It's always revolutionary to hear queer Black people singing about loving themselves and each other. How could it not be? The world tells queer Black people that their voices matter least. Fighting back against hate with love is an act of defiance — of revolution.
And so it is: The Illustrious Blacks, an IRL queer Black couple named Monstah Black and Manchildblack, are back with the latest single "Revolutionary Love," from a forthcoming full-length. It takes some of the most joyous genres of Black music — funk, disco, soulful pop — and puts them in a blender to create a fresh, intoxicating message: the celebration inherent in not giving a fuck who supports your ability to love yourself, to love another. It's a special kind of transcendent magic when queer Black artists revel in the lyrical power of a statement like "we've got something none can touch."
And indeed they do. Afrofuturism is innately celebratory, envisioning a world of total liberation and freedom for all Black people. "It's not just [for] cisgendered, heterosexual males," Manchildblack tell PAPER. "It is essential that queer Black people have a voice in it that is equally as loud. Black women, femmes, trans, nonbinary. Through Afrofuturism, we're empowering all black people."'
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Monstah Black co-signs: "Queer artists are courageous in a way that helps to push Afrofuturism/Black Art forward in an unapologetic way. This unapologetic aesthetic is also what is needed to help penetrate outdated belief systems that require rethinking, reevaluating and remixing."
It's as if the song and its artists want to tell us: no matter how you identify, if you believe in love, you can create your own revolution. "It is also a declaration that in these times of divisiveness, to show love is truly a revolutionary act," Manchildblack says.
Listen to the song's premiere by the dynamic duo, below, who opened for the luminous CupcakKe this year and have since been performing a string of New York shows, including Central Park's Summerstage, and a headlining gig at Joe's Pub.
Follow The Illustrious Blacks on Instagram.
Photography: Fabian Gomez