The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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The Torch (@sju_torch) • Instagram photos and videos

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jojo Siwa
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Jojo Siwa’s Bad Karma

Jojo Siwa is this generation’s self-proclaimed ‘gay pop icon.’
Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jojo Siwa

The dynamic internet personality Jojo Siwa, who burst onto the scene at just nine years old, has captivated audiences with her continued dedication to dancing, singing and growing her social influence. Her journey took a significant turn in January 2021 when she publicly shared her revelation, sparking what she fondly calls her “gay awakening.”

Since then, JoJo’s evolution has been a hot topic, particularly with her recent rebranding that diverges from her roots in children’s entertainment. Embracing a bold claim as this generation’s “gay pop icon,” she has sparked intriguing conversations and debates.

JoJo’s latest single, “Karma,” dropped on April 5, though not without controversy. Criticism arose over her taking credit for a song initially written by Brit Smith, raising questions about artistic ownership and authenticity in the music industry. As the internet started to tear into her, she saw this backlash as publicity, as if she was doing anything to hold on to it. 

Following Jojo’s bold claim of being the gay pop icon of this generation, it’s important to acknowledge the undeniable impact and extraordinary talent of other artists who have come before her.

At 18 years old, the musician Troye Sivan emerged as a pop sensation, celebrated for his remarkable music and fearless embrace of his identity as a gay man. The former YouTube star swiftly captured hearts globally with his debut album, the youthfully resonant “Blue Neighbourhood,” which released in late 2015. Since then, Troye has remained a beacon for music enthusiasts, consistently delivering anthems that resonate deeply with his audience. Beyond his artistry, he has served as a source of inspiration, encouraging many to embrace and celebrate their true selves. 

Lil Nas X is a cultural trailblazer making waves in the music industry, and at just 22 years old, his journey is only beginning. Since the breakout success of “Old Town Road,” he has fearlessly pushed boundaries, embracing his identity without apology after publicly coming out as gay.

From a groundbreaking live TV moment where he shared a kiss with a male dancer at the 2021 BET Awards to his striking appearance in a bold lilac Atelier Versace ensemble at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, he consistently challenges norms and celebrates authenticity through his artistry.

Charli XCX’s journey to pop stardom was a slow burn, rooted in her early days hustling music on MySpace nearly a decade ago. Unlike the cookie-cutter “princess” image often expected of pop singers, Charli XCX defies tradition by boldly advocating for women’s autonomy and embracing open discussions around women’s sexuality. She’s not just making music; she’s empowering listeners. Charli’s music has become a lifeline for a young queer person navigating heartbreak, which may seem small, but to Charli XCX, it’s a badge of honor.

Renée Rapp, the dynamic 23-year-old singer and actor, had a monumental year in her pop career. Starting from Broadway and making waves on the TV series “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” Rapp’s star soared with releasing her compelling new album, “Snow Angel.” This album showcases her impressive vocal range and emotional depth and solidified her place in the music industry. What sets Rapp apart is not just her talent but her unapologetic authenticity. Her openness about her struggles with mental health and coming out has resonated deeply with fans, particularly within the LGBTQ+ community.

Rapp’s candid interviews have helped her build a robust queer fandom, drawn to her raw honesty and empowering messages. One of her standout tracks, “Pretty Girls,” delves into the complexities of relationships with straight-presenting women who only show interest after a few drinks. 

Chappell Roan’s journey from a small-town ‘God girl’ in Missouri to a vibrant, queerness-embracing pop star is captivating. Inspired by icons like Kesha and Lady Gaga, she has shed her conservative upbringing to release a debut album that revels in its gloriously tasteless brilliance. “I grew up believing being gay was wrong, a sin,” Chappell reveals.

But everything changed when she stepped into a gay club — a transformative experience she describes as pure magic, contradicting everything she had been taught. Chappell exudes camp in every fiber of her being, from her drag-inspired makeup to her towering wigs. Even her recent Tiny Desk Concert featured her with lipstick on her teeth, embracing imperfection with infectious charm. Chappell Roan is not just an artist; she’s a bold declaration of self-expression and rebellion against societal norms. 

Jojo Siwas’s claim to fame has brought attention to other queer artists of this generation who have made an impact in the music industry. The lingering question remains: Can Jojo Siwa truly claim the title of gay pop icon for this generation when numerous impactful artists have already blazed trails in the industry for her to follow?

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    supergluuuedMay 11, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    No. She is not a gay pop icon. Take everything away. Put her in a room. Alone. No one to write songs for her to sing. No dance teacher. No anything.
    There would be very little talent in that room.
    She’s young.
    She’s annoying.
    She’s got a lot to learn from actual gay pop icons.

    Reply