Tag Archive | Frank Ocean

LA Complex Gay Storyline Second Season Finale: Kal’s Father Dies He Has A Frank Ocean Moment Comes Out On The Internet.

Sometimes I wonder, if the writers of the LA Complex are prescient? After all, the hip hop artist Frank Ocean came out of the closet in July and now the gay rapper Kaldrick King comes out on the internet in the season finale. I was moved by Kaldrick’s letter he wanted to tell his father about his struggles with his homosexuality. After Kaldrick’s father dies,he realizes that he needs to live his life on his own terms and not worry about what other people think. Kakdrick finally acknowledges he is gay and he took the brave step to coming out to his fans online.

It is going to be interesting to see if there are ramifications and any fallout after Kaldrick comes out.

Are Kaldrick’s fans going to support him not that he declares he is a homosexual?

I feel that Kaldrick’s new boyfriend Chris is attractive and also very mature and thoughtful. However, I am not convinced that Kaldrick and Chris have the emotional and physical chemistry that they are in love. I sense that Chris is actually like another father figure to Kaldrick he is like a gay mentor to him showing him that is okay for a black man to be gay. I like the Chris because he is a positive representation of a gay black man he is a successful lawyer, and he is comfortable with his homosexuality. I am just not sold that Kaldrick and Chris are in love with each other.

At least the fictional character Kaldrick King is not stringing his fans along any longer pretending to be heterosexual when he knows he is a gay black man.

However, it is important to point out in the real world, a male rap artist with a high profile has never come out of the closet. Frank Ocean is a R&B singer he is not a rapper. In addition, unlike Frank Ocean, at least Kaldrick King is resolute that he is indeed homosexual. Frank Ocean recently released a music video called Pyramids about a female stripper. I don’t want to sound cynical, but I wonder if Frank Ocean’s coming out is simply a carefully planned publicity stunt? One argument is, Frank Ocean does not need to label his sexual orientation.

Another point to consider, politically correct people will state that we should not label other people but the truth is human beings do label each other. We utilize labels to identify, categorize, and it is a method to understanding each other. Is Frank Ocean gay, or bisexual? I believe Frank Ocean refuses to take on the gay label because he and his PR team probably feel it will stigmatize him and place him into a corner. Frank Ocean and his record company can claim he is a progressive queer role model because he came out of the closet.

Yes, it was a bold step forward for black gay rights that Frank Ocean a prominent African American musician came out of the closet. However, the ambiguity about the R&B singer’s sexual orientation is a quandary.

The media and the general public are confused about Frank Ocean’s  true sexual orientation. On various media websites, I have read that Frank Ocean is gay and on other websites the writers state he is bisexual. Why hasn’t Frank Ocean made a music video about being in love with another man? Would it be too shocking or too gay for Frank Ocean to declare his love for another male and kiss him in a music video?  Would it shock heterosexual female consumers if Frank Ocean made a music video about having a real passionate love affair with another man?

It is disconcerting that Frank Ocean is only trying to appeal to a heterosexual female market yet ignore his gay male market.

The general public isn’t stupid, Frank Ocean can’t crawl back into the closet he’s out that’s a wrap. Is Frank Ocean going to do what the British actor Luke Evans did come out and then run back into the closet? Luke Evans starred in the Immortals last year and his next major role will be in the Hobbit. Since Evans profile is rising in Hollywood his PR people believe the general public isn’t going to accept him as a gay male action star.

Over a decade ago, Luke Evans came out of the closet to the American gay publication Advocate Magazine  All you need to do is type in Luke Evans and gay in a google search and you will find the article. Evans discussed his propensity to enjoying watching gay porn, his love for men with large penises, and his love for other men.

Fast forward a decade later, now that Luke Evans is being groomed by Hollywood to become an action star he is suddenly in love with women. Evans Wikipedia page is scrubbed clean of any discussion about his homosexuality. It appears Frank Ocean is  also playing a pernicious game, he is blurring the lines of sexuality on purpose which is abhorrent and deleterious.

Frank Ocean certainly isn’t the gay black role model that the mainstream media is painting him to be. A real role model wouldn’t be singing about loving women and making a video about a female stripper.

