OFWGKTA member and Kanye and Jay-Z collaborator Frank Ocean reveals his first love was a man.
In a pretty bold move before the release of his first full-length album, rising star of minimalist R&B Frank Ocean has posted a screed about his sexuality on his tumlbr.
Ocean is best known as part of the Odd Future crew, which is noted for its shocking lyrics, including many homophobic slurs, yet their former DJ is a lesbian. He also appeared on a couple of tracks from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne collaboration album.
Only a week away from releasing his full-length debut Channel Orange (featuring John Mayer and Andre 3000), he posted a screed which he writes was originally meant to be part of the liner notes for the album.
In it, he reveals that his first real love was another man: “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. 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 to the women I had been with, the ones I cared for and thought I was in love with.”
He writes that he was rejected, “I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same. He had to go back inside soon. It was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs. He wouldn’t tell me the truth about his feelings for me for another 3 years. I felt like I’d only imagined reciprocity for years. Now imagine being thrown from a cliff. No, I wasn’t on a cliff, I was still in my car telling myself it was gonna be fine and to take deep breaths. I took the breaths and carried on. I kept up a peculiar friendship with him because I couldn’t imagine keeping up my life without him. I struggled to master myself and my emotions. I wasn’t always successful.”
About the statement, he writes “I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite. I don’t have any secrets I need kept any more. There’s probably some small shit still, but you know what I mean. I was never alone, as much as it felt like it. As much as I still do sometimes. I never was. I don’t think I ever could be. Thanks. To my first love, I’m grateful for you.”
The post goes on, but concludes with “To my mother. You raised me strong. I know I’m only brave because you were first. So thank you. All of you. For everything good. I feel like a free man. If I listen closely, I can hear the sky falling too.”
His notorious OFWGKTA crew member Tyler, The Creator (who once tweeted that he had “Some Hard Dick” for Canadian duo Tegan & Sara when they wrote a post excoriating his homophobic lyrics) tweeted about Ocean, writing “My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im A Toilet.”
Tyler later tweeted, “AY BITCHES, IMA START SINGING SO LIKE, ALL OF FRANKS BITCHES CAN YOU COME OVER HERE AND LIKE HOLLA AT YA BOY”
Rap mogul Russell Simmons has already written a letter of support, which read in part “Today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we? I am profoundly moved by the courage and honesty of Frank Ocean. Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear.”
It will remain to be seen how the often outwardly homophobic hip-hop and R&B scene will take this news, and what it may do to his album sales. His YouTube video comments are already dominated by arguments between fans disowning him and his defenders.