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Frank Ocean and social change, re: Hip-HopJul 5, 2012 | News Archive
Melissa shares her thoughts on Frank Ocean's letter of honesty towards his sexuality.
I was really inspired and proud of my country on America’s birthday to learn that R&B Singer Frank Ocean- one of my favorite new wave singers, came out of the closet. The news broke on Twitter when Frank Ocean posted a link from his Tumblr blog. It was a journal entry written on a plain text document entitled “thank you.” It was a letter to all his friends and people who supported his choice and did not judge him throughout the years with his heavy secret weighing down his heart for several years. Read the letter and you will discover not some alien confessing his queer-ness, but a passionate and very articulate black man who felt confused over the years about love and gender stereotypes. In his letter he says that his first love happened to be a man, and that this guy could not love him back because he was already in a relationship. As I read more of my Twitter timeline that day- and today, the feedback was very surprising and mature. (<--- click link) Rap Radar, a popular rap blog, did a great job leading the conversation! Many of the music journalists, bloggers and industry members showed their support about his preference and agreed that his music speaks volumes and its Art that has the last word. Hip Hop is notorious for it’s hard and unapologetic mentality. Over the years, hip-hop has branded itself as thug life. Thug, synonymous for male dominance, macho, and more testosterone! Given that hip-hop seems to be embracing Frank Ocean’s choice- Russell Simmons, Elliot Wilson and other hip hop members commended Mr. Ocean. Looking at hip hop as a culture, it's starting the transformation of its brand to a more progressive and accepting audience! Now, there are still a few people talking ignorant, but that’s OK. Questions about if hip hop will be the same, is a different arguement...
In just 2 weeks Frank Ocean will release his first studio album Channel Orange. It could have been a marketing stunt, but who cares. His recent feature in the New York Times about love and music was an obvious indication that he is deeply curious about the essence of human attractions and it is not going to be another cliché collection of songs about rudimentary descriptions of love.
So throughout the week, as we observe America as the land of the free, I think we have come a long way! This is how we should be living up to the preamble and excepting not only color and ethnicity, but also different genders and sexual preferences. On our airwaves, we thrive on keeping these types of discussions going! The past has told us that African-Americans, perhaps as an interest group, do not support gay rights due to a number of factors. One, that there is a strong devotion and commitment to church values and religious ideologies. African-Americans are conservative in this respect. But, as we really embrace the future- with technology, we also need to transition our views of new family structures, the changing evolution of human beings and sexual orientations. It’s possible that once in a while the Creator can make a mistake of creating that girl when she should have been a boy. And, why can’t we adjust ourselves? Do I predict or expect a lot of other artists to come out the closet, too? Um, no! I'm not saying its something that's trending; I'm just recognizing that this is positive progression that deserves recognition! Whether you think homosexuality is a nurtured attribute society perpetuates with advertising and other social trends, OR, that it is a natural trait of the human biology, it’s acceptance and respect that matters the most.
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Posted By: Melissa HendersonNews