It is a Happy Independence Day for R&B singer Frank Ocean, of the music collective Odd Future, because today he is celebrating the freedom to be himself by coming out publicly as a gay man. Last night, Ocean posted a poignant and poetic letter on his official website making very clear that he is a gay man. Other outlets are suggesting Ocean’s letter shows him to be bisexual but that is not at all the interpretation that I get from the letter. Like many gay men, Ocean tried to have romantic relationships with women (in order to try and fit in with convention) but, as his letter makes clear, those relationships were not fulfilling … not like the first love he felt for another man. Just because he attempted relationships with women does not, necessarily, make him bisexual. Click below to learn more about Frank Ocean’s brave coming out and read the text of his beautiful letter in full.
Ocean writes in part:
In the last year or 3 I’ve screamed at my creator, screamed at the clouds in the sky, for some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like manna somehow. 4 summer ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost… 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.
He continues “I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore… Thanks to my first love, I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even though it wasn’t what I hoped for and even though it was never enough, it was… I feel like a free man. If I listen closely… I can hear the sky falling too.” The news comes just days after a review of Ocean’s upcoming “Orange Channel” album claimed the singer “[opens] up about his sexuality on the album” and noted that “…on the songs ‘Bad Religion’ ‘Pink Matter and ‘Forrest Gump’ you can hear him sing about being in love and there are quite obvious words used like ‘him’ and not ‘her’.”
It’s important to note that the grossly homophobic rapper Tyler the Creator is also a member of Odd Future but unlike the previous ugliness that he has publicly espoused, Tyler (in his own crass way) is lending his support and love to Ocean in the wake of his coming out. Tyler the Creator tweeted:
Fucking Finally Sus Boy @frank_ocean Hahahaha, You Still Aint Got No Bitches Hahaha My Ni**a Dawg / OFWGKTA. / My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That Ni**a Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im A Toilet. / AY BITCHES, IMA START SINGING SO LIKE, ALL OF FRANKS BITCHES CAN YOU COME OVER HERE AND LIKE HOLLA AT YA BOY
It may be difficult to decipher but Tyler is, first, joking around with Frank by saying — now that he has come out — that he no longer has any women. Tyler says he is proud of his big brother Frank for coming out because it’s not easy to do. Tyler then tells all the women out there who love Frank Ocean the singer that he is going to start “singing like Frank” so that they can love him instead. He sounds like a swell guy, don’t he? Honestly, this doesn’t make me a Tyler the Creator fan but at the very least, I am impressed that he is offering his own brand of support to his friend.
Again, while some people may respond to Frank’s coming out with a resounding “who cares”, I feel that the more people who come out and the more those coming outs are considered non-issues, the less need there will be for coming out in the first place. Ocean’s coming out is significant because there aren’t many African American artists out there brave enough to come out as gay. I’m very happy that Frank finally felt ready to come out (tho, I understand this letter was originally meant to be published in the liner notes of Ocean’s forthcoming debut album Channel Orange but after a UK blogger threatened to out him, he decided to release the letter in this way, on his own terms). I am so impressed by the poetic nature of Ocean’s writing, I’m now very interested in checking out his music. I’m not sure if his coming out with win him new fans like myself but at least he can rest in the knowledge that he no longer has to hide who he is … he is now free.0