A week before Channel Orange was dropped, Frank Ocean posted an open letter to his tumblr page detailing his first experience with love –which happened to be with a man. The reaction from the industry and fans ranged from labeling his move as heroic to some while others felt this was all a publicity stunt or marketing ploy to sell records.
In a recent GQ feature, Frank gets candid while telling the publication exactly why he felt it was necessary to be open about his sexuality. He also discussed his fears, how he thought it would affect his career and whether or not he’s checking for the ladies at all.
Peep the excerpts:
On Why He Wrote the Open Letter on Tumblr I had Skyped into a listening session that Def Jam was hosting for Channel Orange, and one of the journalists, very harmlessly—quotation gestures in the air, “very harmlessly”—wrote a piece and mentioned that. I was just like, “F-ck it. Talk about it, don’t talk about it—talk about this.” No more mystery. Through with that.
The night I posted it, I cried like a f-cking baby. It was like all the frequency just clicked to a change in my head. All the receptors were now receiving a different signal, and I was happy. I hadn’t been happy in so long. I’ve been sad again since, but it’s a totally different take on sad. There’s just some magic in truth and honesty and openness.
On His Fears About Coming Out I had those fears. In black music, we’ve got so many leaps and bounds to make with acceptance and tolerance in regard to that issue. It reflects something just ingrained, you know. When I was growing up, there was nobody in my family—not even my mother—who I could look to and be like, “I know you’ve never said anything homophobic.” So, you know, you worry about people in the business who you’ve heard talk that way. Some of my heroes coming up talk recklessly like that. It’s tempting to give those views and words—that ignorance—more attention than they deserve. Very tempting.
On why he felt as though he couldn’t keep it a secret or be on the DL The pitch is, “You’ll encounter less resistance in life if you say, ‘No, I’m going to just keep dating girls.’ ” But then you’re minimizing the resistance that you’re feeling from yourself on the inside. There’s so much upkeep on that sh-t. So much upkeep on a lie. But at least everybody else is cool with how you carry on with your life. That’s what they say. But know what fear does to your strength. You don’t even feel smart or capable. You just feel broken—and not just your heart. Just a broken person.
On If He’s Bisexual You can move to the next question. I’ll respectfully say that life is dynamic and comes along with dynamic experiences, and the same sentiment that I have towards genres of music, I have towards a lot of labels and boxes and sh-t. I’m in this business to be creative—I’ll even diminish it and say to be a content provider. One of the pieces of content that I’m for f-ck sure not giving is porn videos. I’m not a centerfold. I’m not trying to sell you sex. People should pay attention to that in the letter: I didn’t need to label it for it to have impact. Because people realize everything that I say is so relatable, because when you’re talking about romantic love, both sides in all scenarios feel the same sh-t. As a writer, as a creator, I’m giving you my experiences. But just take what I give you. You ain’t got to pry beyond that. I’m giving you what I feel like you can feel. The other sh-t, you can’t feel. You can’t feel a box. You can’t feel a label. Don’t get caught up in that sh-t. There’s so much something in life. Don’t get caught up in the nothing. That sh-t is nothing, you know? It’s nothing. Vanish the fear.