Cynicism is a growing phenomenon in music. True love songs are hard to come by these days. Deriving its name from Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” Yellow Diamonds is a series of lyric breakdowns in which VIBE Senior Music Editor Austin Williams celebrates songs that sound like love found in a hopeless mainstream.
The canon of great love songs wouldn’t be what it is without contributions from queer songwriters. Having broken down lyrics penned by Frank Ocean, Syd, and Kehlani in the past, this is something I’ve subtly tried to highlight since Yellow Diamonds debuted on Valentine’s Day earlier this year. To celebrate Pride Month in this special edition of the column, I picked the brains of three queer music journalists about the love songs that best represent their romantic experiences. Rounding up this group wasn’t difficult, as I’ve spoken with all of these people before (one of the perks of doing what I do is having access to my peers through the internet).
Khaaliq Crowder, a current social media producer for Entertainment Tonight and former VIBE intern, reached out on Instagram to congratulate me when I was named Senior Music Editor of his old stomping grounds. We’ve had pleasant exchanges ever since, including him giving me an education on the Spice Girls’ impact on queer culture. I met Donna-Claire Chesman, Audiomack’s Senior Director of Editorial and Content Strategy, back when she was the Managing Editor at DJBooth and I was a freelance writer hungry for work. And I’ve been Twitter mutuals with freelance writer and editor Taylor Crumpton for so long I don’t even remember exactly when that came to be, but I’m certain it was before I edited her during my time at BET.
I received as much joy from catching up with these folks as I did from listening to the music they sent me. As Yellow Diamonds continues to celebrate shining examples of romantic optimism, read on to find out which queer love songs provided similar light in the lives of these journalists.
These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.