In Years & Years' new video for "Desire," their latest single featuring Tove Lo, frontman Olly Alexander does not shy away from performing some heavy and sloppy male-on-male kissing.
In a Facebook post, the singer penned a heartfelt open letter about his desire to break traditional pop conventions regarding queer expression and being sexual in the video. "I chose to make this video about sex, to portray myself as a sexual character," Olly wrote. "I choose this because I do not want to hide or limit my sexuality, I want to make videos and songs and art that celebrate all different kinds of sexuality and queer identities.
The singer also reflected on the plethora of strong and sexual female pop stars that influenced him growing up. "As a teenager, I was inspired by stars who I felt were doing just that. They were almost exclusively women; Madonna, Destiny's Child, Alanis Morisette, Britney and Whitney -- they asserted or acknowledged their sexuality in varying and different ways and to me they were ways that felt powerful. They were singing about men and I wanted to sing about men. They were seductive and sensual in their videos -- I wanted to be seductive and sensual in my videos (and believe me I made a lot of these kind of home videos)."
Olly has been open about his sexuality and a vocal LGBT activist, and wrote about the remarkable progress of LGBT rights on his Instagram last week.
The numbers of successful, non-binary queer pop stars have been growing lately: Juliana Huxtable, Mykki Blanco, Arca, Sam Smith, Angel Haze, Troye Sivan, are all enjoying a level of acceptance that was unheard of decades ago. Admirably, these stars have strategically used social media to express their pride and comfort in their sexuality, and show music executives that being out and proud as a pop act can be possible.