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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Queeries: Queer icons Ice Spice, Miley Cyrus and SZA top the charts


Bronx, N.Y. native Ice Spice broke onto the scene over the past few months with viral hits “Munch (Feelin’ U)” (2022), “In Ha Mood” (2023) and “Bikini Bottom” (2023). Most recently, she was recruited for the PinkPantheress remix, “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” (2023). The latter reached a new peak of No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, so it’s time to dive into Gen Z’s latest queer icon and others dominating the charts right now.

Born Jan. 1, 2000, Ice Spice was evidently destined for greatness. “How can I lose if I’m already chose?” she raps to open “Bikini Bottom.” In a recent interview with radio personality Ebro Darden, Ice Spice noted she was attracted to “good boys” and paused before following it up with “and girls.” Now a certified queer icon, Ice Spice isn’t the only queer legend topping the charts right now. The entire top 3 on the Hot 100 this week are held by queer women icons: Miley Cyrus, No. 1 with “Flowers” (2023), and SZA, No. 2 with “Kill Bill” (2022). With her first top 5 hit, Ice Spice is cementing herself as one of this generation’s burgeoning stars in pop culture, and there is much to look forward to from the newbie.

On Cyrus’ end, she earns her sixth week at No. 1 with her break-up-turned-self-love anthem “Flowers.” Openly queer since the mid-2010s, Cyrus currently holds the lead for the longest-running No. 1 of the year on the Hot 100, much to the celebration of the gays. SZA joins in on the celebration with her seventh week at No. 2. She revealed last year in a tweet that she identifies as queer, and she celebrates her 10th week at No. 1 with her latest album “SOS” (2022) — the longest-running female No. 1 album in nearly a decade.

This is a new age of queer music, and the increase in queer visibility for sexual and gender minorities regarding representation is more positive in 2023 than ever before. Songs such as Hayley Kiyoko’s “Girls Like Girls” (2015), Kehlani’s “Honey” (2017) and girl in red’s “i wanna be your girlfriend” (2017) have paved the way for this sapphic uprising in pop culture and have been a form of emotional support for young girls during a time when the depiction of queer relationships was taboo.

These artists have and actively are dismantling stereotypes and feelings of repression among queer youth and have created a safe space in mainstream music for queer women to leave their personal legacies behind. Now, less than 10 years later, with Ice Spice, Miley Cyrus and SZA on top of the charts, queer voices are being uplifted more than ever before. This openness and authenticity in media need to remain preserved, and the stories of these artists and their work need to be heard. This positive representation in queer music is breaking the mold and allowing those who feel like they are different from the conventional mold to find self-acceptance and listen to top hits and good music while doing it.