Frank Ocean decided to come out of the closet and now he must deal with the consequences. He can’t have it both ways playing with various demographic markets. Frank Ocean needs to make it clear to the general public is he gay or bisexual. It is only fair, because it is not enough for Frank Ocean to state he once fell in love with another man. He needs to prove to the general public that he is indeed not playing a pathetic publicity stunt game and declare his love for other men.

At least Kaldrick King isn’t playing games with his audience on the LA Complex. It is disappointing that a fictional character on a television show is more progressive than a real human being who could do so much for black gay rights. Frank Ocean actions are very disappointing because he isn’t as comfortable with his sexuality and his actions prove this to be the case.

Guardian Article: American Soul Legend Stevie Wonder Says Frank Ocean Might Be Confused About His Sexuality.

'I'm no better than the next person' … Stevie Wonder.

‘I’m no better than the next person’ … Stevie Wonder. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe

‘All right, mate?” chirrups Stevie Wonder in a mockney accent last tried by Dick Van Dyke. He is tired, hardly surprising given it is 2.30am where he lives in California, but that doesn’t stop him from acting his usual playful self. Nor does it prevent him from talking at length about his 50-year career, and the events that shaped it.

He’s not one to hold back. Before long, he is vividly remembering the car crash in which he nearly lost his life. It was 1973, and the sedan in which he was travelling careened into a truck. His wounds were severe.

“It was on 6 August that I almost died in that car accident,” he recalls. It was a key date for another reason. “It was also on 6 August – 1988 – that my son Kwame was born. Life is funny.”

Does the crash remain the signal event of his life?

“It is significant,” he replies, and it’s a typical Wonder response, “but I was blessed to come out of it. God gave me life to continue to do things that I would never have done.”

Principal among these was the electrification of modern soul that he effected on his extraordinary series of 70s albums. They have exerted a tremendous influence on musicians, from Michael Jackson and Prince in the 80s to rapper Drake and this year’s most lauded new R&B star, Frank Ocean.

“Yeah, I like Frank,” says Wonder, who sang the hook from Ocean’s No Church In The Wild to the Odd Future sensation when he met him at a party recently. The feeling is mutual: reviews of Ocean’s 2012 album, Channel Orange, drew comparisons with Wonder’s music at its most expansive.

After being consigned to MOR-soul hell following the likes of I Just Called To Say I Loved You, Wonder – who next week headlines Bestival – is hip again. Is there anybody who doesn’t like him?

“Heh,” he chuckles, then pauses. “Well, there are those. But we don’t like to think about that.”

No, Wonder-haters are few. Maybe he’s thinking of his early days. InWhere Did Our Love Go?, a history of Motown, Nelson George noted the jealousy among staffers towards the 12-year-old-genius, even if detractors were soon silenced by his fabulous run of mainly self-penned hits: Uptight (Everything’s Alright)For Once In My LifeMy Cherie Amourand Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

Wonder in the early 60s.Wonder in the early 60s. Photograph: David RedfernIn 1971, he released the transitional Where I’m Coming From, which along with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On was the first serious album from a label accustomed to singles. It was a brave departure from the Motown sound, with forays into psychedelia, baroque pop and folk-inflected soul.

“I had fun doing that album with [ex-wife] Syreeta,” he says. “Berry [Gordy, Motown boss] said: ‘Do your thing.’”

He recalls writing the song If You Really Love Me at the apartment of Laura Nyro, no stranger herself to the startling chord sequence. Fellow Motown songwriter Smokey Robinson, however, was unimpressed with his new direction after he saw Wonder on comedian Flip Wilson’s TV show.

“I got a call from Smokey and he says: ‘I didn’t like your choice of material. I think it’s really ridiculous.’ I said: ‘I don’t give a “uh” what you think, or what anyone thinks!’ That was my growing-up moment at Motown.”

