Frank Ocean

In a post on his Tumblr, Frank Ocean, the buttery-genius R&B singer from the Odd Future crew, has essentially come out of the closet. He never says anything as plain as “I’m gay,” but he does open up, telling a story about falling in love with a man:

4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Every day almost, and on the day we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless.

He ends the beautifully written narrative by saying, “I feel like a free man. If I listen closely… I can hear the sky falling too.” Read the full statement here.

In an earlier post, Ocean announces that the story had meant to stand in as the thank-you section on Channel Orange, his forthcoming album:

we’re all a bunch of golden million dollar babies. my hope is that the babies born these days will inherit less of the bullshit than we did. anyhow, what i’m about to post is for anyone who cares to read. it was intended to fill the thank you’s section in my album credits, but with all the rumors going round.. i figured it’d be good to clarify..

Rap and R&B have come a long way toward in the past few years, moving away from homophobia, but it still runs rampant in that wing of the music business, and Ocean is the first artist of his stature to make an announcement like this. It goes without saying that this took a ton of bravery and candor on Ocean’s part, and it’s a great display of personal character.

Odd Future, of course, got in a ton of hot water for violently homophobic lyrics when they first emerged on the scene two years ago, and it’s heartening to see the other members of the crew wholeheartedly embracing Ocean. Here’s Tyler, The Creator, on Twitter: “My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im A Toilet.” Vaguely weird to say, since I don’t actually know any of these guys personally, but I’m proud of everyone involved.

Comments (105)
  1. My hearts and prayers are with the Frank Ocean women fans of this world who are now crying in their pillows I’m sure.

  2. Queer boys of color really need visibility and support, the lack of it is the reason why so many of us are still closeted. I’m hella proud of Frank for having the courage to be out and open and true to himself with no compromise, not even with mainstream success. This is great news. :)

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  4. Who needs labels when all you need is love.

  5. this won’t sit well with rub-jon

    also, “Anyway. Im a Toilet”

  6. Frank’s mom:

  7. that post is really really really beautiful. got me all choked up.

  8. A lot of the homophobia amongst hip-hop fans is being exposed. Not saying they all are, but Waka Flocka tweeted support for Frank last night. And nothing against Waka, but if Waka Flocka Flame’s views are more progressive than yours, you need to re-evaluate your life.

  9. “Dibs on all Franks hoes” – Taco

    Best reaction yet.

  10. all it takes is having a good friend come out to slap in the face for ever being an idiot.

  11. “Anyway. I’m a Toilet”, you tell ‘em Tyler.

    But seriously, the more incidences like this, and the more Rap and R&B both move away from homophobia, the better.

    Nice one Frank.

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  12. He definitely sang about getting with girls a lot on Nostalgia, Ultra. I suppose a lot of gay artists have written songs about girls over the years and Frank leaves the door open for being bi. I do wonder if we still aren’t at the point where an artist could put out a blatantly gay love song and have it be accepted by the mainstream.

    It is cool how more and more people are coming out and it is less and less of a big deal. I keep hearing speculation about John Travolta’s sexuality and I wonder if he was outed if anyone would even care. Even 2 or 3 years ago I think something like that would have been a much larger story than it would be today.

  13. the letter is beautiful. and also published 10 days before the album’s release date…

    • He only published it early because of the articles that were written on another site about how they saw the lyrics has him coming out. Twitter was exploding yesterday and the day before about it so he went ahead and dropped that letter. It was going to be (and I assume still will be) in the liner notes of the album anyways.

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        • I think it’s a cool article, too, but I also think that it’s lame for people to use downvoting as a way of copping out. I think this guy makes a really good point that is very relevant to the article and Tyler’s response. If others feel differently, I would love to hear why…provided they actually know why.

          • Okay fine, I’ll bite…

            Did either of you also call Eminem a hypocrite when he hugged Elton John?

          • i do agree with your point michael h, it was just annoying me that as i scrolled down the comments this was your second lash against the people youre conversating with, where the rest of the comments are actual reactions to the article, more so youre attack on m_ which just seemed rude. however i do think people should express their opinions with a response if they have an alternating opinion. finally i dont believe that tyler is a homophobe but rather an inconsiderate oblivious teenager who is probably only now realizing how affecting his words might have been even if he only used them for shock value.

