GLAAD, the leading LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization, has unveiled the 2024 cohort for the Equity in Media and Entertainment Initiative’s sophomore year. It focuses on spotlighting LGBTQ+ music artists of color, highlighting their significant talent and contributions to the music and entertainment scene.

DaShawn Usher, the senior director of GLAAD’s Communities of Color and Media department, spearheaded the initiative, collaborating with associate director Julian J. Walker, associate Kayla Thompson, and junior associate Ty Ballard to lead this impactful enterprise.

“This year’s cohort of visionaries and advisors are the pinnacle of what Black LGBTQ+ creatives can do when we join together to amplify our work,” Usher said in a news release statement.

EMEI is a year-long program that focuses on building professional connections, providing opportunities to meet industry leaders, and aiding in developing creative projects. The program lasts for three years, and each group of participants receives $10,000 from Gilead Sciences to support their innovative ventures.

GLAAD, in partnership with OUTLOUD and the Recording Academy, launched Academy Proud during Grammy Week 2024. This initiative aims to support LGBTQIA+ voices and enhance queer representation in the Recording Academy and the music industry. The debut mixer featured photo opportunities, a live DJ and speeches from LGBTQIA+ community leaders.

The remarkable EMEI Cohort comprises the following trailblazing artists:

Photo: GLAAD

1. 2am Ricky (Hip Hop)

2. Albanus Thierry (R&B)

3. Asiahn (R&B)

4. Damez (Hip Hop)

5. Mylah Muse (R&B)

6. Neverending Nina (Jazz/R&B)

7. SHAH (R&B)

8. Siaira Shawn (R&B)

9. Suni MF (Hip Hop) 

10. Victor Jackson (Pop/R&B)

“Music is such a therapeutic and life saving experience for so many of us,” Julian J. Walker, associate director of Communities of Color and Media at GLAAD, said in a news release statement. “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.”