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"How Loving Can We Be?": Frank Ocean coming out

“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?”

Those are the words of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons which come on the heels of popular singer-songwriter Frank Ocean’s letter which announced that he was homosexual. This kind of news is not only huge in regards to hip-hop music but popular music in general. It is already difficult enough for someone to have the courage to come out, but what about when that person has millions of fans, and is the first person to do something like that in their genre?

Frank Ocean took a huge step just before his debut album is set to be released, by publishing a letter online which detailed an intimate relationship that he was in with another man, one that caused him a great amount of distress that he couldn’t live with anymore and had to make public. We have seen a lot of artists come out of the closet later on in their careers (George Michael, Michael Stipe) but that was normally after they had experience their greatest level of success, where Ocean is only beginning to reach that level. It shows a great amount of courage that he is letting people know something which will allow him to feel more free and to be able to make the most honest, heartfelt music possible knowing that he has the support of fans and other artists.

While being homosexual in our society has changed a great deal in the past thirty years, there is still a great deal of stigma that exists when it comes to musicians, celebrities, or people in general coming out. That is why the amount of support that Ocean has received has been nothing short of amazing, and that there has to be more support when it comes to people coming out. Celebrities like him are role models, and if a youth who is struggling to come out may see someone like him going through a tough time doing so, they may be able to make that choice to better their lives.

Read Frank Ocean’s letter.