After witnessing a record number of LGBTQ-inclusive ads during Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast, it is significant to recognize the diverse LGBTQ voices color who were part of this “rainbow wave.” LGBTQ icons Isis King, Lily Singh, Lil Nas X, and Kim Chi were all represented front and center in ads during Sunday’s broadcast, bringing necessary representation and visibility to LGBTQ voices of color.
Lil Nas X, an openly gay rapper nominated for Outstanding Music Artist at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards, was featured in a commercial for Doritos, where he showcases his incredible dance moves in a battle between himself and actor Sam Elliott. As we celebrate Black History Month, Lil Nas X is a powerful example of a trailblazer who is paving the way for acceptance for openly queer teens, and those who are still discovering who they are.
Lilly Singh, openly bisexual host of “A Little Late With Lilly Singh”, was featured in a beauty ad by Olay. Singh portrays an astronaut alongside Busy Phillips and retired astronaut Nicole Stott as part of the Procter & Gamble’s #MakeSpaceForWomen campaign. Singh will host the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York in March.
As a visible, bisexual women of color, Singh creates space for others to feel comfortable to fearlessly walk in their truth. Singh also helps to give visibility to the bi+ community, who still continue to face bi-erasure within the media.
In an article by AdAge, creator of the ad, Madonna Badger of Badger and Winter, shared: “We wanted to make a spot that focused on the idea that there’s plenty of space for women, there’s plenty of space for everyone, but do it in a way that everyone got the joke,” Badger calls the tone of the commercial “humor with a social purpose.”
“It’s a women-first message everyone can appreciate, men, children, teenagers, millennials, Gen X-ers.”
Isis King, a trans women of color known for her role in When They See Us, also graced the screen in a TurboTax advertisement for a fun “Pose-esque” scene, with the tagline, “all people are tax people.”
Trans visibility is more important now than ever, especially for trans women of color. On advertisement’s biggest night, King, and her co-star Trace Lysette, helped to bring trans representation to the forefront.
On Sunday, Kim Chi, a South Korean-American drag queen, artist, and television personality known as a contestant on season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, also graced screens in ad for Sabra Hummus.
In an article by Ad Age, Kim Chi shares: “Ten years ago if you would have said there would be a queer artist of color in a Super Bowl ad you would have laughed at it.”
“Growing up for me there weren’t many Asian representations in pop culture and gay role models were extremely, extremely rare,” Kim Chi says. “For me, to be that for an Asian kid growing up gay in a small town watching football with their family, that’s incredibly exciting.”
Casting people across diverse ethnicities, identities, and perspectives in advertisements is an active approach towards affecting positive cultural change in a time defined by political and cultural division. More than ever, positive, healthy, and successful representation matters for queer communities of color, as it provides an opportunity for people of all ages to see themselves reflected.
Super Bowl LIV aired this past Sunday, February 2 on FOX.