By Rob Markman
Frank Ocean’s peers and members of the hip-hop community have already shown their support for the Odd Future singer since he opened up about his sexuality this week, and the general public seems to share the same sentiments.
“I’m not going to hate ‘Novacane’ because he’s gay,” 20-year-old Jonathan Johnson said. “I personally have no problem with gay people at all. It’s brave that he actually came out.”
Ocean actually didn’t declare himself homosexual or bisexual. On Wednesday, the singer/songwriter hit Tumblr, posting a passage intended for the liner notes of his upcoming major-label debut, Channel Orange. In the writing, he reveals that his first love was a young man he met “4 summers ago” when he was 19 years old.
Ocean also wrote about the women he has been with in his life, but didn’t clearly specify his current relationship status. Regardless, Ocean’s message has sparked lots of conversation throughout the music world, particularly in the hip-hop community, where he shares his closest ties.
“It’s not the norm for that industry, but I think that it’s something that can be accepted just because it is him expressing his own individuality,” Rachel Schwarts told MTV News.
Hip-hop has never had a notable openly gay or bisexual male, so this is new territory. Ocean made his first mark with his 2011 mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, and has since gone on to collaborate with the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyoncé and most recently André 3000 for his upcoming album.
“I don’t think Jay-Z and Kanye and those kind of people are going to react to him coming out of the closet, but I think maybe some of the more subculture hip-hop kind of guys will maybe react a bit more,” Peter Larsen predicted.
Already, a number of musicians have spoken out in support of Frank, including Solange Knowles and Ocean’s Odd Future groupmate Tyler, the Creator. So far, we haven’t seen any notable negative backlash toward the “American Wedding” singer — could it be that the hip-hop community isn’t as hung up on sexuality as is often speculated?
“I think that people really aren’t that closed off to it, and if they like his music, then they’re going to like him,” Katie Schwartz explained. “They’re not going to let that affect how they feel about his music.”
Dorian Noble ultimately believes that Frank Ocean’s revelation will spur meaningful dialogue and understanding. “I think sexuality is sexuality,” he said. “I think the hip-hop community hasn’t had the chance or the voice for someone to come out and say it, and I think he’s going to open up Pandora’s box, and it will definitely come out in the community for sure.”