Easily one of the biggest music news stories this year, Frank Ocean‘s “coming-out” letter both rocked and shocked an industry that -for all its diversity is still marred by narrow images of masculinity.
Since then, the 25 year old has (smartly) kept the focus on his music, releasing critically-acclaimed debut ‘Channel Orange’.
However, in opting to discuss the matter on his terms, the ‘Thinkin’ Bout You’ singer has opened up to GQ, addressing his decision to be frank about his sexuality in the magazine’s December issue.
An intriguing read awaits in the excerpts below…
…on coming out as bisexual and worries about if it would hurt his career: “I had those fears. In black music, we’ve got so many leaps and bounds to make with acceptance and tolerance in regard to that issue. It reflects something just ingrained, you know. When I was growing up, there was nobody in my family—not even my mother—who I could look to and be like, ‘I know you’ve never said anything homophobic.’ So, you know, you worry about people in the business who you’ve heard talk that way.”
…on the timing of his letter on Tumblr: “Some people said, ‘He’s saying he fell in love with a guy for hype.’ As if that’s the best hype you can get in hip-hop or black music. So I knew that if I was going to say what I said, it had to be in concert with one of the most brilliant pieces of art that has come out in my generation. And that’s what I did. Why can I say that? Why I don’t have to affect all this humility and shit is because I worked my ass off. I worked my face off. And the part that you love the most is the easiest part for me. So I’ll do it again.”
…on challenging himself: “John Mayer and I were talking in rehearsal before SNL, and he was like, ‘You love to take the hardest way. You don’t always have to.’ …We all know we have a finite period of time. I just feel if I’m going to be alive, I want to be challenged—to be as immortal as possible. The path to that isn’t an easy way, but it’s a rewarding way.”
…on the personal importance of meeting Odd Future: “At 20 or 21, I had, I think, a couple hundred thousand dollars [from producing and songwriting], a nice car, a Beverly Hills apartment—and I was miserable. Because of the relationship in part and the heartbreak in part, and also just miserable because of like just carting that around. And here was this group of like-minded individuals whose irreverence made me revere. The do-it-yourself mentality of OF really rubbed off on me.”
We have immeasurable amounts of respect for Frank. For, in echoing our own commentary on the matter from this Summer, we truly believe the impact of his actions will be appreciated in the years to come. More power to him.
Photo credit: Peggy Sirota / GQ.