Popular R&B Star Frank Ocean Comes Out

Frank Ocean, a popular singer who's done hooks on Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch theThrone​, has written a lengthy Tumblr post about falling in love for the first time, with a man. It's a sweet tale, not sensational or defensive, and amplified by his tremendous writing talent:

I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, 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 me 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 fine and to take deep breaths. I took the breaths and carried on. 

Though he doesn't explicitly say whether he's bisexual or gay, it's a courageous move in a hip-hop subculture that has earned a reputation for often virulent homophobia. A monumental move, actually, considering the bravado and masculinism that pervades rap music and related genres. Syd da Kyd, Ocean's crewmate in the Los Angeles ensemble Odd Future, is an out lesbian, but beyond her there are no famous out stars in R&B and hip-hop. Ocean will release his debut album for Def Jam, Channel Orange, on July 17; I heard it a few weeks ago and my shorthand review is that I kept wondering if I was feeling the same way people felt the first time they heard Purple Rain or Hot Buttered Soul. I believe it is one of those albums that will not only change music, but change culture. Clearly, he's already doing so. 

Here's the video for one of his best songs, "Swim Good":


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at July 4, 2012, 7:53am

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