Found over at Bossip:
It’s been a few months now since Frank Ocean wrote his notorious “coming out”/ confessional Tumblr post explaining his “complicated” situation loving a man but still having interest in women. Frank single-handed switched up the Hip Hop scene confessing his sexuality and because of it he has been laying low from publicity. Frank has been choosing the events he attends very wisely, knowing that everyone is watching. But recently, Frank Ocean has been seen finding comforts in the presence of super model Willy Cartier. Willy Cartier is a major men’s model from Vietnam, Senegal & France. Just this week, Frank Ocean brought the international model with him on the GQ red carpet, introducing him as a “friend”. Two pictures were posted of the same Willy Cartier- one with the two meditating together in his home with the caption “No Fear” and one, where it appears, the two are at dinner. We all know Frank Ocean can be very subliminal with his messages, but we can’t help but think this is his “special” way of letting us all know this is his new boyfriend, get used to it.
Frankly, Frank Ocean even has the gay community talking.
While much of the hoopla behind Frank Ocean’s coming out has died down for the hip-hop community, many who are less aware of who he is as an artist have now turned their attention to the significance of his “Thank You” letter that was published shortly before his album debuted this Summer, and it’s meaning for the LGBT community. The subject garnered a long and insightful feature entitled “The Meaning Of Frank Ocean,” which was scribed by one of our contributing writers, Terrance Dean, in the latest issue of The Advocate magazine. (It’s kind of a big deal to have a black man on the cover of The Advocate too). It’s really long but definitely discussion worthy, so we’ve excerpted key portions below:
“It was sheer joy because he was the first national well-known artist to come out and announce his sexuality,” says Lloyd Thurston “Gyant” Dinwiddie, referring to Ocean as the first black artist to come out to a hip-hop audience. “Frank Ocean is cemented in music history forever. Anyone who has walked in the LGBT shoes knows that story. His message related to people, and for him it was a weight lifted off his shoulder.”
July 4, 2012, marked a declaration of freedom for 24-year-old R&B soul singer Ocean. It was his coming-out party, and we’d all been invited to the virtual parade. His image, that of a serious-looking, handsome young man with a strong jaw line, a short beard, and a short fade haircut, was circulating along with his letter. Those who hadn’t previously heard of Ocean quickly learned that his announcement was significant, and especially significant to watchers of hip-hop. But it wasn’t a shock to everyone.
“I was like, What’s the big deal? It’s not like we all don’t know homosexuality exists and has its place in hip-hop,” says Reggie Osse, entertainment attorney, author, former TV executive, and host of The Combat Jack Show. Osse has represented artists including Damon Dash, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Puffy, and DMX. He was instrumental in helping Jay-Z secure his first recording deal.
“I was really happy that Frank Ocean took his life and career into his own hands and made his proclamation,” says Osse. “It’s the first announcement of someone making a statement willingly. But let’s not act like this doesn’t exist.”
Before long music celebrities including Russell Simmons, Solange Knowles, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé began tweeting and posting messages of support for Ocean. Even Odd Future member Tyler the Creator, who’s well-known for his use of the word “fa**ot,” tweeted how proud he was of his brother and friend. It seemed as if the hip-hop industry, which has notoriously been a closed boys’ club that shuns and ostracizes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, had experienced a change of heart. Hadn’t Jay-Z, a towering figure in hip-hop, just recently announced his support of marriage equality, following a message of support by President Obama? Jay-Z had seemingly just given Ocean a pass and ushered him into the boys’ club. And not from afar: Ocean had written and performed on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s hip-hop album Watch the Throne.
“I’m surprised that a lot of young gay people flocked to him, like he was doing something big,” says gay rapper Deadlee. “My first reaction was like he didn’t do anything. It didn’t seem to me like it was that big of a deal. But then I did research and discovered he was a part of Odd Future, and Tyler the Creator, who is always saying ‘fa**ot this’ and ‘fa**ot that.’ I was like, Whoa! This dude [Ocean] never checked him. Maybe they knew the whole time, and they were taking the word back and not tripping on it.”
Reggie Osse, describing homophobia in hip-hop, says, “I had a conversation with rapper Lil B last year. We were talking about the changing values thematically and what these new rappers are doing. However, the old-guard rappers are like Republicans and want things to stay the same. Whereas hip-hop is changing, and many who are born in this culture are taking it to another place. There are some old-school cats who want to keep rap conservative. Some of my friends who are in hip-hop are very adamant that there is no place for gays. They begin quoting the Bible, and they are coming from an antiquated way of thinking.”
“I believe in…one’s right to be free,” says legendary rapper MC Lyte. “When we as a community, be it African American, the entertainment industry, or just the block, allow someone’s sexual, political, or religious preference to cloud our ability to see their true spirit, we lose. We lose the opportunity to fully embrace another one of God’s children. Truthfully, no matter how much an individual would love to point out the differences between themselves and another, we are all one.”
