Yesterday, Frank Ocean became the first major artist of the hip hop generation to come out. While we at Dummy certainly hope that soon this will scarcely be worthy of a post, for now, this is a landmark for any music fan.
Reactions to this news fell between two poles – either or noticeable silence or unabashed praise for his bravery (perhaps mixed with relief that someone finally said it – by 2011, even Fat Joe was exasperated with the silence around gay people in rap music ).
Russell Simons, director of Def Jam wrote this statement:
“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. These type 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.”
Odd Future manager Kelly Clancy Tweeted this
ive had a million proud moments in my career…this one falls at the top…
— KELLY July 4, 2012
Alongside a lyric from ‘Channel Orange’, Frank’s forthcoming album:
Our daughters & our sons, are just candles in the sun…don’t you let them see divide… – Channel Orange
— KELLY July 4, 2012
Action Bronson was vocal in his support for Frank:
MAJOR PROPS TO FRANK OCEAN MAN. IT TAKES A REAL MAN TO PUT HIMSELF OUT THERE LIKE THAT. MUCH LOVE AND RESPECT.
— BOBBY BAKLAVA July 4, 2012
DJ Drama also praised Frank Ocean for his decision:
I commend Frank Ocean on his courage. I support him & will continue to be a fan of his work
— DJ DRAMA (@DJDRAMA) July 4, 2012
On Jay-Z’s website, legendary hip hop author dream hampton wrote a letter titled “Thank you, Frank Ocean”, which opens with this paragraph:
“You shared one of the most intimate things that ever happened to you – falling in love with someone who wasn’t brave enough to love you back. Your relieving yourself of your “secret” is as much about wanting to honestly connect as it is about exhibition. We are all made better by your decision to share publicly.”
You can read the whole thing at lifeandtimes.com.
Much of the wider hip hop world were curiously silent, perhaps aware of the sadly polarising nature of Frank’s announcement. This was a divide painfully clear on Twitter – a cursory search of the words “Frank Ocean” resulted in a stream of supportive messages:
A Frank Ocean fan account’s stream, however, was full of more hate-filled messages:
Frank himself commented no further, and simply talked about his Independence Day celebration, in a way that suggests his mind is above the slurry:
stevie wonder just sang no church in the wild to me at this party. had to jot that down.
— frank ocean (@frank_ocean) July 5, 2012