It’s been quite a week for LGBT celebrities. Coming out rumors and confirmations have abounded, with Anderson Cooper getting the brightest focus. A young hip-hop musician rises above the crowd, however. Frank Ocean put to rest rampant speculation in advance of his first solo album, Channel Orange, with a powerful and touching statement.
4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide.
Ocean continues the story of his first crush noting that the other man was in a relationship and unavailable. He built on that crushing experience and the joy that preceded it to frame his coming out message, which he dedicates
To my mother, you raised me strong. I know I’m only brave because you were first, so thank you. All of you. For everything good. I feel like a free man.
Given the extra challenges faced by being out and African-American and the notoriously homophobic nature of hip-hop culture, Ocean’s actions are especially bold. (So much so that Billboard ran a special piece on his message.) Ocean goes a step further than a coming out message, too. The songs on his new album include romantic lyrics clearly directed to a male subject, something out singers in any genre rarely do. Hip-hop and rap godfather Russell Simmons, a strong marriage equality advocate and LGBT ally, sums up this bold young singer perfectly.
Today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we? […] Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear.