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Barack Obama’s ‘best of 2017’ list is packed with LGBTQ artists

Meka Beresford January 2, 2018
Obama and Ellen

Ellen DeGeneres receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Barack Obama has released his ‘best of 2017’ list and it is packed with LGBTQ musicians, artists and writers.

The former president took to his official Facebook page to reveal what books and songs became his favourite in the year 2017.

Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

The list has become a tradition since he began his presidency, as he explained that he wanted to share the art that resonated with him.

He wrote on Facebook: “During my presidency, I started a tradition of sharing my reading lists and playlists.

“It was a nice way to reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world.”

He added that now he has some “extra time” he thought he would continue the tradition.

“With some extra time on my hands this year to catch up, I wanted to share the books and music that I enjoyed most. From songs that got me moving to stories that inspired me, here’s my 2017 list — I hope you enjoy it and have a happy and healthy New Year,” he added.

The list is scattered with queer creatives, including most prominently Frank Ocean.

Obama listed the single Chanel as one of his favourite tracks.

The song by the bisexual artist stands out as being one of the tracks where he intimately talks about his sexuality, as he sings “My guy pretty like a girl” in the first line.

Ocean was hit with a $14 million lawsuit from his own father this year after he wrote an essay about the homophobia he was subjected to as a child and posted it online.

In the blog, Ocean spoke about experiencing homophobia as a child, alleging that his father had used anti-gay slurs.

Ocean had written: “I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighbourhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty.

“That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word.”

Brandi Carlile
Brandi Carlile (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

His estranged father, Calvin Cooksey, claimed that Ocean had made up the incident “for the financial success of Defendant’s new album Blonde, and to ruin his father”.

The Joke, by lesbian musician Brandi Carlile also made the list.

The single was the first from her 2017 album By The Way, I Forgive You and won her nominations for the Grammy’s and GLAAD.

Speaking about the track to NPR, Carlile explained that she wanted to help the marginalised and underrepresented LGBTQ community.

She said: “There are so many people feeling misrepresented [today]. So many people feeling unloved. Boys feeling marginalized and forced into these kind of awkward shapes of masculinity that they do or don’t belong in… so many men and boys are trans or disabled or shy.

Naomi Alderman
Naomi Alderman (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images For Baileys)

“Little girls who got so excited for the last election, and are dealing with the fallout. The song is just for people that feel under-represented, unloved or illegal,” she added.

As well as music, Obama listed some of his favourite books including The Power, by the author Naomi Alderman.

Alderman has centred LGBTQ themes at the heart of her novels in the past, with her debut book, Disobedience, following the story of a New York Jewish lesbian living with an orthodox rabbi.

Obama has always celebrated queer artists, having chosen gay artist Kehinde Wiley to do his official portrait.

More: Barack Obama, Brandi Carlile, frank ocean, lgbtq, Music, Naomi Alderman, top songs of 2017, US

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