          • You really sound like you don’t know what you are talking about. Tyler uses many offensive terms which he tosses around casually. When someone continually lies, do you believe everything they say? I find it very revealing his lyrics are very misogynistic, yet he was raised by a single mother, who seems to be the only person he respects, or how he uses homophobic terms but the only time he’s every become publicly offended was when he was called a homophobe.

            I don’t think he or the younger generation in general are as offended by these things as our generation or any older. It’s a brave new world out there.

          • i agree with you on the mother thing that is interesting but his response to tegan and sarah when they called him out was that they cam suck his dick or something like that. i am apart of the younger generation and i listen to music all the time that use offensive terms but i think this does not reflect the new generation because society as a whole has become more progressive, hense the popular response in this story.

      • I’ll articulate: Tyler was never a homophobe, rather someone who didn’t quite know the impact of what he was saying, the same way a child who complains about people doing things that are “really gay” etc. doesn’t.

        • If that were true, Tyler would have apologized after Tegan & Sara’s lengthy statement on the matter. Tyler is intelligent and always knew what he was doing, and he probably doesn’t feel that different about it now; it’s just that now he has been caught with his foot in his mouth. Cody, I think Eminem’s lyrics are just as wrong, but actually going to the trouble of planning a performance with someone he knew was gay and hugging him seems more genuine than Tyler making a short typed statement in response to a situation that likely took him by surprise and practically screamed for his input. The irony of Tyler having a gay friend all along and not realizing it while he acted like nothing he said mattered is too much and just makes him look like even more of a doofus.

          • Tyler didn’t apologize because he felt he had nothing to apologize for. Just because a few people got their panties in a bunch over his lyrics doesn’t mean he has to apologize to them.

            And I’m pretty sure OF knew Frank was gay/bi this entire time.

          • …and he felt he had nothing to apologize for because homophobic slurs weren’t something that personally affected him, which of course is the way that all decent people operate. It will be interesting to see how he reconciles his past lyrics with his supposed support of Frank.

          • You’re making a lot of assumptions here. The OF crew have been friends since childhood, and I’d bet that Tyler was among the first to know before Frank came out. We don’t have any idea how long he’s been out to those close to him, but I highly doubt that Tyler first found out at the same time as us.

            Also, Tyler performs with Syd and Frank all the time, and does not ever make a big deal of it. Frank may have just come out, but Syd has been openly lesbian for at least as long as I’ve known the name Odd Future, which of course Tyler was aware of. It sounds like a cop-out, but context matters for this word. I don’t condone it’s usage, but saying “gay” or “fag” does not automatically make one homophobic in the same way that saying the n-word makes one racist.

    • Wow, wasn’t expecting this response. I totally agree with Cody’s point about Eminem and there is no excuse for some of the lyrics in his earlier songs (especially Criminal). I was only 16 when I when I listened to Eminem so the negative response to my point speaks volumes regarding the average age of Stereogum readers.

    • Tyler is probably only homophobic in the Eminem-on-’The Marshall Mathers LP’ sort of way. Just being obnoxious, trying (and succeeding) to get a rise of people.

  15. I’m really proud of the whole OF crew and especially Frank for having the courage to do this. I think a lot of people mistake the whole coming out process for celebrities (and even non-celebrities, sometimes) as nothing more than attention-seeking, when in actuality it’s one of the most important things they can do. The effect simply existing as out and proud has on kids who have been shamed for their entire lives just because of who they are can never be understated, and every time someone comes out it’s a little victory for us all.

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  17. The open letter he wrote is one of the most beautiful and moving things I have read in a long, long time. The way he put his feelings to words is pretty special (not to sound trite). Where I come from, we’re still very much in the dark ages (as are most of the world) in terms of homosexuality and at times it breaks my heart to see how fucking stupid people are! Anyway, rant over. What I’m really trying to say is Frank Ocean, you’re great.

  18. frank ocean is the fucking man.