Ocean may have received support by some influential hip-hop figures. But the list of artists who were not willing to discuss him for this article is revealing. B.o.B., Lupe Fiasco, Trey Songz, Jaheim, and Wiz Khalifa declined to discuss the subject. The representatives for Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, and Nicki Minaj said their clients were busy and unavailable for comment.
“I’m an advocate for those in my family and those who I am close to, and I am an advocate for the homosexual community,” says rapper Murs who recently released a shocking music video for his single “Animal Style.” Both the single and video feature a young man as he struggles with his sexual orientation, and portray the conflict he feels as he begins to date another man. Murs plays his boyfriend. In the video, the two men share a kiss. He explains that he spoke with his wife prior to making the video, and she fully supported him and the concept.
Murs faced significant opposition in making the song. “I wanted to do this song for five years, and for five years producers did not want to touch the song,” he says. “They didn’t want to be associated with the subject matter. However, those same producers are now calling me and supporting me and saying they are proud of me.”
Murs says he did the video and song to let his gay friends, associates, and fellow rappers know that he was aware of their being closeted and that he still cared for them. “I wanted to give them their moment and let them know that the door is open and I am going to take a stance for them,” Murs says. “And I think with artists like Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, and myself, homophobia in hip-hop will disappear.
“Teenagers are killing themselves,” he continues. “We have to stop this because people are losing their lives and getting beat to death. It makes me extremely sad. I can’t watch children die.”
Ocean has largely refused to do interviews on this subject, and even in his interview in the British newspaper The Guardian, he doesn’t address the issue of labels.
“A lot of people were giving Frank Ocean props and saying that he was letting everyone come into his world, as opposed to coming out,” Deadlee says. “In his letter he never used the word ‘gay,’ and this guy is getting more props for not even using the word or even identifying in his letter. I’m gay and I’m not afraid to use the word. I hope that Frank Ocean comes to the point of not being afraid to use the ‘gay’ word.”
Though he doesn’t give his sexual orientation a label in the letter, Ocean does describe relationships with women. “Frank Ocean never said he was gay or bisexual, he just said he was in love with a man,” says Ebony Utley, an assistant professor in communication studies at California State University, Long Beach. “It was others who needed to identify and label him instead of him, and allowing him to do it for himself. Let’s let the man define himself… Besides, he was wise not to say anything beyond his letter, and that’s what he needed to sell his record.”
Though the declarations of support for Ocean by 50 Cent and Jay-Z were a milestone in hip-hop, Utley notes, “Frank Ocean is an R&B singer. Let’s be clear, hip-hop hasn’t had its first openly gay artist. No rapper has come out. Honestly, we don’t know what the support will be for an openly gay rapper because one has not come out.”
Singer-rapper-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello wasn’t ashamed to speak about her bisexuality. She was one of the first artists to be signed to Madonna’s record label, Maverick Records, in 1992. Her latest album, Pour une Ame Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, is due out October 9.
On Ndegeocello’s controversial single “Leviticus: Fa**ot,” she spoke candidly about a young man discovering his homosexuality and the rejection from his family.
Though a few brave artists have come out, rising above homophobia will require significant effort from the R&B and hip-hop communities, both gay and straight. Ndegeocello acknowledges the difficulty: “I think it’s harder for men,” she says. “Men need a movement. It’s harder to be black, gay, and male. It makes me have the utmost respect for black gay men in an industry of hypermasculinity.”
For several years hip-hop has been described as being at a tipping point with regard to homophobia, yet the toppling of a pervasive attitude has yet to be achieved. Frank Ocean hasn’t yet said what it means to be Frank Ocean, but with each significant coming-out, the haters have less standing to insist that LGBTs have no place in hip-hop.
What do you think? Did Frank Ocean open the door to gay hip-hop artists being accepted if they come out of the closet, or will it be years before a gay rapper can be open and successful? Please discuss!
You can read the fully article HERE
Brandy previewed tracks off of her new album yesterday. The singer, along with RCA and Chameleon Records, played tracks to an intimate group of media execs, previewing 11 tracks from her upcoming album, Two Eleven, which is set to drop October 16th.
It’s Brandy at her most realized: romantically shaky, vocally sharp and musically sound, thanks to an honors corral of producers and songwriters spanning Sean Garrett, Bangladesh, Frank Ocean, Mario Winans, Hit-Boy, Ester Dean, Harmony and more.
