Without a doubt I think it’s fantastic Frank Ocean came out on his own terms. It was a huge risk, especially being a black male in such a macho music scene. But with such a public announcement, one that in today’s age, cannot be simply removed or deleted, it’s been interesting to note the immediate reaction of this action.
I think today, we’re at a point in our society where publicly defaming someone who has taken such a hard step to express themselves would in and of itself look bad. We hold celebrities and public figures up to a high standard, regardless of how we feel about them, and if we were to see a hip-hop artist completely not be ok with Ocean’s announcement…the backlash and reaction would be much worse. So, it’s pretty interesting to see the shifting of opinion on this subject.
But, Frank Ocean’s tumblr post was also pretty benign. He never outwardly said he was a homosexual male, listing relevant traits and experiences. And this is what I value most. Instead of contacting Out Magazine to be on their cover, have a 4-page spread, do the daytime television circuit, he simply expressed a hard moment in his life to millions of people without once labeling himself. This is a huge step for society whether we realize it or not.
Homosexuality (and bisexuality/etc/etc) has reached an almost a normal level in our lives. Sure, Ocean may see protests and some other hate down the line, but the fact that millions of people are pouring out their support truly means something. I also find it a little much that celebrities are clawing at each other to publicly show their support as well. It shouldn’t be a status symbol of being accepting of gay people, but perhaps that’s a media coverage issue in itself.
Anyways, I think it’s important to take awareness of all sides of the spectrum’s reaction. To me, it’s no big deal what Ocean declares he is or isn’t but to others, it could be. I value that he didn’t use labels, but some may be upset over that simple fact. I do want to say that after hearing a couple of tracks from Channel Orange, I’m more or less a born again believer. I just could not get into his mixtape but this new album? It’s quite fantastic. So regardless of his public statements, however you’d like to take them, at least give this album a chance.