    • “I believe that marriage isn’t between a man and woman, but between love and love”

      my boy.

      • You might have missed the Dirty Projectors Premy Evy comments section where we decided that you were going to perform my wedding ceremony, but if you aren’t doing any wedding ceremonies until gay marrage is legal in all 50 states I would understand.

        • Please see my offer/RSVP on the dirty P’s thread. I am honoured and touched.

          Regarding gay marriage, i only practice in kanada, where it is legal so if you want me to sing at your wedding (and u do) come here and i’ll do it. i’ve got a big swanky garage and we’ll set up real nice for yer. gonna be weird. here’s my address:

          come for next weekend ok? bring your fiancé too. don’t knock, and don’t ask why. see you then,

          - donal

          p.s. bring diapers, pls.

  19. Next mixtape title: I’m Literally Gay

  20. this is so awesome of him and i look forward to the awkward pause in tyler next song after his verse when he’d usually say fuckin you know what

  21. first girls break up, now i’m reading tonite that franky o is gay – that’s what i get for going on a summer vacation away from the internet for 5 days – huge news week

  22. I actually haven’t seen any trace of opposition towards this, and I didn’t expect to. Most Frank Ocean and OF fans are liberal college students anyway, and we love gay people.

  23. This is some of the best news I’ve heard in a while. That was a beautiful and inspirational letter that I am taking to heart. As a young gay man who has yet to be brave enough to come out to his family and friends it is great to see someone you love and respect, who was in a similar situation, do something you’ve always wanted to do. While there are many great homosexual role models in the world I have found very few I can specifically relate to. It’s great to get a new one, and one is as terrific as this. If Ocean, who is in a position where this information could far more hurtful than it could possibly be to me right now, can do it, why can’t I? I am happy to see that everyone has been so supportive of this so far, I am so happy for him and hope his life just get better from here.

    • Queergummers unite! Honestly, I have never felt closer to you guys than I have reading the comments on this article.

      • It’s like the polar opposite of what stereotypical internet message boards are supposed to be like. Glad to know I’m amongst intelligent, caring, and reasonable people(and yes I am pandering). Frank Ocean just bringst out the best in people.

  24. I feel really great for Frank. He must be extremely relieved. Same for Tyler, that must have gotten excruciating pretending not to be a pale, cold porcelain seat.. hopefully his sister Tisha has his back on this.

  25. Looks like someone just landed himself atop the Westboro “people we must protest” list.

  26. “You know how I know that you’re gay? You sample Coldplay.”

  27. Tyler’s mom is pumped…

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    • Uh-oh, you made a big mistake there, buddy. You see, Tyler is protected from scrutiny by the Vince Neil clause, which states, “No celebrity’s actions shall be subject to unbiased assessment by society.” Of course, there could be exceptions to this rule, if, say, a fan were personally affected by something evil that Tyler did, but it would have to be something really egregious and irrefutable. For instance, if Tyler killed a fan’s parents and made Chirstmas ornaments from their remains in front of the fan, then that fan (but possibly not other fans) would be justified in saying, “I don’t think Tyler is a good person.”

  29. Frank Ocean Quits Girls

  30. one of my favorite parts of thinking bout you was always how the lyrics were not gender specific. i could always apply it to my own experiences without heterosexual specific words disrupting the idea. this explains why he wrote, but whatever the reason I’m glad he did. good luck frank.

  31. I’m listening to “White” right now and wondering who the “first love” is…

  32. I guess Christopher Owens is the only one quitting girls

    • Some of those comments are hilarious in their stupidity though.

      • “^^^that long ass novel you just wrote, that shit even got statistics. Im surprised you aint post a link to yo reference page. A nigga gotta go get his reading glasses if he wanna keep up wit all the shit you talkin bout”

        my favorite

  33. I love it when there’s news regarding an artist’s sexuality, because then I get to go through and read all the comments that are hidden due to low score!

  34. I hear he’s currently dating @devhynes a.k.a Blood Orange (Allegedly they met through Beyonce’s sister Solange, who he writes for.) BEST POWER COUPLE EVER!

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