Unless you live under a rock or were a victim of thunderstorm-inflicted power outages this week, you’ve probably heard about Odd Future affiliated R&B singer Frank Ocean’s big revelation over the Independence Day holiday. After one attentive blogger went to a listening party for Ocean’s soon- to-be-released Def Jam debut Channel Orange and noted the selective use of male pronouns in a few love songs, Ocean took to his Tumblr account to release a letter originally meant to serve as the album’s “Thank You” section. In it, he detailed a friendship with another man that progressed into love and the crushing heartbreak he suffered when he professed his feelings only to be rejected. It was a devastatingly beautiful read and a rare moment for R&B, a genre with legends that have gone to their graves never having addressed rumors about their sexuality.
You’ve probably seen the response to Frank’s letter too, the social media chatter, the well-meaning think pieces, and the mean-spirited bigotry. The prevailing sentiment around the ‘net is one of support, but as the deluge of music blog content creation has come roaring back into post-holiday action, it is apparent that we, as a community, are not properly equipped to discuss matters of sexuality with the delicacy that they require. Too many scribes are gloriously misguided in their examination of Frank’s letter and its implications, and it seems as if we need a set of ground rules on how to approach this dialogue going forward. It’s a valuable discourse, but it needs to continue without the unfounded conclusions, self-righteous dogma and attention-grabbing click bait we’ve seen all week.
Here’s how NOT to talk about Frank Ocean’s sexuality.
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