Frank Ocean at Coachella 2012 (more by David Andrako)
Odd Future affiliated R&B singer Frank Ocean posted a note to his tumblr titled "thank you's," which was "intended to fill the thank you's section in [his] album credits, but with all the rumors going round.. [he] figured it'd be good to clarify." The rumors he was referring to were regarding his sexuality and were based on the inclusion of male pronouns on his upcoming album, Channel Orange (due out 7/17 via Def Jam). In the tumblr note, Frank Ocean describes how his first love was with a man that he spent entire summers with when both Frank and the other man had girlfriends. You can read his entire note below.
Though he doesn't explicitly identity as gay or bisexual in the note, Frank's coming out was a bit of a risky move in the hip hop and R&B community, and especially for a member of Odd Future, who have long been criticized for homophobic lyrics (though member Syd tha Kyd, whose project The Internet recently announced a tour, is openly a lesbian). However, Frank has gotten huge support all around. Fellow Odd Future member Tyler, the Creator tweeted, "My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im A Toilet." Def Jam boss Russell Simmons wrote a letter titled, "The Courage Of Frank Ocean Just Changed The Game!", in which he writes:
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?Frank Ocean will be touring this month in support of his new album. That tour brings him to NYC for a sold out show at Terminal 5 on July 26.
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. These types of secrets should not matter anymore, but we know they do, and because of that I decided to write this short statement of support for one of the greatest new artists we have.
His gifts are undeniable. His talent, enormous. His bravery, incredible. His actions this morning will uplift our consciousness and allow us to become better people. Every single one of us is born with peace and tranquility in our heart. Frank just found his.
Frank, we thank you. We support you. We love you.
Read Frank's full note below...
Whoever you are. Wherever you are... I'm starting to think we're a lot alike. Human beings spinning on blackness. All wanting to be seen, touched, heard, paid attention to. My loved ones are everything to me here. In the last year or 3 I've screamed at my creator, screamed at clouds in the sky, for some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like manna somehow. 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 realized 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 would change my life. Back then my mind would wander to the women I had been with, the ones I cared for and thought I was in love with. I reminisced about the sentimental songs I enjoyed when I was a teenager. The ones I played when I experienced a girlfriend too quickly. Imagine being thrown from a plane. I wasn't in a plane though. I was in a Nissan Maxima, the same car I packed up with bags and drove to Los Angeles in. I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for then. 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 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.---
The dance went on. I kept the rhythm for several summers after. It's winter now. I'm typing this on a plane back to Los Angeles from New Orleans. I flew home for another marred Christmas. I have a windowseat. It's December 27, 2011. By now I've written two albums. This being the second. I wrote to keep myself busy and sane. I wanted to create worlds that were rosier than mine. I tried to channel overwhelming emotions. I'm surprise at how far all of it has taken me. Before writing this I'd told some people my story. I'm sure these people kept me alive, kept me safe. Sincerely, these are the folks I wanna thank from the floor of my heart. Everyone of you knows who you are. Great humans, probably angels. I don't know what happens now. And that's alrite. I don't have any secrets I need kept anymore. 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. Grateful that even thought it wasn't what I hoped for and even thought it was never enough, it was. Some things never are. And we were. I won't forget you. I won't forget the summer. I'll remember who I was when I met you. I'll remember who you were and how we've both changed and stayed the same. I've never had more respect for life and living than I have right now. Maybe it takes a near death experience to feel alive. Thanks. 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.