Over the course of her decades-long career, Brandy has become a woman before our eyes, outgrowing the baby-lamb naiveté of 1994′s Brandy and assuming the role of self-actualized woman (2002′s Full Moon). But it was with 2004′s Afrodisiac that she faltered in her steps, openly wallowing in a bitter divorce, before rising above the dancing flames on ’08′s Human. On Two Eleven, she juggles heartache and romantic solace, a nod to past delusions filtered through the hindsight of 33-year-old reticence.
“We gotta stick to the core, which is R&B. I got to bring you back to 2012 with hard beats, but the melodies are soft, and the content of the songs are going to be Brandy.”
Two Eleven, still a work-in-progress set to include 15 tracks, also features the Frank Ocean-written “Scared of Beautiful,” which will become a duet pending the Odd Future singer’s vocal addition. Over double-time instrumentation, Brandy stops seeking reciprocity and focuses inward. “I wonder why there’s no mirrors on these walls no more/ You can’t tell me why you’re so terrified of beautiful,” she sings. She’s looking only to herself – no man to safety-net her feelings – and she is ready to face her reflection.
We’ll have to wait a lil’ longer to hear all of the tracks but, in the meantime, check out her single, Wildest Dreams:
PopoutBrandy tweeted out thank yous to the song’s producers Tha Bizness.
They’ve done great work with Chris Brown (“Strip” “No BS”) and hopefully can do the same with Brandy’s new project.
Two Eleven, named after the singer’s B’day and the date of her mentor Whitney’s death, might just be that comeback she needs.
Rashida Jones was backtrackin’ Tuesday and is playin’ nice to keep the peace.After her comment during an interviewon SpinningPlatter.com last week, the actress hit Twitter to publicly apologize for her comment:
Promoting her romantic comedy “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” Jones revealed her admiration for Frank Ocean, the R&B crooner who opened up this summer about his relationship with another man.
The interview noted that there’s still a need for high-profile folks to come out. Jones offered up Travolta.
“A movie star. Like John Travolta? Come out! Come on. How many masseurs have to come forward? Let’s do this,” she said, referring to numerous massage therapists who have accused the “Savages” actor of making sexual advances.
Rashida tweeted: “I made a thoughtless comment about John Travolta. I sincerely apologize. Nobody’s personal life is my business.”
We all know John gets the side-eye when it comes to the rumors but good for you Rashida on the apology.
Images via Twitter/WENN
Chris Keating Calls R. Kelly A Piece Of S**t And Praises Frank Ocean – “Let’s Gay It Up A Little In R&B”
Chris Keating Praises Frank Ocean And Bashes R.Kelly
‘Yeasayer’ front man Chris Keating put in his two cents about the current state of R&B in a recent interview with Rollingstone Magazine.
After giving controversial R&B crooner R.Kelly a couple of backhanded compliments, he then went on to give props to Frank Ocean….well, kind of.
“I think he [Ocean] is a good new face for the R&B world right now, to kind of usher out – no pun intended – some of these folks,” Keating said.
“Because, let’s get real, R.Kelly is a terrible person. I like R.Kelly and how crazy he is, but he’s a terrible piece of sh*t, a horrible person, really bad all around. Let’s get rid of him. Let’s gay it up a little [in R&B].”
Those are pretty strong words from sir Keating. Do you think Frank will appreciate the shout out?
Rewind back a few weeks ago, Frank made headlines after he posted a letter to his tumblr, describing the first time he fell in love. An unrequited love with a guy, who at the time was occupied with someone else. The letter was a very personal backstory to the album, ‘Channel Orange’ which was released days later, however, fans were left with so many questions and no answers. The main one being; ‘Why now?’.
Frank recently sat down with the UK Guardian, and in an interview constructed of more than typed up pre-meditated answers, he openly talked about why he’s taking so many risks in his career, including the risk of pissing off his label by releasing his shelved Def Jam album as a mixtape and his decision to open up about his sexuality. According to Frank, he wanted to be validated in knowing that the fans who showed up at his show were clapping because they had a real appreciation for him and his music (even after knowing) and it would have took unnecessary effort to continue to change the words to his songs. ‘I don’t fear anybody’, he says.
Check out what else he had to say below (lengthy):
Frank on taking risks such as releasing Nostalgia, Ultra as a mixtape and ‘coming out’
I won’t touch on risky, because that’s subjective. People are just afraid of things too much. Afraid of things that don’t necessarily merit fear. Me putting Nostalgia out … what’s physically going to happen? Me saying what I said on my Tumblr last week? Sure, evil exists, extremism exists. Somebody could commit a hate crime and hurt me. But they could do the same just because I’m black. They could do the same just because I’m American. Do you just not go outside your house? Do you not drive your car because of the statistics? How else are you limiting your life for fear.
