When asked to come up with the names of famous bisexual women, most people will name Megan Fox, Drew Barrymore and Anna Paquin. African-American women are a lot less likely to show up on the list for whatever reason.
So, to celebrate the identities of those who are both of African-American descent and identify as ‘B’, here’s a list of six famous bisexual African-American women who are often overlooked.
1. Amandla Stenberg
Best known for her role as Rue in The Hunger Games, actress Amandla Stenberg is also an outspoken intersectional feminist. Aged just 17, Stenberg has made headlines for her writing and opinions on cultural appropriation and race, but most recently she made headlines for coming out as bisexual. On the Teen Vogue Snapchat, the actress explained:
I cannot stress enough how important representation is, so the concept that I can provide for other black girls is mind-blowing. It’s a really really hard thing to be silenced, and it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and just mold yourself into shapes that you just shouldn’t be in.
As someone who identifies as a black bisexual woman, I’ve been through it, and it hurts and it’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable. But then I realized: because of Solange and Ava Duvernay and Willow and all the black girls watching this right now, there’s absolutely nothing but change.
We cannot be suppressed. We are meant to express our joy and our love and our tears, to be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow.”
2. Azealia Banks
While Azealia Banks may be a controversial figure – and is perhaps best-known for her Twitter rants than her music – the rapper and singer has spoken about her bisexuality many times. Asked whether she has a “special affection” for her gay fans, Banks told Rolling Stone:
Definitely. I mean, I’m bisexual, so it makes sense. But I don’t want to be that girl who says all gays necessarily hang out together, of course! I have people say to me, “Oh wow, my friend is gay, too,” and I’m like, “Yeah, so?”
3. Frenchie Davis
Frenchie Davis is a Broadway performer, but most know her from her time on reality television shows American Idol and The Voice. Speaking to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2012, Davis told the publication that she had been dating a woman for the past year and that “I wasn’t out before the relationship, but I wasn’t in. I dated men and women, though lesbians weren’t feeling the bisexual thing. Now I’m in love with a woman I think I can be with forever.”
Push is the book that Oscar-winning movie Precious was based on and it tells the story of an illiterate, HIV-positive African-American girl who had also been abused. While both the movie and the book have been massively praised and studied, few people know that the author behind the novel “describes herself as bisexual”, according to an interview with the Evening Standard.
5. Bessie Smith
Blues singer Bessie Smith was one of the most famous singers within the genre during the 1920s and the 1930s. Also a major influence on other jazz singers of the time, it’s difficult to quantify just how much of an impact Smith had on the music industry.
Much of Smith’s life is depicted in HBO biopic Bessie (which starred Queen Latifah as the titular performer), including the singer’s bisexuality. While Bessie Smith was not ‘traditionally’ out, due to the times, her relationships with men and women are well-known to those who have studied her life and her career.
Tinashe is best-known for her incredibly catch track 2 On, and she has also won fans with recent track Player as well as her feature on Snakehips’ song All My Friends. The singer and performer is also openly bisexual, having posted this gifset on her Tumblr that explains that bisexuality is not a set, 50/50 (50% attraction to men, 50% attraction to women) thing for some people and that she has “an attraction to everyone” and she loves “everybody”.