For Black History Month, we want to spotlight a rising black trans artist. Throughout the pandemic Glasgow-based DJ, producer, and musician TAAHLIAH has been making waves, and now she’s disrupting the scene with a Scottish Album of the Year nomination.
Black history has often been overlooked in LGBTQ+ culture, but it’s at the heart of all of our movements. Black people, and black trans people in particular, have always led the fight for our rights, from Marsha P. Johnson at the Stonewall riots to Munroe Bergdorf’s present-day activism.
TAAHLIAH is no stranger to fighting the good fight, and her commitment to shaking up a predominantly cis, white, male scene shines through in her music. Her sound has echoes of SOPHIE’s off-beat electronica and Quay Dash’s dark, confident beat, but with a grimy authenticity that screams, ‘This is me; this is Glasgow’.
Starting out in the depths of the pandemic, TAAHLIAH never really imagined her meteoric rise. “I never intended for my life to be this life,” she says to Glasgow Live. “It takes a lot to get used to. I’m honoured.”
Her music was homegrown, playing to friends and house parties before she ever graced a dancefloor. In fact, around the world the shutdown caused by COVID has been linked to a spike in LGBTQ+ people coming out. Given time away from conventional spaces like schools and workplaces, people have had time to think – to understand who they are, and what they want. For TAAHLIAH, this reflection is expressed through her music.
From mixing tracks in lockdown she has seen one success after another. With nightlife gradually reopening across Scotland, she has played to live audiences and even secured a debut at Boiler Room. Her first EP Angelica is available to stream and has almost 10,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
With a SAY award on the horizon, she seems poised to launch a trailblazing career – for herself, and her community. But despite the community surge in the pandemic, she still sees challenges ahead. “It’s quite interesting and quite disappointing,” she says as the club scene returns to Glasgow. “It felt like there was a unionising about people’s consciousness during the pandemic which I feel has just dispersed into nothingness.”
This Black History Month we celebrate TAAHLIAH and her call for unity, and black trans people everywhere. Share your favourite up and coming black musicians, artists, and activists in the comments below, or find us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram @GenderGP.