On people labeling him ‘courageous’ and why he decided to be open about his sexuality
A lot of people have said that since that news came out. I suppose a percentage of that act was because of altruism; because I was thinking of how I wished at 13 or 14 there was somebody I looked up to who would have said something like that, who would have been transparent in that way. But there’s another side of it that’s just about my own sanity and my ability to feel like I’m living a life where I’m not just successful on paper, but sure that I’m happy when I wake up in the morning, and not with this freakin’ boulder on my chest.”
On the timing of his letter and decision to reveal before his album was released
I knew that I was writing in a way that people would ask questions. I knew that my star was rising, and I knew that if I waited I would always have somebody that I respected be able to encourage me to wait longer, to not say it till who knows when. It was important for me to know that when I go out on the road and I do these things, that I’m looking at people who are applauding because of an appreciation for me,” he says. “I don’t have many secrets, so if you know that, and you’re still applauding … it may be some sort of sick validation but it was important to me. When I heard people talking about certain, you know, ‘pronouns’ in the writing of the record, I just wanted to – like I said on the post – offer some clarity; clarify, before the fire got too wild and the conversation became too unfocused and murky.”
On why he just didn’t change the words ‘him’ to ‘her’ on records like ‘Bad Religion‘ and ‘Forrest Gump‘
When you write a song like Forrest Gump, the subject can’t be androgynous. It requires an unnecessary amount of effort.I don’t fear anybody … ” He laughs, making eye contact at last, his face lighting up, ” … at all. So, to answer your question, yes, I could have easily changed the words. But for what? I just feel like it’s just another time now. I have no interest in contributing to that, especially with my art. It’s the one thing that I know will outlive me and outlive my feelings. It will outlive my depressive seasons.”
On his mystique
“It’s not formulaic,” he says. “It’s not me necessarily trying to preserve mystique. It’s who I am. It’s how I prefer to move. I really don’t think that deeply about it at all, I swear I don’t. I’m just existing.”
Frank also chatted about the messages behind his music, having real pimps in his family which influenced the track, ‘Pyramids‘ as well as attending substance abuse meetings with his uncle, a recovering addict, which influenced songs like ‘Crack Rock‘. An interesting read.
Find the entire interview over at The Guardian
Nas’ “Life Is Good” Album Release Party [Photos]
Life is certainly good for Nas as he celebrated his 10th studio album “Life Is Good” at Bagatelle in NYC. Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Busta Rhymes and more partied with Escobar while Q-Tip was on the one’s and two’s.
K.Michelle is dying for attention following in the footsteps of Frank Ocean and coming out about her sexuality.. She reveals her bi-sexual tendencies.
“I done been around the world/slept with some girls/smoked a little weed, but that don’t define me.”
Just in case you think we’re looking way too deep into it, the girl made her bisexual lifestyle the focus of her song, “Girlfriend,” strategically placed toward the end of her playlist on “0 F*cks Given.”
“If this record makes you feel some type of way/might be a bullet shot out your way/’Cause I’mma throw shade when I get paid,” she sings.
K.Michelle was sure to put a little something in there about her ex-lover MeMpHiTz and his wife Toya Wright.
She pissed off Memphitz and Toya by claiming that Memphitz beat her and stole her money!
Reports came up that since the artist came out about his sexuality, the top retailer, which is known to support anti-LGBT organizations, gave his album the boot.
Target cited Ocean’s decision to release “Channel Orange” via iTunes a week early as the reason for refusing to carry the new music.
“The claims made about Target’s decision to not carry the Frank Ocean album are absolutely false,” they wrote. “Target supports inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our business. Our assortment decisions are based on a number of factors, including guest demand. Target has a longstanding tradition of supporting music and artistry that reflects the diverse landscape of American culture. Our history of partnering with diverse artists includes recent partnerships with a variety of musicians, such as Ricky Martin, B.o.B., and Gloria Estefan.”
Ne-Yo Denies Gay Rumors
R&B hitmaker Ne-Yo is speaking out on rumors regarding his sexuality.
In an interview with Yesi Ortiz of Power 106 earlier this week, the Compound crooner spoke his piece on Frank Ocean’s recent revelation and also addressed long-standing rumors that he himself prefers the peen.
“To each his own, if that’s how he rock, that’s how he rock, you know what I mean. It don’t change the fact that his music is incredible. It don’t change the fact that he’s an incredible artist. He chose to put his personal life out there, and that’s him. I don’t fault people for who they are, if that’s really who you are, you know what I mean. If that’s really who you are then by all means do what you do. I’m not gonna judge you behind that. That’s not my place.
Ne-Yo had this to say in response to the rumors regarding his own pro-panty preference:
Call me ugly or something, let’s think of something else. This whole gay thing has been lingering for a little too long. Say I’m adopted, I’ll take the ninja turtle comments, I’ll take that. Let’s do something else.