written by Jamal Ibe (Contributing Writer)
Frank Ocean is having a good week. On July 10th, he made his debut television performance on Late night with Jimmy Fallon. That same day his album, Channel Orange, was pushed ahead of schedule by a week for digital download. Early sales predictions see Channel Orange entering the charts with a very impressive 110-125k copies sold from just the digital downloads alone.
Coldplay has selected Frank Ocean to open select dates of their European tour in July and August. He has been the hot topic on various social networks for weeks now.
What pushed this sudden surge of attention? Frank Ocean decided to share something personal and honest with the world…his first love was with another man.
Rumors first sparked after a music reviewer noticed that the subject in a few of Frank’s songs was “he” instead of “she.” Then, on July 4th, Frank took independence and freedom to another level when he posted a letter on his tumblr page. The 4 paragraphed letter vividly described the feelings and emotions he experienced when, at 19, he realized he had fallen in love with a guy he was seeing. His bold and blatant honesty was/is something extremely rare from a male in music industry; 10x more so for an African American male.
The public reaction was mixed. Many, including other artists, supported his honesty and bravery. However, there was also some backlash. There were individuals who claimed they would no longer support Ocean or his music, which is odd considering that his lyrics and music had not changed since he posted his letter. Either way, one thing was very clear, the spotlight was on Frank Ocean. Def Jam didn’t miss that fact and pushed up the digital release for his Channel Orange album. Fans have not only purchased his music but also posted pics on instagram, praised their favorite songs on Facebook + Twitter, and have encouraged others to buy it as well.
It appears that Frank’s moment of truth will work in his favor; at least for the moment. Thankfully, he has more than enough raw, authentic talent to carry him through.
The situation does make one wonder though…how many other male artists longing for the spotlight could be contemplating their own moment to come out. We all know they exist in the industry, singing to the females but looking at the males.
So now could be the time to follow in Ocean’s footsteps. but will anyone? At the end of the day it is nice to see someone not only bring a breath of fresh air to the music industry but also the African American male community.
Frank Ocean, I commend you.
CONTACT JAMAL IBE’