Just before the release of his debut album channel ORANGE, Frank Ocean posted a letter on his official website announcing to the world that he is a gay man. Today, we hear from Frank again about his coming out in a new interview with The Guardian. Despite the fact that some believe Ocean’s coming out was timed to generate hype for his album, Frank makes clear that he decided to come out for his own “sanity”. Thoughtful and well-spoken as ever, Ocean candidly explains the reasons for his coming out … which you can read below.
Frank Ocean has said that his decision to open up about his sexuality was “about my own sanity and my ability to feel like I’m living a life where … I’m happy when I wake up in the morning, and not with this freakin’ boulder on my chest.” In an exclusive interview to be published in the Guardian Guide on Saturday, the 24-year old R&B singer also identifies an element of altruism in his decision. “I wished at 13 there was somebody I looked up to who would have said something like that, who would have been transparent in that way,” he said. Ocean’s comments follow on from his Tumblr post, in which he talked about falling in love for the first time with a man, and the release of his critically acclaimed album Channel Orange. He said that his open letter was written in December 2011 with a view to include it in the album sleeve notes in order to pre-empt speculation that might arise from some of its songs addressing men. “I knew that I was writing in a way that people would ask questions,” he said. “I knew that my star was rising, and I knew that if I waited I would always have somebody that I respected be able to encourage me to wait longer, to not say it till who knows when.” The Odd Future member also downplayed the risk in his coming out. “People are just afraid of things too much … Sure, evil exists, extremism exists. Somebody could commit a hate crime and hurt me. But they could do the same just because I’m black. They could do the same just because I’m American.”
Can I just say that, other than his incredible music talent, I just really love Frank Ocean for his impressive intelligence. The man is a wordsmith, it is a pleasure just to hear him speak or read his words. As much as I would love to laud him as a champion of the GLBT community, that is not where his value lies. He is a champion of music and art first. I’ve been saying this all along, Frank Ocean reminds me so much of Prince when he first came on the music scene. Of course, there are some differences but there are so many echoes of the brilliant splash Prince made with his music in what Frank Ocean is doing today. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if Ocean has the ability to enjoy a long-lasting career but he definitely has the talent to go very, very far. As for this interview, I am very glad that Frank continues to share himself with the world in this way. I have no doubt that his actions have already had a positive effect on others. He’s just doing this thing … and he’s doing it very well.