Photography by Ryan Pfluger at Brooklyn on September 10, 2015. Styling by Michael Cook. Groomer: Angela DiCarlo.
This year, 21-year-old Shamir Bailey emerged as a poster child for a new generation of pop star: the post-queer, post-gender, fearlessly original kind. With its infectious beats, its whip-smart rhymes, and the singer’s Michael Jackson-like falsetto, Bailey’s debut album, Ratchet, presents itself as a celebration of difference without the sloganeering that often accompanies pro-LGBT music. One only has to watch the videos for his songs “On the Regular” and “Call It Off” (in which he shares the screen with a puppet version of himself) to know he delivers his message of acceptance with his tongue firmly in cheek. “I’m not being in-your-face about my openness,” Bailey says. “I’m encouraging everyone to be themselves. My favorite thing about my show is that my audience is a big rainbow tribe of people: different genders, colors, and sexual orientations. And they’re all in the room just to have fun.”