Hooking up with Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff of electronic duoTonto’s Expanding Headband, Wonder pursued a radical synthesised context for his new soul vision. His purple streak continued with 1972′s Music of My Mind and Talking Book, 1973′s Innervisions, 1974′s Fulfillingness’ First Finale, culminating in 1976′s double-LP (plus additional EP) treasure trove Songs In The Key Of Life. With their dazzling melodies and blend of gritty politicised funk and elegant ballads, these albums appealed to rock and soul fans alike.

He overreached himself on 1979′s Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants, a double concept album full of new age noodling, but he redeemed himself, critically and commercially, with 1980′s Hotter Than July. And if his recordings since have been patchily received, there is consensus among music lovers that his golden age lasted longer than anyone’s, Bob Dylan and the Beatles included.

Wonder is adamant that his heyday of exploratory music-making is not over, despite the fact that his last album, A Time to Love,only his fourth LP proper in three decades, was issued in 2005. “I’m still experimenting,” he enthuses. “There’s a new instrument I’m learning to play called theharpejji. It’s between a piano and a guitar. I’m writing really different songs with it – I have so many. The question is, will they outlive me? Time is long but life is short.”

Does Wonder, who has just turned 62, have a growing sense of his mortality? “I don’t feel it,” he says of time’s marching. “I know it for a fact.”

He feels a pressing need to achieve in non-musical spheres, and digresses to discuss gun crime, a subject on which he has been outspoken. “I’m concerned about how accessible guns are,” he says. Is he referring to the “Batman shootings” in Colorado?

“No, I’m talking about in the hood,” he replies. “That [Colorado] was also very sad, but this is an occurrence almost every week in various cities. But no politician wants to confront it. The right to bear arms? What about the right to live?”

Does he fear what happened to John Lennon could happen to him?

“I’ve had threats,” he says, “but I don’t put that energy out there because that’s just craziness.”

Can he feel the same connection to “the street” that he did in the 70s when he penned sociopolitical anthems such as Living For The City?

“Of course,” he exclaims. “I travel and do stuff.”

What’s it like when he and his entourage sweep through town?

“I just focus on what I’m doing,” he says. “If fans take pictures … Every time I think about getting annoyed I remember how blessed I’ve been to have people who have followed my career.”

Is he in touch with the young man who wrote, say, Superstition?

“Oh yeah,” he replies, breezily. “I listen to him. And I make sure I feel the same way still.”

Performing for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, 2007.Performing for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, 2007. Photograph: Stefano PalteraMany of his best-loved songs were Nixon-era rebukes. These days, hesupports the president. What is his view of rappers such as Jay-Z, said to be turning against “B-Rock”?

“Well,” he sighs, striking a rare note of antipathy, “those who have turned against him, it’s because they’re ignorant or it doesn’t serve their own interest, which probably has to do with money. But the reality is, your money is only as good as you’re able to help others with it.”

Even before his accident, when his music was at its most supersonically joyous, Wonder spoke in dread tones of an apocalyptic future, and of the ominous present presaging it. “It’s the last days of life, of beauty,” he declared, referring darkly to “all the horrors and hypocrisy in the world”.

After the crash he became increasingly affirmative. But how do these times compare? Is he more optimistic now?

“I’m always optimistic, but the world isn’t. People need to make a jump to a place of positivity but they put it all on one person to make it happen,” he says. “It takes everybody. And the mindset has to be different. I mean, how do we have, in 2012, racism in the world?”

Did he assume that racism would be obliterated?

“It can’t be obliterated until people confront the demon in the spirit,” he says. No wonder one of his current roles is as a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations.

“You need to put your heart into making a difference,” he says, proposing “an end to poverty, starvation, racism and illiteracy and finding cures for cancer and Aids” as just some of the jobs that need doing.

Doesn’t he wish he could subvert his beatific image? Has the Messenger of Peace ever wanted to punch someone?

“No,” he says patiently, as though to a child who has said something particularly dumb. “When you punch somebody it means you have let your ability to communicate out the gate.”

Wonder mentions “the demon in the spirit”. How has he managed to endure when his revolutionary soul peers – Marvin, Sly Stone, James Brown – succumbed to torment and temptation?

