Dotty: 'The Perfect Pride Soundtrack Is About Overcoming Challenges And Loving Loudly'

The Apple Music host shares the TV moments that made her feel seen and her "revelatory" Pride memories.

After rising up the British music scene under her Amplify Dot moniker, many will now best know Dotty for her work as a presenter, having been one of BBC 1Xtra’s staple presenters between 2014 and 2020.

Last year, she joined the ranks at Apple Music 1, where she’s also Lead Cultural Curator of Black music in the UK, and last year released her first book.

As part of HuffPost UK’s Over The Rainbow series, she shared her memories of her “revelatory” first time attending Black Pride over a decade ago and explained why loving Beyoncé is the “queer cliché I’m very proud to embrace”.

What is your favourite Pride memory?

My first Black Pride in 2008 was a revelation. To be surrounded by people who lived, loved and looked like me was quite life affirming. I remember seeing a sea of joyful Black queer faces raving to bashment music and revelling in our shared freedom. That communal experience, although so big in scale, was so profoundly intimate.

I’ve always loved that feeling of a shared Black experience, especially when sun and music are the backdrop. It’s the reason I love family barbecues and Notting Hill Carnival. Black Pride really captures that essence in such a joyous way.

Dotty pictured in 2019
Dotty pictured in 2019
Ian West - PA Images via Getty Images

Who is your ultimate LGBTQ hero?

Audre Lorde. She was a radical thinker, a ground-breaker, a table shaker. The kind of revolutionary mind that comes along only a few times in a generation. Her belief system transcended sexuality, which meant her purpose extended far beyond the lesbian experience, arming Black people with words of affirmation that spoke to our collective experiences.

I urge anyone who hasn’t read Lorde’s work to familiarise themselves with her timeless perspectives on life.

Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde
Jack Mitchell via Getty Images

What is your go-to Pride anthem?

Beyoncé’s Love On Top. Loving Beyoncé is perhaps my favourite queer cliché and one that I’m very proud to embrace. This song in particular is the perfect Pride soundtrack. A song about perseverance in love. About overcoming challenges, putting the work in and loving loudly.

What is your favourite LGBTQ film?

I speak a lot about Black joy because for me it’s so important that we be seen for our exuberance, our vitality, our happiness.

Moonlight took on the challenging and complex idea of Black masculinity and homosexuality and managed to infuse it with love and joy. It was cinematic, visually indulgent, a real thing of beauty. It is truly one of the most perfect films I’ve ever seen.

Jharrel Jerome and Ashton Sanders in Moonlight
Jharrel Jerome and Ashton Sanders in Moonlight
David Bornfriend/Kobal/Shutterstock

What was an LGBTQ TV show or TV moment that made you feel represented?

The L Word as a whole was very powerful as it centred queer people, women in particular, without caring too much about the straight gaze. It was the first time I’d ever seen women who loved women on TV.

Then when they finally introduced a central Black character in season four, a military officer called Tasha, I felt as though I was at last seeing my experience reflected back at me on screen.

Leisha Hailey and Rose Rollins as Alice and Tasha in The L Word
Leisha Hailey and Rose Rollins as Alice and Tasha in The L Word

Who would be your ultimate queer icon?

Lena Waithe. She is a force in the entertainment business. A multi-hyphenate who can act, write, produce. She is the first Black masculine presenting lesbian I have seen thriving in Hollywood on this scale and I think her achievements to date are incredibly inspiring.

Lena Waithe at the Met Gala in 2018
Lena Waithe at the Met Gala in 2018
Matt Baron/Shutterstock

What is your message for young LGBTQ people this Pride month?

It can feel at times as though our every move is politicised. As though we are in a constant protest to prove our right to live and love as we choose. But don’t be weighed down by that. Protect your peace and preserve your joy. Sometimes simply existing unapologetically is as radical as you need to be.

The Dotty Show airs Monday-Thursday 3-5pm and The Agenda Radio airs every Friday at 2-3pm on Apple Music 1. Tune in live for free or on-demand with an Apple Music subscription here.

Apple Music is celebrating Pride all month and throughout the year on a dedicated page which can be found here.


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