PHOTOS: L'Uomo Vogue
The phenomenally talented R&B singer and songwriter Frank Ocean—the voice behind the critically acclaimed single "Novacane" and the mixtape nostalgia, ULTRA—has come out in an emotional post on his Tumblr. Read the moving letter AFTER THE JUMP ...
The move follows several days of rumors after an advance review of Ocean's soon-to-be-released new album Channel Orange. The album drops July 17. The reviewer at BBC's Radio 1xtra noted that some of the love songs were addressed to "he" as opposed to "she". "We think it's brave and admire him for being so honest and sharing such a personal aspect of his life through his music," 1xtra's Max is quoted at The Boombox. "On the songs 'Bad Religion' 'Pink Matter and 'Forrest Gump' you can hear him sing about being in love and their are quite obvious words used like 'him' and not 'her.'
The 24-year-old New Orleans native confirmed the speculation on Tuesday. Ocean wrote an emotional open letter that apparently was meant to be included in Channel Orange's liner notes. The letter speaks of the pain of falling in love and coming to terms with his sexuality. Ocean decided to publish the letter ahead of time.
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.
It was my first love, it changed my life. ... 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.
Ocean concludes: "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."
Ocean has written for Justin Bieber, Beyonce, John Legend and others. Ocean is also part of the alternative hip hop collective Odd Future, whose de facto leader is Tyler Gregory Okonma bka "Tyler the Creator." Tyler tweeted his support to Ocean: "My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever."
Hip hop icon, entertainment mogul and LGBT ally Russell Simmons applauded the move. "Today is a big day for hip-hop," Simmons wrote at Global Grind. "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."
"I love the fact that Russell Simmons jumped on it! He didn't wait for others," DJ Baker, the host of the popular LGBT-themed, hip-hop internet radio show The Da-Doo Dirty Show told R20. "I'm very excited about Frank coming out means a lot for music bcause he is a new producer on the rise."
Congratulations to Frank Ocean for standing and living his truth. Coming out is never easy, especially at a young age and in the public spotlight. It also goes without saying that Ocean's honesty is literally shaking the foundations of hip-hop. Bravo. Read his powerful letter AFTER THE JUMP ...