Look, I know that just talked about how annoyed I was that Anderson Cooper had to come out of the closet as a gay man. But R&B singer, and my current celebrity crush, Frank Ocean’s coming out was something that absolutely needed to happen.
In case you’re not a hip-hop fan or a hipster, you probably have never come across Frank Ocean. As you’ve probably guessed, he’s a hipster level popular R&B singer who is a part of the alt. hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA). Think of him like Ne-Yo or Kanye West, before their debut albums.
Ocean’s admission of having same-sex sexual attraction is the very first notable coming out in story in the hip-hop world. It’s also the best coming out that I’ve ever seen.
On the morning of July 4, Ocean posted an open letter on his Tumblr page, which revealed that his first love was a man.
“4 summers ago, I met somebody,” Ocean wrote. “I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Every day almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile."
Reading the letter hit me right in the feels. It’s so sweet, so genuine. It’s so… normal. It is exactly what I needed a decade ago.
By all accounts, Hip-hop and Black-American culture are hellish places for gay boys; homophobia is rampant and there are very few “safe places.” Then, when you consider the lack of education, role models and the insular nature of the culture, it paints a pretty bleak image. But out of all of that, it’s the lack of positive role models that I feel does the most damage.
I can tell you from personal experience that being black and gay is one of the most trying cultural experiences around. Growing up, there were absolutely zero positive, normal gay role models in media for me to follow. Back then, I clung to any positive image of gay life I could find. Unfortunately, those images were always gym bunny, primped, 20-something white guys from some city a thousand miles away. It sucked.
At 24, I’m past the age were people usually look for role models, especially from someone who’s the same age. But there is still some part of me that feels incredibly proud to see this young, black guy, in the start of his career, being open and honest about his sexuality. It’s refreshing.
I have known for a long time that we are in the final throws of this gay rights battle. But every now and then, there’s a moment where the progress hits you. This is one of those times.
Thanks Frank for being your authentic self. Thank you for being the first of your kind. Thank you for helping the little, scared gay boy in me feel like he’s always wanted to feel.
Considering the previous post, I should acknowledge that he never said that he was gay. In fact, I don’t think he’s gay. It’s my opinion that he’s probably bi or just open, which is enough. A little ambiguity is good.
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