We here at UPROXX weren’t planning on posting anything today, instead we planned to spend July 4th frolicking in the water and attending baseball games and drinking beer and eating hot dogs and watching pyrotechnics be discharged in the summer sky — because we’re American and all — but when arguably the highest profile hip-hop/R&B artist to ever come out of the closet does so just as his career is taking off, as UPROXX favorite Frank Ocean did last night while I slept, it certainly warrants a post.
Yes, Ocean, the soulful, mysterious crooner from New Orleans — those who attended school with him in Louisiana (he went to high school at John Ehret and college at UNO and ULL) remember him as Christopher “Lonny” Breaux — posted a letter to his Tumblr last night after some had speculated that he might be gay due to the fact that he refers to a “him” instead of a “her” in the some of the songs on his upcoming new album. Prior to posting the letter, the breakout star of the Odd Future contingent referenced Lil B. in a post foreshadowing what was about to come.
“BasedGod was right…we’re all a bunch of golden million dollar babies,” Ocean wrote. “my hope is that the babies born these days will inherit less of the bullshit than we did. anyhow, what i’m about to post is for anyone who cares to read. it was intended to fill the thank you’s section in my album credits, but with all the rumors going round.. i figured it’d be good to clarify.”
Here’s the emotional, heartfelt letter in its entirety…
Whoever you are. Wherever you are… I’m starting to think we’re a lot alike. Human beings spinning on blackness. All wanting to be seen, touched, heard, paid attention to. My loved ones are everything to me here. In the last year or 3 I’ve screamed at my creator, screamed at clouds in the sky, for some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like manna somehow. 4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence…until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love. It would change my life. Back then my mind would wander to the women I had been with, the ones I cared for and thought I was in love with. I reminisced about the sentimental songs I enjoyed when I was a teenager. The ones I played when I experienced a girlfriend too quickly. Imagine being thrown from a plane. I wasn’t in a plane though. I was in a Nissan Maxima, the same car I packed up with bags and drove to Los Angeles in. I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for then. Knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same. He had to go back inside soon. It was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs. He wouldn’t tell the truth about his feelings for me for another 3 years. I felt like I’d only imagined reciprocity for years. Now imagine being thrown from a cliff. No, I wasn’t on a cliff. I was still in my car telling myself it was gonna be find and to take deep breaths. I took the breaths and carried on. I kept up a peculiar friendship with him because I couldn’t imagine keeping up my life without him. I struggled to master myself and my emotions. I wasn’t always successful.
The dance went on. I kept the rhythm for several summers after. It’s winter now. I’m typing this on a plane back to Los Angeles from New Orleans. I flew home for another marred Christmas. I have a windowseat. It’s December 27, 2011. By now I’ve written two albums. This being the second. I wrote to keep myself busy and sane. I wanted to create worlds that were rosier than mine. I tried to channel overwhelming emotions. I’m surprise at how far all of it has taken me. Before writing this I’d told some people my story. I’m sure these people kept me alive, kept me safe. Sincerely, these are the folks I wanna thank from the floor of my heart. Everyone of you knows who you are. Great humans, probably angels. I don’t know what happens now. And that’s alrite. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore. There’s probably some small shit still, but you know what I mean. I was never alone, as much as it felt like it. As much as I still do sometimes. I never was. I don’t think I ever could be. Thanks. To my first love, I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even thought it wasn’t what I hoped for and even thought it was never enough, it was. Some things never are. And we were. I won’t forget you. I won’t forget the summer. I’ll remember who I was when I met you. I’ll remember who you were and how we’ve both changed and stayed the same. I’ve never had more respect for life and living than I have right now. Maybe it takes a near death experience to feel alive. Thanks. To my mother. You raised me strong. I know I’m only brave because you were first. So thank you. All of you. For everything good. I feel like a free man. If I listen closely, I can hear the sky falling too.
This, my friends, is a game-changer. Frank Ocean will go down as a revolutionary figure in the history of music, and perhaps even in the history of America.
Frankly though, while I honestly didn’t see Ocean being gay coming from a mile away, it doesn’t surprise me that he’d reveal his sexuality so fearlessly — Ocean has always struck me as being something completely different, a deeply introspective 23 year-old with a wise old soul who isn’t afraid to buck conventional wisdom and take risks. You can feel it in his music and you certainly get that impression if you follow him on Twitter or Tumblr and pay close enough attention. He’s just so very refreshingly different.
Finally, a personal note to Frank Ocean: Those of us from Louisiana, especially the people of New Orleans, are proud as hell to call you one of us, Frank. Well done, my friend. Well done.
(Pic via Frank Ocean’s Tumblr)