“First of all,” he stresses, “I’m no better than the next person. But I’ve never had a desire to do drugs. When I was 21 I smoked marijuana, and I didn’t like the way it made me feel. When I woke up the next morning I felt like I’d lost part of my brain.”

Wonder has also seen the passing of younger talents: Michael Jackson,Whitney HoustonAmy Winehouse …

“It’s been a heartbreak,” he says. “Obviously I knew Michael.” In 2009 he broke down during a performance of Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel. “I knew Whitney, too, and I understand Amy came to my concert in England a couple of years ago. I was thinking about us doing a duet – an old Marvin and Mary Wells song called Once Upon A Time. It would have been amazing.”

Had he met Winehouse, would he have offered her words of wisdom, or would there have been no point?

“There’s always a point,” he says.

Recording We Are The World with Lionel Richie, Daryl Hall, Quincy Jones and Paul Simon, 1985.Recording We Are The World with Lionel Richie, Daryl Hall, Quincy Jones and Paul Simon, 1985. Photograph: APWonder has never gone off the rails, although when I ask whether a movie version of his life would be a drama, a comedy or a tragedy, he says: “All of the above.” Does he ever consider that it’s his “disadvantages” – being born blind and black – that have made him what he is?

“Do you know, it’s funny,” he starts, “but I never thought of being blind as a disadvantage, and I never thought of being black as a disadvantage. I am what I am. I love me! And I don’t mean that egotistically – I love that God has allowed me to take whatever it was that I had and to make something out of it.”

Does he never allow himself an egotistical moment to survey his career?

“Nah,” he says, “that’s a waste of time. I enjoy listening to the stuff I’ve done, but that’s it.”

Is he a genius?

“No,” he says, “I was just blessed to have ideas. The genius in me is God – it’s the God in me coming out.”

This summer, he met the Queen after performing at the jubilee concert in London.

“She was born under the same astrological sign as me: Taurus,” he marvels. “It was wonderful meeting her.”

When I suggest that, if anyone should have been bowing and scraping, it was the one who, by accident of birth, acquired enormous status and wealth, not the one who, by sheer hard graft, changed the course of popular culture, he disagrees.

“That’s because you don’t believe in the power and the spirit that is intangible but is all around us,” he mildly scolds. “There has to be a higher energy power.”

Nevertheless, Wonder is aware of his impact, and of those who have picked up his progressive soul baton, such as Ocean. Was he surprised that there could, in 2012, be a furore at the revelation that a rapper might be gay?

“I think honestly, some people who think they’re gay, they’re confused,” he says. “People can misconstrue closeness for love. People can feel connected, they bond. I’m not saying all [gay people are confused]. Some people have a desire to be with the same sex. But that’s them.”

In 1974, US rock critic Robert Christgau described Wonder as “a sainted fool”. He wrote: “I’m not saying he’s a complete fool; in fact, I’m not saying he isn’t a genius. But you can’t deny that if you were to turn on a phone-in station and hear Stevie rapping about divine vibrations and universal brotherhood … you would not be impressed with his intellectual discernment.” Certainly, with Wonder, you have to suspend your cynicism. But he has to contend with being narrowcast still.

“I’ve never said I was a soul artist or an R&B artist,” he responds when I venture that the music he made in the 70s was a soul version of progressive rock. “They’re just labels. When you’re soul it means black, when you’re pop it means white. That’s bullshit. If it’s good, it’s good. It’s like that old Jerry Reed song: ‘When you’re hot, you’re hot, when you’re not, you’re not.’”

Interesting Guardian Article: R&B Singer Frank Ocean Talks About His Sexuality But He Refuses To Declare If He Is Gay Or Bisexual.

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean live at the Bowery Ballroom, New York in November 2011. Photograph: Chad Batka/Chad Batka/Corbis

Frank Ocean has had quite the week. “Yes,” he says, smiling, with a barely perceptible shake of the head, as if in mild disbelief. Then he nods: “Yes. But also awesome.” Two things have contributed to making his week awesome. There’s the surprise release of his second albumChannel Orange, a week before it was officially planned, which met with rabidly enthusiastic reviews comparing his idiosyncratic, narrative-heavy reimagining of soul and R&B to Prince and Stevie Wonder. Then there was the post on Tumblr in which he told, beautifully, the story of falling in love for the first time, with a man. “I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite,” he wrote.


