Music

UMI’s Love Letter to the LGBTQ+ Community

This Pride Month, Billboard asked artists to write a series of love letters to their LGBTQ fans, highlighting what the community means to them as people and as artists. Below, R&B sensation UMI shares her coming out story, and thanks the community for “being my family.”

My first interactions with the LGBTQ+ community were with friends I made in high school. It wasn’t a conscious recognition of our identities; they were simply my friends. Through them, I learned a lot about freedom of expression.

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I’ve since been more connected with becoming a role model. My biggest intention is to create art that people of all identities can relate to and feel seen through. I make art for the soul, for our universal feelings. We all love, we all have desire, we all have heart break.

I’ve always had a strong desire to provide a safe space through my music and shows for people to be whoever they want to be. I attract a crowd of people who love each other with such deep openness – even with strangers. I love that my shows are full of representation … I think it’s a reflection of the love within me.

In the face of increasing political attacks, approaching life through a bird’s eye view reminds me of our ongoing evolution. Just a few years ago, the legalization of gay marriage marked a significant milestone — I was in high school when it happened and I wrote my friend a letter about it. We are still at the beginning of our story. It’s easy to get sad or anxious about the world when approaching things in a finite way. I try my best to see every problem we face not through fear but as an area of growth and expansion happening before me. The problem is proof that the solution must exist and will come. That is the creative process, that is evolution.

To my queer and trans family, friends, and fans, I LOVE YOU! You are loved and accepted always. Your unique presence in this world is appreciated — and my music is always a place to come as you are. Please don’t dim your light. You are here for a reason and are expanding people’s minds and hearts into its true size. So keep being you — your presence is making the world a better, more beautiful place. I feel it 🙂

Love,
UMI

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