June is International Gay Pride Month and Mitchells Plain queer singer Latheem Gabriel says he uses his music to highlight LGBTQI+ activism.
He started composing songs as a teen, and has performed overseas, sharing the stage with headliners like Nakhane Toure from the Black Coffee hit We Dance Again, Zolani Mahola from Freshly Ground, Matthew Gold and Jimmy Nevis.
His single Human Being was selected as the official Pretoria Pride anthem for 2017, reaching the number one spot on local radio stations.
Latheem says: “I wrote Human Being as a sort of anthem of hope for queer people, a song that attempts to acknowledge the different identities within the LGBT spectrum and at the same time celebrate that we are all of God’s creation.”
Latheem says his mission is to spread awareness and tolerance through his creative platforms.
He is a graphic and web designer, photography and has dabbled in film production.
His song War is Where The Heart Is was used in a film he co-directed with Imam Muhsin Hendricks in 2013, called Fitrah – a compelling documentary that addresses sexual diversity within the Muslim community.
“Like most artists, my music is very much influenced by my personal experiences.
“Love, hurt, family, fear, relationships, identity and sexuality, etc.
“I’ve worked in the LGBTQI+ human rights sector for more than 10 years, performing as an artist.
“The track War is Where the Heart Is which I wrote for the documentary, was inspired by the battles that queer people face externally and inside.
“The song uses physical imagery of war to symbolise internal conflict.”
Latheem is currently working on his debut album set to be released this year, which he says will be “soulful with an afro house infusion”.
His music is available on Spotify.