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frank ocean The Surface of Frank Ocean.

Christopher Breaux, better known as Frank Ocean, won more homosexual fans overnight than Beyonce did in 2006 when she “snapped for the kids”. Such a feat had little to do with his knack for songwriting or his creative artistry. In an open letter published to his tumblelog via his Tumblr page “frankocean”. Ocean admitted that his first, true love had been a man, one with whom he’d had a secret relationship dating back to 2007. As the news went viral a series of reactions were soon to follow. While many in the LGBT community welcomed Frank “home”, many of Frank’s heterosexual female fans hung their heads in disdain, commemorating another “lost one” to the male species. Others weren’t quite as kind; the anti-gay rants have remained low to nonexistent as of yet, but many statements of indifference have run rampant. Many have contended that Frank’s sexuality doesn’t matter. Others have gone on to suggest that his coming out was a publicity stunt that prefaced the release of his first studio album, “channel ORANGE”, a strong accusation that should not go without address.

Calling him a pioneer may be a bit overzealous but for his brevity, we commend Ocean. He brings forward the issue of homophobia that exists nationwide and is certainly no stranger to the Black community. Ocean pushes the envelop for other male artists in the industry who fear the ramifications of admitting their sexuality and he shares with his fan the details of a first love that influenced and inspired him to write. This in mind, songs like “I Miss You”, written for Beyonce’s album 4 have stronger implications.

In his letter Ocean reveals how his personal struggle with homosexuality caused him to question his creator and want for an explanation. Ocean admits that he effortlessly fell in love with a man at the age of 19 and while such a love was reciprocated, it may have been stifled by it’s furtiveness. Frank’s love story is one that is all too familiar for the “down-low” community of homosexual; it alludes to the secretive, double lives many explore harboring fear of acceptance among their peers and families alike. Many in the LGBT community consider “coming out” one of the hardest things they do in life. To take such a vulnerable and personal moment away from anyone and name it a “publicity stunt” is callous. We thank and applaud Frank, for sharing such a intimate moment with the world and in his own way confronting the spurning that many within the LGBT face.

Presently Frank‘s debut album, channel ORANGE sits at #2 on the Billboard 200 Chart—it’ll be interesting to see how the album maintains momentum in coming weeks. Calling it something “new and different” would not only be cliché, but would serve it a terrible injustice. Do yourself and Frank a favor, get your copy of the album now!

What Do You Think?

-Brian Riddick

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