  1. You can understand why Ocean might be feeling a little stunned. He’s suddenly the most talked-about man in music, though he hasn’t yet done much of the talking himself. He shuffles into a dressing room behind Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom nursing a herbal tea, and plays with it nervously, a hoodie wrapped around his neck like a scarf, before politely shaking my hand, all the time avoiding eye contact. He’s 24, relatively new to all of this, and suddenly the world wants to know his business.

Right now the old formula holds true: the less you know about him, the more you want to know. He’s managed to maintain a rare air of pop star mystery. “It’s not formulaic,” he says. “It’s not me necessarily trying to preserve mystique. It’s who I am. It’s how I prefer to move. I really don’t think that deeply about it at all, I swear I don’t. I’m just existing.”

‘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. Do you just not go outside your house?’

Frank Ocean PortraitThere’s a sense that impulse has driven Frank Ocean’s career so far. He emerged from two worlds: he was a successful songwriter for the likes of Brandy, Justin Bieber and Beyoncé; and he ran with Odd Future, though always seemed more mature than their mouthier shock tactics. It could be argued with conviction that he’s already eclipsed them. Packing up, broke, and driving away from his hometown of New Orleans, post-Katrina, to give it a shot as a songwriter in LA was a risk. Giving away his first album Nostalgia, Ultra for free was a risk (he put it online in 2011 without the knowledge of his label, Def Jam). Coming out was a risk.

“I won’t touch on risky, because that’s subjective,” he says. “People are just afraid of things too much. Afraid of things that don’t necessarily merit fear. Me putting Nostalgia out … what’s physically going to happen? Me saying what I said on my Tumblr last week? 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. Do you just not go outside your house? Do you not drive your car because of the statistics? How else are you limiting your life for fear?”

Though he thinks of himself as existing outside of conventional music genres – and the broad ambition of new album Channel Orange touches on everything from Marvin Gaye to Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix – Ocean’s roots are in R&B and hip-hop, neither of which are known for their nurturing attitude towards the rainbow flag. Which makes what he just did seem remarkably courageous. “I don’t know,” he demurs, looking down. “A lot of people have said that since that news came out. I suppose a percentage of that act was because of altruism; because I was thinking of how I wished at 13 or 14 there was somebody I looked up to who would have said something like that, who would have been transparent in that way. But there’s another side of it that’s just about my own sanity and my ability to feel like I’m living a life where I’m not just successful on paper, but sure that I’m happy when I wake up in the morning, and not with this freakin’ boulder on my chest.”

‘I could have changed the words. But why? I feel it’s another time now. I have no interest in contributing to that, especially with my art – the one thing that I know will outlive me’

Frank Ocean CoachellaFrank at Coachella, 2012. Photograph: Paul R. Giunta/Paul R. Giunta/CorbisOcean didn’t come out spontaneously, though. He wrote his letter in December 2011, to include in the sleevenotes for Channel Orange, pre-empting any potential speculation that might arise from some of its songs obviously addressing men. “I knew that I was writing in a way that people would ask questions,” he explains. “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.” He’s not one for playing the game, clearly. “It was important for me to know that when I go out on the road and I do these things, that I’m looking at people who are applauding because of an appreciation for me,” he says. “I don’t have many secrets, so if you know that, and you’re still applauding … it may be some sort of sick validation but it was important to me. When I heard people talking about certain, you know, ‘pronouns’ in the writing of the record, I just wanted to – like I said on the post – offer some clarity; clarify, before the fire got too wild and the conversation became too unfocused and murky.”

Later that evening, when he performs to a near-hysterical crowd, a line like “You’re so buff and so strong, I’m nervous … You run my mind, boy” sounds astonishingly subversive, hammering home how rarely we hear overtly same-sex songs, no matter what the genre. Asked why he didn’t fall back on the generic “you”, he shrugs: “When you write a song likeForrest Gump, the subject can’t be androgynous. It requires an unnecessary amount of effort. I don’t fear anybody … ” He laughs, making eye contact at last, his face lighting up, ” … at all. So, to answer your question, yes, I could have easily changed the words. But for what? I just feel like it’s just another time now. I have no interest in contributing to that, especially with my art. It’s the one thing that I know will outlive me and outlive my feelings. It will outlive my depressive seasons.”

