Half: A Jaake Castro Guest Blog

by - June 18, 2024

Photo courtesy of Jaake Castro

I read like a Republican joking about the future the liberals want. Like a gay bingo card. I'm a mixed race, nonbinary, bisexual. Half white, half Black, half straight, half gay, half female, half male.

So it should surprise no one that I would find myself making music that is both R&B and neo-soul but also pop, folk and punk rock. Inspired just as much by the concrete jungles of my Black family as the trailer parks of my white family. Making music that, while queer, differs distinctly from my gay peers and certainly my straight. As unsurprised by this as I should be, I still find myself often at a loss for where I fit in. I often find myself trying to lean more in one direction and then the other. Oftentimes at war with myself when around my friends, in my workplace and in my love life.

Musically I struggled in the same way, one way deciding that ‘I’ll just focus on pop and folk music and whiter audiences’ or ‘I need to focus on my love of R&B and focus on Black audiences.’ I worried endlessly how any audience would relate to an album of songs written both about the women I have loved and the men. An album about becoming the person I want to be, devoid of any gender at all.

Historically, I never felt empowered to do both, to be both. But music has reached an era of amalgamation, just as society has. Our playlists span many, many genres. Our friend groups and neighborhoods are more diverse than ever. Mixed kids such as myself represent more and more of the population. Albums like Beyonce's Cowboy Carter prove that the world is ready to transcend strict genres and gender neutral, pansexual superstars like Miley Cyrus prove that the world is capable of accepting more than the binary.

This pride season I have been thinking a lot about those of us in the queer community who struggle to fit within it. I thought a lot about the need for inclusivity even amongst our queer family. So many in our community feel isolated and ignored. So this pride season I want to send some special love to those who feel ‘half’, and I invite you to do the same. I see you, I welcome you and I hope you feel whole this pride season.

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