Yesterday, it was reported that Frank Ocean allegedly opened up about his sexuality. With his new project being released later this month, This Is Max Online reported that on the songs “Bad Religion,” “Pink Matter” and ”Forrest Gump” you can hear him sing about being in love. She goes on to say that there are quite obvious words used like “him” and not “her.” Yet other reports say sexuality has not been mentioned once. This blog post created much havoc and even had the Odd Future affiliate trending on Twitter- for the right and wrong reasons. Anyone who has ever listened to Frank Ocean knows he is a crafty writer and is great at telling stories. He’s very in tuned with historical social events and effeminate emotions that extend beyond shouting luxury car labels or blowing $100k on sneakers- or girls’ new ass. His music is always left up to interpretation.
Earlier that day, Anderson Cooper’s coming out story touched on the importance of people sharing intimate details of what goes on inside his or her bedroom. The fact of the matter is: we need positive examples in our community that say you can have a successful career and still be mainstream. We should be invited to the table to sit with everyone. There’s no corner for big scary infectious gay people. Cooper’s situation should remind us, no matter how blatant or juvenile some think ‘coming out’ is- it still matters. Celebrities give us humility. The public wants celebrities to be down-to-earth and candid, so when they decide to share that information we should listen.
Some would say sexuality is overrated and exclusive; however, in a world where gays are treated as second-class citizens, sexuality is everything but synonymous to those two conditions.
I’m not sure if Monday was a hoax dubbed as ‘Gay Day’ or maybe we’re just going to have a slow news week. However, much like any celebrity that discloses his or her sexuality, these cases provide a backdrop to kick off much needed discussions on sexuality and disclosure. From my experiences growing up, my friends and I didn’t have a huge parade or cocktail party when we found out each other’s sexuality. Neither did I in high school round up my closest friends and delivered a State of My Sexuality Address. When I was ready to make known my sexuality, I did.
Many gay and lesbian people are not completely transparent about their sexuality, and that is tolerable. Developing a sense of self-awareness comes in stages. Nobody is arguing that sexuality shouldn’t be private, but when it’s shared there’s no shame in discussing.
I wish that the Frank Ocean and Cooper situation would truly be a teachable moment for young black gays; however, I’m certain that the information will be lost. Coming out for African Americans is never easy and probably will never be with the continued unconstructive stigmas and attitudes towards gays. As black gay men, we are all aware of the possible consequences for broadcasting one’s sexuality. Using this awareness, we have a responsibility to our own community to foster an environment where people feel comfortable sharing. Despite the debate, Cooper coming out the closet is news to most and if Ocean had actually come out that would be news also. Let’s not debate if sexuality is newsworthy, but rather hope one day it won’t be.