Every movement has its iconic pioneers.

The ones who had the courage to suffer the brunt of resistance to change so later generations may possibly enjoy the fruits of their hard labor and heavy burdens.

As we celebrate culture and orientation during PRIDE 2018, theGrio turns our focus to today’s Black groundbreakers and innovators who are reinventing and creating new ways towards acceptance. Certainly no an easy task in a country guided by a president and an attorney general who have supported policies that neglect and devalue the of the LGBTQ+ community.

We raise our collective glasses and wave our rainbow flags in honor of these 15 Black LGBTQ+ advocates who are inspiring the community with their vision and leading the way for a more inclusive future.



Kehlani arrives at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on TBS, TNT, and truTV at The Forum on March 11, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Twitter: @Kehlani
Location: Oakland

Turning the industry upside down with her fearless style and blunt appeal, this “SweetSexySavage” musician has proven to be a force to be reckoned with.

After her debut album topped the charts in 2017, Kehlani has grown her fanbase on social media with inspirational messages about self-esteem, mental health, and sexuality. The Grammy nominated artist made headlines this year when she came out as queer on Twitter, cultivating important discussions about sexual fluidity and gender expression.