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A few days ago a monumental thing happened in the Hip Hop/R&B community: an up and coming performer Frank Ocean came out. A rising star, ready to take the heat for the choices he makes in his personal life, finally put on Front Street for the world he caters to, to judge him. The noise has been deafening from each side of the social palette, and it’s a true sign of the times as we see the story unfold.
For those of you who don’t know who Frank Ocean is, he’s affiliated with the underground darlings of Oddfuture (or to some of you the dudes behind Loiter Squad on Adult Swim) he’s not the violent, weirdo Tyler the Creator, or cartoonish Earl Sweatshirt, but a crooning R&B singer who’s style is an amalgamation of Kid Cudi’s best moments, and some of Kayne’s best insights into what it’s like to feel like an outsider (when he was one).
Coming out in the hyper-masculine world of Hip Hop is a massive deal. The word “faggot” is thrown around easily, and with little repercussions considering that Black America is a faith based culture, and still, remains unchecked with such slurs. Rappers openly talk about raping men in prison, or rather be dead than ever been seen with a man, in the biblical sense. In the Hip Hop world, even though all other sins are championed, and bragged about, this is the one that God shall smite the sinner for committing. Very logical.
That’s why it’s such a big deal. Ocean isn’t a household name, but he’s a guy willing to admit publicly, that’s had a relationship with other men, and that’s brave when you’re coming up in a world that is very ready to wonder why you aren’t throwing piles of money at women, objectifying them at any cost The base lyrical content is LOOK AT ME – SEE WHAT I’VE GOT! The average rapper has no time for honest lyrics about his feelings, or what love is. Sure, we have some exceptions to the rule, but as the music culture stands right now, it’s dominated by one thing: The Club Hit. That’s it. Forgot writing a quality record, or trying to feign a solid career, it’s about the moment, and nothing else. Get that money while you’re hot. To a lot of folks, this mentality is crippling when considering an artist like Ocean, and the position he was in 2 weeks ago, vs. where he’s at today.
It’s a wonderful thing to see someone embrace who they are, and let their artistic output be judged, by content, not marketing dollars or bullshit pig fucker Wal Mart branded hype.
Some of the Tweets, and Youtube comments show some real ugly hatred for someone just admitted who he is, and that’s a disgusting thing in 2012. As we fight back and forth politically if gay people should be allowed to marry, this is just another footnote in the fight, and as we wait for final judgment, we should applaud and champion such young performers who have the gall to come out and tell the world they won’t live in the shadows. Drake, you need to take some notes, homey. Everyone knows, and you could set the bar even higher. Your base is already set in stone, why act like you’re this mega pimp when word around the campfire is you love the cock. Take a page from Ocean’s playbook. And what’s more is a younger, more socially adept generation is taking notes, and like Jackie Robinson with baseball, Ocean is breaking barriers. His naysayers, and tomato throwers will cower to the shadows of history as he makes something of himself. And even if he’s a flash in the pan artist who happened to write some interesting thoughts on some solid mixtapes, he’s breaking free of social constructs while others are too scared to mar the public’s opinion of them.
Ocean is not, and this should be celebrated, and championed. An artist has many faces, and layers; whomever they choose to love is not a barometer of their talent. It’s another layer to the heartbreak they can write about, no matter the sex involved. Chris Brown beat a woman up, and he’s hardly apologetic about it, and yet he’s a bigger star than he was prior, that’s the kind of mentality that’s rife within the Hip Hop world.
Novocain, and Swim Good were solid songs, and with each appearance we’re not underestimating the hype behind Ocean, and many are hoping this is a blip on his radar as a person who’s influence will spread far and wide. Music is a language of many. Why rob someone who can speak to all walks of life, and impose some kind of simplistic base? Frank Ocean is a champion for saying how he felt, and how he feels. More men need to accept what they are, what they are not and let love rule. No one is begging you to jump in the bed, they just want equal respect as all human do, no matter what the creed, color or sexual affiliation.