Here’s a piece of vital information for your everyday life: You don’t have to like Frank Ocean. You really, really don’t. If you pop in his latest release, spend a few minutes listening to it, and then say “man, this is not my jam,” that’s your prerogative. Will people on Twitter be angry that you’re not in love with the latest BIG RECORD THAT’S GOING TO CHANGE EVERYTHING? Sure, but if it’s not your cup of tea, it’s not your cup of tea. All good, friend.
Well, except, wait, there’s one problem with not liking the new Frank Ocean joint. If you don’t like it because the singer’s not explicitly heterosexual, then yeah, you’re being homophobic. There’s really no question about that. Because at that point you’re not rejecting Ocean for his music — a valid choice that’s based on your subjective judgment of artistic merit — but reducing his artistic output to his sexuality. And you know what? That’s not okay.
This isn’t a theoretical discussion, either. If you’ve been following social media reactions to the new album (is it #blond or #blonde?), then you know that there have been a lot of “I’m not a homophobe” posts that immediately make it clear that the person writing them has, at the very least, a homophobic bent they’ve completely shut off from exploring because it doesn’t jibe with their perception of themselves. Here’s a selection:
One of today’s biggest misconceptions — in an age where many people feel that the LGBT community has already achieved full equality — is that being homophobic means being actively against the LGBT community. But just because you’re not out there throwing things at people marching in Pride parades doesn’t mean you’re exempt from being labeled a homophobe. Because being homophobic isn’t just about hate and violence, it’s also about discriminating against people just because they’re gay.