'Big day for hip-hop' as Frank Ocean comes out as bisexual
Odd Future star breaks hip-hop taboo with Tumblr story of homosexual love affair
ACCORDING TO Russell Simmons, who as co-founder of Def Jam records is one of hip-hop's godfathers, this is a "big day" for rap. Simmons is just one of many voices raised in praise of singer Frank Ocean, who used Tumblr yesterday to come out.
Ocean's Independence Day post has been received particularly well because rather than simply state that he is gay or bisexual, he wrote movingly about a love affair which just happened to have been with another man, says The Guardian.
Now 24 and part of hip-hop collective Odd Future, Ocean wrote: "Four summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too.
"We spent that summer, and the summer after, together … And on the days we were together, time would glide.
Ocean revealed that the man turned out to already be in a relationship, so their dalliance ended. He added: "I don't know what happens now, and that's alrite [sic]. I don't have any secrets I need kept anymore... I feel like a free man."
Ocean's revelation raised eyebrows not only because the culture of hip-hop – like that of other genres including country music – is notoriously resistant to minority sexualities but also because Odd Future has provoked controversy in the past with apparently homophobic lyrics.
But Odd Future rapper Tyler the Creator was among well-wishers who greeted Ocean's self-outing. He tweeted: "My big brother finally fucking did that. Proud of that nigga cause I know that shit is difficult."
On his influential blog, meanwhile, Simmons addressed Ocean, saying: "Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear."
As well as his work with Odd Future, Ocean – who grew up in New Orleans – has written songs for Justin Bieber and Beyonce Knowles and recorded with Kanye West and Jay-Z.