These “depressive seasons”, he says, have been erased suddenly by his recent catharsis, but the bleakness of his music has been one of its most notable qualities. Drake and the Weeknd have peddled urban navel-gazing for a year or two, but Frank is on another level, telling dark cinematic stories with a screenwriter’s eye for character. Nostalgia, Ultra was full of unhappy souls: songs which initially appear to be sexy slow jams crumble under the weight of despair; take the refrain of Novocaine, “fuck me good, fuck me long, fuck me numb”, that final adverb joining grief to lust. Channel Orange has a fascination with decadence in the midst of decline, but its protagonists are equally sad and lost. The album’s narratives take in drug addicts, strippers, but also rich kids ruined by consumerism who end up dead or, at the least, on the receiving end of some vicious sarcasm: “Why see the world when you got the beach?” he sings on Sweet Life.

‘My grandfather was a mentor for NA and AA groups. I used to go to the meetings and hear the addicts: heroin and crack and alcohol. Stories like that influence a song like Crack Rock’

Frank Ocean landscapeOcean is unsure about what draws him to the darker side. “I honestly couldn’t tell you,” he finally says, after a long silence. “I would say, those were the colours I had to work with on those days.” Is it drawn from experience? “Absolutely. I mean, ‘experience’ is an interesting word. I just bear witness. For a song like Crack Rock, my grandfather, who had struggled to be a father for my mum and my uncle … his second chance at fatherhood was me. In his early-20s, he had a host of problems with addiction and substance abuse. When I knew him, he was a mentor for the NA and the AA groups. I used to go to the meetings and hear these stories from the addicts – heroin and crack and alcohol. So stories like that influence a song like that.” Some of his narratives are pure fantasy, he says. In the case of Pyramids’ epic first half this isn’t too surprising – it takes place in ancient Egypt – but that, too, twists itself into the story of a stripper providing for a pimp, and turns out to be rooted in real life. “I have actual pimps in my family in LA,” he chuckles. “It was fantasy built off that dynamic … but you can only write what you know to a point.”

The attention to detail that goes into his songs is astonishing. He sings Crack Rock with a hint of fractured breathiness that his sound engineer tried to iron out. “He said, ‘Are we really going to let this slide?’ And I was like, ‘Yes, because that’s how a smoker would sing.’” Music, more than any other art form, demands autobiography: we want our singers to be giving us authentic love or pain; we want to believe it’s first-hand. Fortunately, Frank Ocean is a natural-born storyteller.

When he talks about his music – how this bit here was influenced by Sly And The Family Stone, why that vocal retake happened, even the dying business model the industry is built on – he looks up, becoming animated, lively, and less shy. It would be easy to think that he’s reluctant to be famous – Vancouver tonight marks only his 10th solo gig – but when he left New Orleans in 2005, he changed his name from Lonny Breaux to Frank Ocean because he decided it would look better on magazine covers. (He also cares enough to have personally authorised the cover image for this week’s Guardian Guide.)

“I’ve always wanted to make a career in the arts, and I think that my only hope at doing that is to make it more about the work,” he says. But he could have been a successful songwriter anonymously – if it’s all about the music, why step out from behind the pen? “I enjoy singing my songs in front of people. I enjoy being involved in making the artwork for albums and stupid stuff like that. I wouldn’t be a part of [it] if I was just writing songs for others. And I said more about the music,” he grins, lest there be any doubt that he intends to be a star.

