The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas writes in her Essence column that Frank Ocean's fans have been supportive and politicallly correct about the singer's revelation that he was in love with a man — but she wonders whether the love fest will last.
… Without labeling himself as "gay" or "bi," Ocean offered a heartfelt (and heartbreaking) account of his first love, a man. "I don't have any secrets I need kept anymore," Ocean concluded. "I feel like a free man."
… I am proud of Ocean for getting free, but I am also worried about where he goes from here. I can't help but recall how Lemon, the first Black male national news anchor to come out, characterized reactions to homosexuality in the Black community when he came out a year ago. Explaining the risks that come with being an openly gay black man, Lemon said, "In the black community they think you can pray the gay away." He also noted pressures to attain certain ideals of "manhood." Those pressures are tenfold in hip-hop.
Since the big reveal, a slew of rappers have come forth to support Ocean, including members of Odd Future, plus Busta Rhymes and Trina. Ocean's fans have been largely supportive, from applauding him to noting they would "still" enjoy his music, despite the pronouns. So far, everyone's been pretty PC or is operating by a "nothing nice to say" vow of silence. I wonder how long this lasts, and what comes next for the undoubtedly talented Ocean. He is a first in popular hip-hop, and as such, there is no precedent.
Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire piece at Essence.com.
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