The singer and songwriter Frank Ocean, whose first full-length studio album, Channel Orangewill be released on July At first, however, few observers agreed on what he'd done. Headlines varied on quickly assembled gossip reports, from the measured to the hyperbolic.
My First Love Was a Man.
Ocean did not use the word "gay," nor is he a rapper, nor would he be the first gay rapper if either of those labels applied. The website added the
Frank ocean letter about sexuality "Famous" to its headline
Frank ocean letter about sexuality, qualifying its exaggerations somewhat. Ocean's act was this: They start with a declaration of empathy — "Whoever you are, whatever you are I'm starting to think we're a lot alike" — and proceeds to tell of the now year-old native Louisianan's first romance at 19, with a male friend who apparently reciprocated on some level, but refused Ocean's ultimate attempt to name their love.
Ocean unfolds his confession in a poetic but reserved manner, Frank ocean letter about sexuality his former heart's companion one last thing: I won't forget you.
I won't forget the summer. I'll remember who I was when I met you. Locating the intimate exchange in time and space, grounding it in lovely, painful detail "He patted my back. He said nice things," Ocean writes of the moment his friend rejected himthis brief window into a summer place matters on a few levels.
It is a kind of coming out: Los Angeles Times music writer Gerrick D. Kennedy called it "the glass ceiling moment for music. Especially black music, which has long been in desperate need of a voice like Ocean's to break the layers of homophobia. There is another reason why Ocean can't be saddled with an easy label, and it points to an interesting aspect of his newly minted self-conception. In his note, instead of embracing an identity, Ocean shared a set of memories and explored complex feelings, just as he does in his songs.
Unlike the standard coming out gesture — newsman Anderson Cooper's public email to his friend Andrew Sullivan, "The fact is, I'm gay" — Ocean's presented sexuality as something that arises within particular circumstances, defined by shifting desire and individual Frank ocean letter about sexuality rather than solidifying as an identity. In the age-old debate about whether sexuality emerges as something we are or through something we want or do, Ocean carefully rested on the side of feeling and deed.
I'll leave it to others to debate whether Frank ocean letter about sexuality way of expressing his sexuality goes far enough. So far, the response online has been overwhelmingly positive. What's for sure is that it fits neatly within the ongoing evolution of popular music. Pop artists have celebrated sexuality as fluid and dynamic for at least a century. David Bowie 's strategic polymorphous perversity could help rocket him to stardom partly because so many other rockers, from Mick Jagger to Janis Joplin to Lou Reed, played around with expanding visions of and love.
Ocean's public statement about having loved a man definitely contributes to the cause of greater visibility for LGBTQ artists and people; but in his music, he's not so much pioneering as finding his place in a rich, if far from simple, history.
There is a lineage of African American artists who've presented broader definitions of sexuality through their songs and their public personalities, as well, though homophobia has certainly kept many more from living fully honest lives.
Scholars and journalists are doing much to uncover their stories. Gospel music authority Anthony Heilbut's newly published book of essays discusses the impact of " the gay men of gospel ," from key musical architects like James Cleveland to crossover figures like Bayard Rustin.
Kelefa Sanneh's New
Frank ocean letter about sexuality profile of the gospel artist Tonex explores how homophobia can impact an artist within that community. David Hajdu's biography of Duke Ellington 's collaborator Billy Strayhorn shows how the lyricist's life as one of the few openly gay men in mid-century jazz helped shape classic songs like " Lush Life.
The events of the past few days reflect the more difficult side of this story, too. In the fantasy space of performance, artists have often been able to articulate what they otherwise feel they must hide. Ocean's statement is a kind performance; certainly it's a creative work. By telling a tale that also reflects the more problematic side "Frank ocean letter about sexuality" "fluid" sexuality, the side that's about denial and taking refuge in more conventional heterosexual relationships, Ocean reflects on a much-discussed experience within African American communities and avoids the kind of grandstanding that might put off some fans.
Like The New York Times critic Jon Caramanicawhose eloquent profile of Ocean appeared just as this news was breaking, I thought Ocean might Frank ocean letter about sexuality be playing with characters when I first heard his songs using male pronouns.
In a sense, he is — but in the same way that anyone on the down low does. The character you create may be your own tragically false self. Right now, a new generation is figuring out how to negotiate identity's relationship to desire within music.
So far, tolerance seems to be winning over silence and secrecy. Though the " No Homo " meme in rap tipped the discussion toward adolescent game playing and bigotry, even in stubbornly straight pop scenes, the trend is toward compassion. We can thank Frank Ocean, not only for Frank ocean letter about sexuality a public statement that sweeps aside shadows and offers young fans another powerfully vulnerable star to admire and emulate, but for reminding us that while proudly declaring an identity can be a politically crucial gesture, often the human heart is not so sure-footed.
The process of becoming and unbecoming, loving and losing, is what often makes for the most meaningful art. Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. The Record An expression of fluid personal experience rather than a defining statement about identity, the singer's announcement fits just fine within the history of ground-breaking, image-busting musicians. Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. July 5, 2: Early this morning (July 4), Frank Ocean took to his Tumblr to post a personal statement in which he opens up about his sexuality.
In the piece. Frank Ocean is making a brave move. Following rumors about his sexuality, the “ Novacane” singer has penned a “coming out” letter, in which. Frank Ocean writes an open letter Frank ocean letter about sexuality discuss his first love, revealing that it was with a guy.
Recently there have been rumors circulating Frank.