The journalist’s flight to Vancouver was paid for by Universal Records



Keith Murphy Posted July 9, 2012


Gay R&B Vocalist Rahsaan Patterson Applauds 'Courageous’ Frank Ocean

Gay R&B Vocalist Rahsaan Patterson Applauds ‘Courageous’ Frank Ocean

As the debate rages on whether or not Frank Ocean truly came out as gay, bisexual or was just detailing his personal memories of falling in love with a male friend four years ago, the fallout has truly been surreal. Before the buzz-heavy R&B vocalist posted a July 4 letter addressing rumors of his sexuality, Ocean tweeted of his conversation-igniting revelation, “my hope is that the babies born these days will inherit less of the bullshit than we did I figured it’d be good to clarify.”

Rahsaan Patterson can more than identify with Frank Ocean. The veteran R&B singer—who scored a top 50 Billboard album and strong radio airplay in 1997 with his self-titled debut—was one of the first African-American soul artists to come out officially as gay during a 2007 interview with BET.com. For Patterson, Ocean’s statement represents a big moment. “I thought Frank coming out was bold; I thought it was courageous,” Patterson tells VIBE. “Particularly since he reps more of the hip-hop realm I found it even more courageous because that’s an area that a lot of folks that support hip-hop and the lifestyle of hip-hop don’t like to really confront and address. Kudos to him.”

Reactions within the R&B/hip-hop community to Ocean’s public statement have been surprisingly on the positive side (Solange Knowles tweeted “I salute you, brave soul. Independence Day” and veteran Queens rhymer Cormega offered, “Frank Ocean is more honest than the average industry person!”). Still, amongst the general African-American music buying public Ocean’s announcement has been a hard pill to swallow (derogatory comments like “Frank Ocean is gay. It’s been confirmed…So no more listening to him” have been omnipresent on the Web).

Historically, African-American musicians have rarely been upfront about their sexuality. For everySylvester (the flamboyant disco icon never tried to hide the fact that he was gay) there is aLuther Vandross (the legendary vocalist reportedly kept his homosexuality a secret until his 2005 death). And in the overtly masculine world of hip-hop, homosexuality is viewed as a death knell; the sort of news that can literally derail a career. On the flipside, white pop and rock acts like David Bowie, Elton John, and Melissa Eldridge have experienced a more positive acceptance after coming out. It’s a dichotomy that bothers Patterson.

“Look at that compared to white music artists or even white actors who come out,” he says. “When they come out [as gay] they are applauded, not that they don’t suffer a bit in terms of press and people who may have an issue of their sexuality. But ultimately, them stepping into who they really are propels them in positive ways. It opens up their lives. I think a lot of times we are all so insecure with our personal things as black folks that we deny ourselves that right to be who we are. We forget that when you stand within your true light the world opens up for you.”

As for advice for Ocean on how to handle the whirlwind that currently surrounds him, Patterson says the singer is so far on the right path. “Clearly, Frank Ocean is a strong cat,” Patterson says. “Clearly he’s an artist and a person who has come to terms with who he is. But I will say there is a lot that comes with exposing that truth. He has come to terms with taking on the repercussions with exposing himself in that manner. We just have to continue to be strong.”

Patterson, who released his fifth studio album Bleuphoria in 2011, is currently promoting his latest single “Crazy (Baby),” which features Faith Evans and Shanice. “I’m working that til the wheels fall off,” he laughs. And I’m preparing to start recording a new album. I’m focusing on my craft and making sure that I’m true to myself.”—Keith Murphy

LA Times Article: Frank Ocean’s Coming Out Could Be Watershed Moment In Black Music Views About Homosexuality.

Frank OceanFrank Ocean performs at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Related photos »

By Gerrick D. KennedyJuly 4, 2012, 11:45 a.m.

Frank Ocean’s Def Jam debut, “Channel Orange,” isn’t due for two weeks, but the album has had Twitter abuzz for days.

As the Odd Future crooner previewed the highly anticipated disc for press, attention shifted to his sexuality after one blogger’s brief mention that when he sings about love on a number of tracks he uses “him” as opposed to “her.”

It was that quick line that has dominated the blogosphere.

PHOTOS: Gay celebrities, who is out?

What was fascinating about the rampant speculation about Ocean isn’t that it spread so quickly (much of this week’s headlines have centered on Anderson Cooper confirming his sexual orientation), but rather how many blogs haphazardly drafted their own analysis, most of them without having heard the album.

