HeatherN muses on the very different way in which Hip-Hop star Frank Ocean came out, and wonders how this coming out reflects homophobia in the hip-hop industry.
You may be wondering why I’m writing about Frank Ocean coming out when I just had an article about Anderson Cooper doing the same. In part I’m writing this because Frank Ocean’s coming out was very different to any other celebrity coming out I’ve seen. As this article in The Guardian explains, Frank Ocean made no declarations about his sexual orientation and took on no labels. Instead, he wrote a moving Tumblr post about how the first person he fell in love with was a man. It’s actually even more understated than Anderson’s coming out, really. The Tumblr post is more about first love than anything else, and the gender of the person Ocean fell in love with is nearly inconsequential to the story.
Mostly, though, the reason I bring this up is because of the industry Frank Ocean part of. He’s a rap/hip-hop artist, and the hip-hop scene is notoriously homophobic. Actually, rather strangely, Frank Ocean is part of one of the most homophobic hip-hop groups out there: Odd Future. Tim Jonze (the writer of the Guardian article) suggests that perhaps the outrageous homophobic lyrics of Odd Future and other hip-hop artists are nothing more than an attempt at getting attention.
The fact that Tyler, the Creator (the leader of Odd Future) and other hip-hop artists have voiced their support for Ocean certainly suggests that there’s a disconnect between their songs’ lyrics and what they actually believe. But then, rather than excuse the homophobia in their lyrics, I think it actually makes it worse. I feel a bit like an angry parent when I say this, but frankly they should know better.
Photo: AP/Matt Sayles