Hip hop is notorious for reinforcing patriarchal gender norms that are present in our society. It is a male dominated genre with many of the very few female artists even blurring the lines between femininity and masculinity through aggressive lyrics and the wearing of mens clothing. What happens then when a male displays qualities rarely seen in the genre… those of a female?
Frank Ocean is a member of the rap group Odd Future which is led by Tyler the Creator who is known for using a lot of derogatory slurs towards individuals who identify themselves as homosexual. This made it even more interesting when Frank Ocean decided to release a letter on his tumblr back in 2012 in which he came out or made it known publicly that he was homosexual.
Some people just disregarded this new information about the artists personal life and continued to enjoy (or dislike) his music just the same as he did before. But most of us, however, did have our opinions of him and his music altered (both positively and negatively) once finding out about his sexuality.
Numerous people had their opinions of Frank Ocean and his music drastically changed by finding out about his sexuality. Some disliked it solely because they have strong personal feelings about homosexuality where as some others disliked it because it changes the meanings of his songs and lyrics.
In the song “Thinking About You”, Frank reminisces about someone and misses them wondering if they feel the same way about him. He never really states the sex of the mystery person. This song contains the lyrics:
Yes, of course
I remember, how could I forget?
How you feel?
And though you were my first time
A new feel
It won’t ever get old, not in my soul
Not in my spirit, keep it alive
We’ll go down this road
‘Til it turns from color to black and white
The meaning of these lyrics changes when you think about the nature of his sexuality.
Also in the Odd Future song “Oldie” Frank Ocean sings:
“I’m high and im bi, oops I mean I’m straight”
Others showed Frank Ocean love and respect for having the courage to come out even though the genre of music he creates usually conveys messages of sexual conquest of multiple women.
It is already difficult for people to express something that personal about themselves even without the backlash from the whole hip hop culture. This must have taken a great amount of courage on his part. Homosexuals viewed him as a spokesperson for the gay community who listens to hip hop and has been largely ignored.