11 Aug 2020

Bryn: “I Use My Voice To Fight for Black Queer Liberation”

Sunday, August 8 would have been the day of the Pride parade in our home town Antwerp. Just like all other events this summer, this year’s Antwerp Pride was canceled. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a moment to reflect on what Pride means and what it means to use your voice in today’s society. We teamed up with Levi’s to amplify the voice of Brussels-based artist Bryn.

Let’s give you some background info on Levi’s and what the brand has done for the LGBTQ+ community. It was the first Fortune 500 company to extend health benefits to unmarried domestic partners, in 1992. Which was a sneaky way to provide health benefits to LGBTQ+ couples, who weren’t allowed to get married in the US at the time.

In 2007, Levi’s was the only California business to file an amicus brief with the Californian Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage, outlining the economic advantages of allowing same-sex couples to marry. We could go on and on, but we guess you get it already; Levi’s has been a long standing ally of the LGBTQ+ community. No pinkwashing detected here!

This year, 100% of proceeds of the Levi’s Pride collection go to OutRight Action International. It’s a non-profit organisation that fights for the human rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world.

Bryn fights for black queer liberation

The 21-year-old Bryn, pronounced “brain”, is a Brussels-based queer pop singer with quite a story behind him. He entered Belgium as a Rwandese refugee and followed his dreams into the music world. “I use my voice to sing, it’s my job after all,” Bryn tells us. “I think as a dark skin black gay man, my presence in the music industry is already a political statement.”

“As a dark skin black gay man, my presence in the music industry is already a political statement”

Through modeling and singing, Bryn built a following on social media and he takes advantage of that platform to share educational content on black and queer issues. His goal is black and queer liberation. “It’s a very complex topic,” he explains. “Essentially, the black queer liberation movement centers black queer individuals. In the queer community, we face racism. And in the black community, we face queer-phobia. It’s ironic, considering black queer people, especially women in the community, have always been on the forefront fighting for all.”

It’s about intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw. It’s a fight that takes into consideration the intersection of the multiple battles all people from the black community have to face, not just the straight and cis ones. “I’m still learning a lot about it, so I invite other people to do their research. Together we can work to get a better understanding.”

Gay rights!

After having released two singles already, Bryn is currently getting ready to release a debut EP called Middle 8 around the beginning of October. “It’s about being a young black gay man trying to follow my dreams without being crushed by expectations from my parents. But also about achieving self-love and finding a community in a society that doesn’t always celebrate people like me,” he described.

When we asked about his favorite piece of the Levi’s Pride collection, he was very clear: “The pink and blue shorts. The way they make my ass look? Gay rights!” Check out those shorts and more in the little shoot we did with Bryn, completely styled in this year’s Levi’s Pride collection.

You can listen to Bryn’s music on all streaming platforms, and the Levi’s Pride collection is available now worldwide through its webshop and selected stores.

Photography by Gladys Ferro and Enfnts Terribles Studio
Production, creative direction and styling by Enfnts Terribles Studio
Makeup by Gladys Ferro

In collaboration with Levi’s

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