10 Artists Jojo Siwa Might Want to Listen to Before She "Creates" Gay Pop

"Tutti Frutti, good booty / If it’s tight, it’s all right / If it’s greasy, it makes it easy"

Brandon Charles - Author

Apr. 11 2024, Published 1:40 p.m. ET

JoJo Siwa in 2024 in Kiss makeup
Source: Getty Images

JoJo Siwa is a seemingly well-meaning celebrity. While doing press for her album Karma — an album for people that aren’t just kids — she said she wants to "create" a new genre: gay pop.

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Obviously JoJo Siwa cannot create something that’s existed as long as pop music has existed. Rather than pile on the hate or noting the ignorance (looking at you, Tegan and Sara), we think that maybe JoJo just needs some suggestions on who had a hand in creating gay pop.

JoJo Siwa at the iHeart Radio Awards in 2024 in Kiss makeup and outfit
Source: Getty Images

Since JoJo name-drops a few folks in her gay pop interview with Billboard, we’re not including them. We already know she’s familiar with Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga. But we are definitely including the artists who influenced Miley and Gaga.

We’re going in reverse chronological order, kicking things off with the most important drag artist of all time and ending with a performer The Advocate called "the Elvis of homosexuals."


The Supermodel of the World is a drag and cable television institution. RuPaul’s impact on the culture at large is still growing and they’re 63 years old. To most people over a certain age, Ru first made their first mark with 1992’s “Supermodel (You Better Work).” It's a banger that achieved mainstream success and was released on a mainstream rap label (Tommy Boy). It’s gay pop released 10 years before Jojo was born.

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Madonna didn't create vogueing. She never claimed to have. But some of the dancers in her iconic 1990 video sure as hell helped popularize the dance, something that was and remains part of the gay subculture. It's worth noting this song was released on the soundtrack to Dick Tracy, a film heavily marketed toward kids. Hell yeah, Madonna. Maybe that's the problem with JoJo's generation? Not enough pop stars borrowed from the gay subculture on major motion picture soundtracks?

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WHAM! / George Michael

The late, great George Michael was not created in a lab to make the perfect pop star but it sure seemed like it. From his original work in the duo WHAM! to the iconic "Freedom! '90," "Faith," and "I Want Your Sex" videos as a solo artist, his work has been a pop radio staple since WHAM's 1984 album Make It Big. Related, the shirts they wear in the "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" video are not pro-life, they were just co-opted by the anti-abortion movement.

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Culture Club / Boy George

If JoJo wants a bit more of a rock feel in her gay pop, how about a group that embraced it from the start? Culture Club is named Culture Club because of their individual members' various ethnic backgrounds and sexual preferences. It's a great name and a good reflection of the music. Their original name, Sex Gang Children, doesn't have the same staying power. It also might not have worked in the early 1980s and definitely not today. Culture Club still works, literally and figuratively.

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Sylvester's 1978 song "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" is timeless. While the disco artist enjoyed moderate success in his life (he passed away in 1988), his influence on all things pop can be heard today. This might be the perfect place for JoJo to start "creating" gay pop. She kinda, sorta has a tie to him already. Sylvester opened for some David Bowie shows on his The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust tour dates. JoJo's new look is heavily inspired by Bowie's Ziggy era.

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Village People

Come on, JoJo, you've heard the Village People before! Everyone knows the Village People! You may think of their music as the soundtrack for stadiums and arenas in between plays, but they're super important to pop music and still together! Since 1977, the cop, Native American, GI, leather man, construction worker, and cowboy have been doing the "YMCA" dance moves in venues and on Pride stages around the world.

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Elton John

I get it, JoJo is young, but she has to know about Elton John, if not his entire life story? She saw Rocketman, didn't she? That movie was a massive hit! Anyways, Elton. Elton is gay pop. There's like 100 great Elton John songs. All are gay pop.

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It's Cher, b---h! We could have gone with a hit from the '90s ("Believe") or '80s ("If I Could Turn Back Time") but we're going with a song from the early '70s because it helps illustrate Cher has been making gay pop longer than most people have been alive. Most people, not just people JoJo's age. Cher is in her seventh (!!!) decade of pop stardom. She just performed at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards with Jennifer Hudson. Seven decades of gay pop!

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Little Richard

What do you think "a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom!" means? One of the foundational tracks of all rock and roll, of all pop music, "Tutti Frutti" is about anal sex. The original lyrics, "Tutti Frutti, good booty / If it’s tight, it’s all right / If it’s greasy, it makes it easy," might not have led to the song's massive success. But with a few tweaks, the song crossed over. The song was added to the Library of Congress National Registry in 2009. It should be taught in schools. All of it.

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Judy Garland

From starring in The Wizard of Oz as a teenager to her funeral taking place on the same day as the Stonewall Riots, Judy Garland was considered a gay icon during her life and the legend has grown ever since. There's a term related to her (Friend of Dorothy), her most iconic song may have partially inspired the rainbow flag, and her own daughter Liza became a fellow gay icon.

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There are hundreds of more artists that JoJo might want to listen to before creating something that has been around for decades. Hell, we didn't even get to David Bowie! We're mentioning this because there's absolutely no shortage of great gay pop. Whether JoJo wants to go in a more Broadway, disco, glam, folk, or punk version of gay pop, there's an artist that's already done it that she might like.

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