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.


5Kehinde Wiley

Twitter: @kehindewileyart
Location: New York

This creative pioneer made history when he became the first Black artist to ever paint an official portrait of a U.S. president for the National Portrait Gallery which was commissioned by Barack Obama in 2017.

A Yale graduate, Wiley’s distinct love of incorporating bold colors and striking Black images in his works have taken the art world by storm. His work has won numerous national awards and his countercultural themes of Black masculinity throughout his art has sparked critical conversations beyond his sold-out exhibitions.