’s been out as bisexual since 2015, but has commented on her reluctance to label her sexuality, telling ASOS magazine if “my heart wants it, my heart wants it. That’s been with anyone. I love who I love or like what I like.”

17.

Reece King


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You might not be familiar with his name, but you’ll probably recognise his face from when one of Reece’s Instagram posts went viral. Since then he’s been a prominent figure in Europe’s modelling scene. He came out as bisexual in an interview with Paper Magazine in 2018.

“I don’t really care if it’s a woman or a man, because it doesn’t make a difference if I’m in love”, he said. “I knew what I liked in my head, but when it came to real life, I didn’t really know how to interact”, he added, speaking about his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality as a teenager.

18.

Lee Daniels


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Before Lee was a notable filmmaker in Hollywood directing the likes of Precious, he was struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. In 2015, he clarified his sexuality, describing himself as sexually fluid. He also recalled painful memories of his childhood in an interview with Out magazine.

“When I came out it was because I loathed my dad so much — I couldn’t understand how you could, with an extension cord, beat a 45-pound kid just because he’s aware of his femininity”. It was perhaps these struggles that allowed Lee to create magic in the form of Precious, and to relate to those who have felt unwanted or trapped.

19.

Janelle Monáe


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Janelle burst onto the scene in 2010, and people have come to love her androgynous style and amazing artistic vision. In 2020, she decided to let people get to know her underneath all of that. Janelle originally identified as bisexual, but speaking with them.us in 2018 the singer said she was still exploring. “I feel my feminine, I feel my masculine, I feel energy that I can’t really explain.” As for her preferred pronouns, she had this to say: “People can call me whatever it is they want to call me. I know who I am. I know my journey. And I don’t have to declare anything.”

20.

Kehlani


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If you identify as a straight woman and you haven’t fancied Kehlani at least once in your life, you’re not a real fan because I swear she will make a girl question her sexuality! Her smooth voice and her songs detailing the complexities of love are enough to make anyone go weak at the knees, for sure.

Back in 2018, the songstress took to Twitter to educate her fans about her queer identity, saying that they identified as bisexual. However, in 2021 she proclaimed herself a lesbian via TikTok saying, “You wanna know what’s new about me? I finally know I’m a lesbian!”

21.

Tayla Parx


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Does Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” ring any bells? Well, Tayla is partly behind the masterpiece which she co-wrote with Ariana! Back in 2020, Tayla was in a relationship with a woman, and spoke to Insider about how she prefers to write songs without gender-specific pronouns.

“I’ve always been a fan of keeping things gender-neutral, honestly, because of the fact that I’m bi”, the singer-songwriter commented at the time. “Sometimes my song is about a boy, sometimes it’s about a girl.” A year later, she announced her engagement to her girlfriend!

22.

Victoria Monét


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Victoria’s songs “Ass Like That”, “Coastin”, and “Go There With You” are undeniable bops that leave me questioning how and why she’s still so underrated! Oh, and did I even get to the part where I talk about how she co-wrote Ariana Grande’s iconic song “Thank U, Next”? Yeah, that part!

In 2018, Victoria clarified her sexuality on Twitter, and later described her coming out experience as “a buttercup version because I was really lucky.” “It should feel more warm for everybody”, she added in conversation with Billboard, “I think we should make people more comfortable.”

23.

Frank Ocean


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We don’t see Frank super often, but when he does reappear, he either blesses us with a killer look or some fire new music! His bisexual anthem “Chanel” is one for the history books, and we can’t forget that time he famously shared an open letter about his sexuality right before his debut album, Channel Orange, dropped. Many songs on the album saw Frank using male pronouns to address his lovers, which was a powerful thing to do especially back in the early aughts!

Which Black, queer celebs have positively impacted your journey? Let us know in the comments!

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