Now we know for sure: Tuesday evening Ocean took to his Tumblr to address the spreading headlines. In a preface post, he wrote that he would be posting what was originally meant to appear in the liner notes for “Channel Orange.” He made clear that he lived the lyrics in his songs, which he sings with such an intense passion, urgency and plainness. This was his story.

“With all the rumors going round.. i figured it’d be good to clarify..,” he wrote.

In the letter – actually a screenshot of a note document – he describes the first time he fell in love with a man and how the relationship progressed. He bluntly stated, “I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore.”

“4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide,” Ocean wrote in part of the letter. “Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence … until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless…”

The straightforward letter – which can be read in its entirety here – is undoubtedly 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 are plenty of reasons this moment has so much weight. Too many for any single article to explore.

Ocean has never talked at length about his personal life, leaving his music and its often-complex narratives to drive the conversation. But in a culture where the gossip increasingly and frustratingly outweighs the music, Ocean’s casual and candid approach to addressing his personal life, and revealing his personal truth of having loved a man, will be seen as groundbreaking.

There was no cover story, no anonymous sources or PR-orchestrated announcement (though this is not to demean those celebrities who have taken those approaches to this issue). Sure this will be seen as his “coming out” but it should be noted he doesn’t use the word “gay” or “bisexual,” and his letter isn’t about caving to the pressures of the labels we are so quick to pass out.

Ocean told his story on his terms and in his own words, something virtually unheard of in hip-hop and R&B — genres he has already pushed forward artistically with his work, and could push further.

Thursday, Ocean played the disc for a small group of music reporters at Los Angeles’ Capitol Records.

“This will take about an hour of your life,” he said before focusing on the control board and bobbing his head to the album, a stellar kaleidoscope of atmospheric beats, lush harmonies and those complex narratives he’s known for.

“It’s a bad religion, to be in love with someone who can never love you,” he muses over an organ on “Bad Religion,” one of the track’s catching attention along with the Andre 3000-assisted “Pink Matter” and the album’s wrenching closer “Forrest Gump,” where he sings of a boy he once knew.

“You’re running on my mind, boy,” he offers on the track.

The reaction to Ocean’s revelation is still uncertain –- although any negativity can be drowned out by the album’s raw beauty and masterful craftsmanship. The outpouring of tweets supporting Ocean has made it clear that he’s going to get a fair amount of love from fans and the industry, with some already touting him as a hero and a trailblazer. Being someone of his stature will place a heavy burden on his shoulders as being the “first,” but this moment was so very necessary.

Hopefully, in the wake of his letter, the urban community will fully embrace Ocean for his honesty and bravery. It’s impossible he’s alone.

Guardian Newspaper Article: R&B Singer Frank Ocean Confirms He Is Bisexual With An Open Letter To Fans!!!

Member of Odd Future, a hip-hop collective accused of homophobia, comes out in open letter posted to Tumblr

Frank Ocean

‘There was no escaping the feeling’ … Odd Future’s Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean has come out of the closet. Or, at least, that’s what he seems to have done. In an open letter posted on his Tumblr, he reminisces about falling in love with a man when he was 19. The letter follows the first playback of his new album, Channel Orange, on Monday.Those who heard the album reported that several tracks were love songs addressed to a man.

In his post, 24-year-old Ocean – real name Christopher Breaux – wrote: “4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence. Until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realised I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love. It changed my life.”

When he shared his feelings with his friend, though, “He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same.”

It is not known whether this means Ocean is gay or, as was suggested after the album playback, bisexual.

However, it certainly further clouds the debate surrounding the supposed homophobia of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, the Los Angeleship-hop collective with which Ocean is affiliated. Odd Future already have one openly gay member, the female prodicer and DJ Syd tha Kid. Last November, Odd Future were dropped from the bill of the Big Day Out festival in New Zealand because of homophobic lyrics, and the group – especailly Tyler, the Creator – have been widely criticised for lyrics deemed offensive to women and gay people.

In his own way, Tyler, the Creator, offered support to Frank Ocean onTwitter: “My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im A Toilet.”


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