The Ocean In The Room

Over the fourth of July holiday, R&B singer/Odd Future member Frank Ocean opened up about his sexuality in the midst of rumors circulating by different critics and writers who’d gotten a first listen at Frank’s new upcoming album, Channel Orange Mr. Ocean took too his tumblr and released a letter he had written one a plane trip from New Orleans to Los Angeles in which he chronicles his first love being with a man at the age of 19 who didn’t feel the same. Now, a few things circulated my mind upon reading this: 1.) This sounds a lot like what I went through with a girl I fell in love with last summer (that’s a whole other story) 2.) This is a really eloquent letter and a real reminder why I love this guy’s music and 3.) Did he type this on Microsoft word 97 or did he use some remaining AOL hours to put this together. I know that the big issue here is: what does this revelation mean for Frank and for his career, but honestly I don’t see that as a very serious issue. Yes, there will be people who will stop listening to him and will even attack him when given the chance but in 2012 those people don’t really make a big impact with an artist like Frank. Let’s not forget, this isn’t Trey Songz or Tyrese we’re talking about; this is a guy who makes experimental R&B music that mostly appeals to a niche (and mostly progressive minded) hipster circuit, like the rest of odd future, who just happened to catch fire with a more pop friendly crowd. Frank’s career will be alright. The other thing is, what does this mean for the Rap/R&B network? Which, as you may already know, has a stronger tendency towards homophobia and have been populated throughout the years with people who stayed in the closet and led double lives. I honestly don’t know what it means, it’s a little presumptuous to think that this could lead to a tidal wave of rappers and R&B artists coming out of the closet. The one major thing that race and the gay lifestyle have in common is that they’ll always be looked at as the elephant’s in a room, the issue people would rather keep out of discourse and pretend isn’t an issue. And it’s because of this problem that an issue that should be greeted with a shrug by everyone in this day and age is instead of topic of dissection and discourse. Frank Ocean isn’t suddenly an activist because he shared this secret with us; hell, he hasn’t even technically said he was gay or bisexual or whatever. He’s just a guy with something to get off his chest before he could sore free. Our need to place things in a box and label them is what’s really taking place right now, and it’s sad that is has to be that way. Sure, we can go off on the whole religion argument but that’s not my place, nor is it yours; the only person who needs to worry about Frank is Frank. And that’s the way it should be.

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