To say that Frank Ocean’s life has changed in the blink of an eye would be incorrect. Ocean was already on the verge of superstardom, but on Independence Day, Ocean revealed to the world via a touching and poetic letter that his first love was a man. And despite concern that his sexual revelation would halt his career, Ocean received a flood of support from several music luminaries and his debut album, Channel Orange, recently debuted at No. 2 on the charts.
Ocean did more than transform his life — he transformed the landscape of music. And in a rare interview, the game-changing singer finally explained the thing that started it all — the powerful coming out letter.
Breaking out of his typically silent shell, Ocean did a rare interview with the Guardian and spoke about the origins and impact of his letter. Many people have called his coming out a sheer act of bravery, but Ocean explains that he was trying to be an example for young people.
“… I was thinking of how I wished at 13 or 14 there was somebody I looked up to who would have said something like that, who would have been transparent in that way,” said Ocean. “But there’s another side of it that’s just about my own sanity and my ability to feel like I’m living a life where I’m not just successful on paper, but sure that I’m happy when I wake up in the morning, and not with this freakin’ boulder on my chest.”
As Ocean explained in the infamous Tumblr post, he wrote the letter back in December 2011 to include in the sleeve-notes of his album and he hoped to avoid any confusion about his obvious lyrics about men.
“I knew that I was writing in a way that people would ask questions,” he explains. “I knew that my star was rising, and I knew that if I waited I would always have somebody that I respected be able to encourage me to wait longer, to not say it till who knows when. It was important for me to know that when I go out on the road and I do these things, that I’m looking at people who are applauding because of an appreciation for me.”
He added, “I don’t have many secrets, so if you know that, and you’re still applauding … it may be some sort of sick validation but it was important to me.”
Read the rest of the lengthy article here and check out some other brave — and altruistic — black artists who came out as well after the cut. –nicholas robinson