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At just 19 years old, RILEYY LANEZ is ready to take on the world of R&B with her debut EP "Beautiful Mistakes."  The Bronx based singer talks to us about what Pride means to her this year.

As an LGBTQ+ individual, what does PRIDE represent for you and how is that shifting in light of the Black Lives Matter movement? 

Pride means being able to be free and to be who you are without having to be judged by anyone. This means more as I am showing my pride as both a woman of color and a woman who is a part of the LGBTQ community. We are protesting that Black Lives Matter as we were once protesting for the LGBTQ people to matter as well.

As an artist, how does gender and identity play into your work?  Is there any relationship between your journey as an artist and how your perception of your gender has evolved?

As an artist, the type of songs I write speaks to all genders and all identities. My recent video "Left 4 Me" speaks to who I am within the LGBTQ community. 

What parts of your personality does being an R&B artist allow you to explore?

R&B allows me to explore my loving personality and dig deep into my creativity. Growing up, love was just something I saw and felt around me. Now, as an artist, I want to share it with my audience.

What drew you to partner with Boy Smells during Pride?

Boy Smells and the brand’s Pride campaign represent similar values as me and the music I am writing. On my social media, I speak to my audience on loving and accepting themselves; to stand proud of who they are, whether it be who they love or the color of their skin. This campaign is encouraging the same and I’m so happy to be a part of it.

Considering the unprecedented times we are living in, how does the Cedar Stack candle and its emblematic meaning of ‘Radiance of Good’ mean to you this Pride?

Radiance of Good brings to mind the good fight for Black Lives Matterr and the LGBTQ community. We are bringing positivity, peace and unity.

Recognizing the civil injustices impacting communities of color, particularly those in the LGBTQ community, how do you choose to use your voice for positive change?

I will use my voice as I create music. One can close their eyes and enjoy my lyrics. I’ve been told that my music takes one away from what’s going on, even if it’s just for a moment, and it’s important to create that space where people can heal/recharge. Recently I did use my voice outside of my music as I protested for Black Lives Matter in a nonviolent manner.

Follow RILEYY on Instagram via @rileyy_lz.  Her debut EP, "Beautiful Mistakes," can be heard here.



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