Who Is Dua Saleh? The Sex Education Star Has Bops You Need to Add on Spotify ASAP

The third season of Netflix's highly anticipated teen comedy Sex Education is almost here, and it's bringing some new cast members with it. One of these newcomers is singer-songwriter Dua Saleh, who is set to play Cal, a nonbinary student at Moordale Secondary School. One of Saleh's recent Instagram teasers shows Cal not participating in a promotional video for Moordale, and we have a sneaking suspicion it means they're going to shake up the school.

Although this role will serve as Saleh's acting debut, they're already a star on the rise with a growing music career and a few EPs under their belt. They're passionate about using their platform to raise awareness about sociopolitical issues, and like their character Cal, Saleh is also nonbinary and often advocates for trans and queer Black people through their craft. Scroll through the slideshow to learn more about Saleh and the work they've done.


They Have a Few EPs Available Right Now

Get ready to sync up your Spotify playlist, because Dua Saleh has their own EP titled Nur. The five-track project was produced by Psymun, who's worked with talents like Future, Young Thug, Juice WRLD, and more. Nur, which means "light" in Arabic, serves as an homage to Saleh's Sudanese and Muslim background. However, Saleh told Hypebeast that "it also acts as a gender neutral name in most Muslim communities."

Saleh further spoke on this topic, saying, "The gender transience of the name is liberating for someone like me who falls outside of traditional gender experiences." They also released a 2020 EP titled Rosetta after Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who is often hailed as the "godmother of rock 'n' roll."


They Used to Be a Youth Organizer in Minnesota

Having lived in both St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota, Saleh often participated in demonstrations in these neighborhoods. In 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, they took part in many rallies in Minnesota. Their passion for social justice impacts their work and music. In 2020, they released a song titled "Body Cast," which discusses police brutality. Saleh used the song as an opportunity to raise funds for Women For Political Change, an organization that works with "young women and trans and non-binary individuals throughout Minnesota."

"I was formerly an organizer — I feel like I'm trying my hardest to get back to the movement in the best ways I can as an artist, and what I have to offer are hypervisibility and funds," Saleh said in an interview with Paper magazine.

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Lucifer LaBelle Is Saleh's Alter Ego

Saleh created a new identity named Lucifer LaBelle for their single "Hellbound." The name was inspired by Lucifer and singer/actress Patti LaBelle. After constantly being told "they were going to hell for being queer," Saleh created Lucifer LaBelle in an effort to take back power by mocking and criticizing the institutions that have oppressed them and their peers.

"Religious institutions have targeted my people, trans and queer Black people, but those religious institutions and the people within them have practiced violence," Saleh explained to Paper.

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One of Their Poetry Readings Went Viral

Saleh told Them that they wrote poems in college to make money and participated in poetry slams. In fact, one of their live poetry readings through the Button Poetry platform received over 200,000 views! Eventually, their poems morphed into songwriting sessions.

"I think one person saw me perform a song at a poetry slam and booked me for an event," Saleh told Them. "I was like, 'Hm, maybe I can make some money off of this,' which is terrible to think about it in that way."


They Love Anime and Manga

Saleh once tweeted, "all I ever really wanna do is binge watch anime and eat beef jerky," and honestly, same. They are a huge fan of the genre and have even woven it into music videos such as "Hellbound," which includes footage from the anime Devilman Crybaby.

"A lot of the queer and trans kids I knew would use anime and manga as escapism," Saleh told DJ Booth. "They would find characters that emulate a presence they want to give off to the world. I'm generally talking about kids but also specifically about myself."


They Believe a Scorpion Might've Fueled Their Creativity

If a spider can make Peter Parker a superhero, then a scorpion can turn Saleh into one of the biggest superstars to ever grace the Earth! Saleh told Paper they were stung by a scorpion when they were 3 years old, which they jokingly felt awakened their inner artist. "The dramatic, theatrical part of me is probably being fueled by that scorpion," Saleh said.