While many of us slept, Frank Ocean took the early morning hours of Independence Day to make a statement about his sexuality. On Monday, rumors began swirling that several of the songs from the singer’s upcoming album Channel Orange featured him referencing love and relationships using the pronoun “him” and “he” over the usual male-female dynamic found in music. Addressing it all head-on, Ocean released two, lengthy updates originally intended to be included in his liner notes through his Tumblr page. In his own words, the singer “figured it’d be good to clarify” and opens up about his experiences with loving another man (“4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too.”) and the journey to acceptance.
Where does it all leave us? Well, Frank Ocean has just trolled every homophobe in America by revealing that they’ve possibly been singing along to gay love for the better part of the last two years. For anyone who’s not homophobic, nothing’s changed unless they want it to. Do listeners have to “agree” with “his lifestyle”? Not really. Does it change how they should listen to the music? Not really.
Looking back, urban music’s had its share of openly gay and suspected closeted singers – Little Richard, Luther, Freddie Jackson, Prince*, Meshell Ndegeocello – who found critical and chart success. While his written admission does come as more of a shock** than Anderson Cooper’s coming-out-note earlier in the week, his listeners will be fine once they adjust a bit. At the end of the day, the young singer’s far too talented for his sexuality to be a focal point and much of that’s to his credit. Ocean’s been guarded and limited in his interaction with the media, so much of what fans have to base their perceptions on is his music. Right now, many would agree that his work stands head and shoulders above any other artist in R&B and the anticipation for Channel Orange is already high***. Fortunately, we don’t see that changing any time soon.
Read both of Ocean’s statements in full below.
And not for nothing, but Tyler’s show of support for his OFWGKTA brother was quite the kneeslapper.
Fucking Finally Sus Boy @frank_ocean Hahahaha, You Still Aint Got No Bitches Hahaha My Nigga Dawg
— Tyler, The Creator (@fucktyler) July 4, 2012
My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im A Toilet.
— Tyler, The Creator (@fucktyler) July 4, 2012
“BASEDGOD WAS RIGHT. we’re all a bunch of golden million dollar babies. 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…”
“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 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.”
* – Don’t act like we didn’t suspect that little sexual deviant’s pendulum swings both ways.
** — Fat Joe did warn everybody though.
*** — Do you realize the news comes two weeks before the project drops? That takes some balls. The gays are going to push the album to first week platinum.