Top 5 LGBT Artists that Changed My Life

5. Hanifah Walidah

The moment I laid eyes on this woman, my heart actually took pause. The way she carried herself, her clothes, her voice. Everything about her screamed liberation. I know that may seem a bit melodramatic, but I assure you, that’s exactly what I felt.

Cut from the cloth of so many of the most brilliant artists, Hanifah Walidah was born in the grit and color of Brooklyn, NY. From there, she ventured to the solo stages, performing her poetry, one-woman shows, and fighting for the ever distant flag of equality and justice. In 1994 she released her debut under the pseudonym Sha-Kay. With a flow and easiness about her reminiscent of such prophets as the Lost Poets and Gil Scott Heron, Walidah has always had a voice full of power and authority.

But if it was simply her poetic grandeur that attracted me, she wouldn’t have had as deep an impact as she’s had. After all, having been schooled in poetry, there are quite a few that I love, but only a select couple that have managed to shift my universe to the left like Hanifah Walidah. It was her video for the song Do You Mind, from her 2010 music video documentary U People, that permanently imprinted her visage into my very being. Her natural grace, her unwavering confidence, it was enough to make me forget that my lover was in the room (oh, well. That didn’t work out anyway).


As unexpected as my path was to loving all things weird, more unexpected is my ability to get attention for writing about the stuff.

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