GLAAD uplifts Black LGBTQ+ voices in music with second EMEI cohort

Photo Credit: Greg Doherty/Getty Images

GLAAD is celebrating a new lineup of Black queer and trans talent and this time, they’re giving flowers to up-and-coming musicians.

The LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization is steady making waves to uplight queer talent and recently announced their 2024 EMEI Cohort. The Equity in Media and Entertainment Initiative (EMEI), established and led by Senior Director of GLAAD’s Communities of Color and Media department, DaShawn Usher, along with the rest of the team, Associate Director Julian J. Walker, Associate Kayla Thompson, and Jr. Associate Tymia Ballard, is aimed at uplifting creatives of color within the entertainment industry. Last year’s cohort focused on filmmakers and this year, GLAAD is amplifying the music of Black LGBTQ+ artists.

The year-long program will connect the cohort to executive leaders and spaces, while supporting the early development of their creative projects. The program, which spans three years, will give each cohort $10,000, in support from Gilead Sciences, to fund their creative endeavors. Additionally, GLAAD celebrated the announcement of its newest cohort by launching Academy Proud, a new initiative in partnership with OUTLOUD and the Recording Academy that supports and amplifies LGBTQ+ voices and representation within the Recording Academy and the music industry at-large.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Recording Academy for this much needed representation in the music industry. We’ve gone decades behind the scenes and recently started to see the emergence and due success of LGBTQ+ artists, producers, songwriters, and other contributors to music,” Usher said. “This year, GLAAD’s Equity in Media and Entertainment Initiative (EMEI), supported by Gilead Sciences, continues to be a pathway for 10 incredibly deserving Black LGBTQ+ artists: 2AM Ricky, Albanus Thierry, Asiahn, DAMEZ, Mylah Muse, Neverending Nina, SHAH, Siaira Shawn, Suni MF, and Victor Jackson; who deserve our collective praise for the work they’ve created and support on their musical career journey.”

EMEI is already paying off for the 2023 cohort. On February 22, GLAAD presented the 2023 EMEI Cohort Showcase, in collaboration with Creative Artist Agency (CAA), in Los Angeles, highlighting the inaugural cohort’s latest film projects. Now with a new cohort, EMEI will foster a community of Black LGBTQ+ creatives who are better prepared to navigate the entertainment industry successfully.

“Music is such a therapeutic and life saving experience for so many of us,” Walker said. “Supporting these amazing Black Queer Musicians who make up this year’s EMEI cohort will continue to create spaces and foster relationships that’ll forever change lives; ensuring our presence is felt and seen far and wide.”

Check out the new EMEI cohort below.

Photo Credit: GLAAD

2am Ricky (Hip Hop)

Albanus Thierry (R&B)

Asiahn (R&B)

Damez (Hip Hop/R&B)

Mylah Muse (R&B)

Neverending Nina (Jazz/R&B)


Siaira Shawn (R&B)

Suni MF (Hip Hop) 

Victor Jackson (Pop/R&B)

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