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Sam Smith and Kim Petras make LGBTQ history on Billboard's Hot 100 chart

Kim Petras and Sam Smith perform onstage during the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena in September in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Matt Winkelmeyer
Getty Images for iHeartRadio
Kim Petras and Sam Smith perform onstage during the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena in September in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sam Smith and Kim Petras became the first openly non-binary solo artist and first openly transgender solo artist, respectively, to ascend to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 song chart.

Their song "Unholy" debuted at No. 3 on Oct. 8 and spent two weeks at No. 2 before surpassing Steve Lacy's "Bad Habit" on Monday. The song earned both artists their first No. 1 spot on the Hot 100, with Smith's "Stay with Me" reaching No. 2 in 2014.

"I just really don't want to be the last," Petras told Billboard last week about her then-No. 2 spot on the Hot 100 chart. "There's always been incredible and talented trans artists."

She pointed to trans artist SOPHIE, who helped usher in a new era of electronic pop music, and others such as Amanda Lear and Ayesha Erotica who she looked up to.

"That same story just keeps repeating over and over for trans girls who have been making exceptional music and have been pushed under the rug while someone else takes credit from them," she said. "I'm just happy that Sam gave me the chance to shine here. I hope I can help break the cycle — it feels like people are finally ready for us to succeed, and that fills me with a lot of joy."

"Unholy" is the German artist's first entry on the Hot 100. Petras has also toured with Camila Cabello, Charli XCX, and Rita Ora.

Smith has had six other songs reach the top 10 on the Hot 100 chart, including "Too Good at Goodbyes," "I'm Not the Only One," and "Dancing with a Stranger" with Normani.

Songs on the Billboard's Hot 100 chart are determined based on a mixture of data including streaming, sales, and radio airplay.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ashley Ahn
Ashley Ahn is an intern for the Digital News and Graphics desks. She previously covered the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for CNN's health and medical unit and the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's killers for CNN's Atlanta News Bureau. She also wrote pieces for USA TODAY and served as the Executive Editor of her college's student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. Recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Ahn is pursuing a master's degree in computer science at Columbia University.

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