In February of this year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Black trans rapper Cuee. We discussed his career, future hopes, and musical and transitional journeys, but one aspect of our interview particularly inspired me: his emphasis on joy. Despite the darkness the transgender community faces, Cuee stated, “I want people to hear my story…and be like, ‘Okay, there’s the joy.’” His music has certainly achieved this goal — joy is present throughout his discography, and he has once again musically embodied trans happiness in his latest single, “Proud Boi.”
The queer messaging of the Acclaimed — the two tag team champions for the professional wrestling company All Elite Wrestling (AEW) — veers in enough different directions that it’s hard to pick out a unified message. The fictional world of wrestling, whose staged theatrics and over-the-top characters often shade towards campiness, complicates the real-world impact of that message even further.