Just two weeks ahead of the release of his debut solo LP Channel Orange, Odd Future member Frank Ocean posted a letter on his Tumblr blog yesterday where he detailed a former relationship with a man — his “first love” — that had a profound impact on the singer/rapper. “4 summers ago, I met somebody,” Ocean wrote. “I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together time would glide.”
Some began to question Ocean’s sexuality following a listening session for his forthcoming album, when it became apparent the song “Forrest Gump” uses the pronoun “he” rather than “she”. But the New Orleans artist decided to address the issue directly and clear the air on his own terms. Catch his full letter below.
While Frank’s confession of his feelings to his former romantic interest didn’t go over so well (“He did his best. But he wouldn’t admit the same… It was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs.”), he notes in the letter that he told the story to a few friends. “I’m sure these people kept me alive,” he wrote. “Kept me safe. Sincerely. These are the folks I wanna thank from the floor of my heart.”
The letter itself was originally intended for the “thank you” section in Ocean’s Channel Orange LP liner notes. Along those lines, he also gave thanks to “his first love,” adding “i’m grateful for you. Grateful that even though it wasn’t what I hoped for and even though it was never enough, it was. Some things never are…and we were. I won’t forget you.”
Following this online revelation, Frank’s fellow Odd Future member Tyler, The Creator tweeted, “My big brother finally fucking did that. Proud of that nigga cause I know that shit is difficult or whatever. Anyway. I’m a toilet.”
Out country songstress Chely Wright added, “”I can’t think of a better way for Frank to celebrate Independence Day.”
Meanwhile, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons wrote the following in a letter to Global Grind:
“Today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we? I am profoundly moved by the courage and honesty of Frank Ocean. Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear. These types of secrets should not matter anymore, but we know they do.”
“Your letter is revolutionary not least of all because it is about love. It is about falling in love and feeling rejected and carrying both that love and rejection with you through life. The male pronoun of the object of your desire is practically incidental.”
Ocean’s coming out follows CNN personality Anderson Cooper’s decision to openly declare that he’s gay earlier this week, and a recent Entertainment Weekly cover story on “The New Art Of Coming Out”.