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Hate Tweets to Frank Ocean: VIDEO


A website chronicles the tweets that have been made about Frank Ocean's coming out earlier this month, many of them hateful, and allows readers to tweet back.

OceanSasha Frere-Jones writes about Ocean's album in The New Yorker:

Though musicians such as John Mayer and Pharrell Williams contribute to “channel ORANGE,” and there are plenty of string sections and massed voices, the album never feels crowded, because Ocean’s aesthetic favors his lyrics. In “Bad Religion,” the album’s emotional center, Ocean takes a ride with a cabdriver, and asks him to keep the meter running while he sings about religion. “If it brings me to my knees, it’s a bad religion,” he says. Later, he bends the phrase: “It’s a bad religion to be in love with someone who could never love you.” It’s a virtuosic song—as he sings about having “three lives balanced on my head like steak knives,” the music is a daredevil series of figures that cover a large territory and rarely overlap: marching-band snare drums, a string section, handclaps, and every station of Ocean’s voice, from a strangled falsetto to a clear, metallic cry. There’s also a ten-minute song about watching your girlfriend get dressed to go to work at a strip club called Pyramids. It flies by.

“Channel ORANGE” reinvigorates R. & B. by flouting the rules of the genre. Like the writer Sheila Heti and the filmmaker Lena Dunham, Ocean is deciding what it means to talk about friendship, drugs, love, and sex, and is setting the parameters for shame and regret in a world in which failure is simply a way of saying hello.

2_oceanAnd over at Box Turtle Bulletin, Timothy Kincaid celebrates Ocean:

Perhaps it is that he is skilled and talented. Perhaps it is the stark honesty within the poetry of his lyrics. Perhaps it was just the right moment. But the urban music world has coalesced around Ocean in a nearly universally supportive way.

And for what may be the first time in that genre, Ocean may have benefitted from his sexual honesty. His album is selling very well.

This is encouraging and a blessing in so many ways. Obviously, as a confirmation of the polls that show a shift in support for marriage equality among African American voters, this bodes well for future marriage votes – particularly in Maryland this November.

But even more importantly, this new attitude holds promise for those most impacted by HIV, young gay black men. Perhaps the single greatest factor in avoiding seroconversion are the voices in our heads, our perceptions of our own worth, and our sense of belonging. And for many young black men, acceptance if their own sexuality as being of equal value to heterosexuality comes too late.

Ocean kicked off his Channel Orange Tour in Seattle on Friday night.

Watch him perform "Bad Religion" at the opener, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. His album is in stores tomorrow make sure you get it at best buy

    also it seems he is now the overnight celeb.he didnt ask for it. check out pictures of him being stalked by the paparazzi yesterday in toronto

    Posted by: treasn | Jul 16, 2012 10:59:33 AM

  2. I listened to Bad Religion the other day and it is In.Tense. Holy cow. He's a very eloquent songwriter, I hope his success is more than situational, he's really earned his spot in the American songbook.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Jul 16, 2012 11:16:35 AM

  3. I listened to Bad Religion the other day and it is In.Tense. Holy cow. He's a very eloquent songwriter, I hope his success is more than situational, he's really earned his spot in the American songbook.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Jul 16, 2012 11:16:42 AM

  4. In other news, water is wet. Seriously, does this surprise anyone? People let their hate flag fly on the internet and through twitter because they never get called out. Just look at YouTube comments on cute kitten videos for other examples. And the grammar and spelling on every single one of those tweets is so atrocious, you can tell what type of people are doing it: ignorant morons.

    Posted by: AJ | Jul 16, 2012 11:44:48 AM

  5. That New Yorker article is so off the mark. Frank Ocean is like Lena Dunham? Barf.

    Posted by: utahime | Jul 16, 2012 12:22:14 PM

  6. Keep up the coverage, Towleroad! I think Frank Ocean's event marks a sea change -- (pun!) -- in the way LGBT artists will be respected and valued within American pop culture. Other than "Brokeback Mountain," we haven't really seen straight America choose to take a love story with LGBT characters and apply it to themselves in a heartfelt, powerful way.

    America *wants* to understand what we're going through. They are craving a human, honest depiction of what it's like to be LGBT. We need to feed that curiosity with a richer artistic output than three hundred remixes of "Let's Have A Kiki."

    Posted by: GMB | Jul 16, 2012 1:21:02 PM

  7. Sad that he's getting crap on Twitter.


    To be honest, I've heard better by artists who were out right from the start. Of course, they don't make the news, just the bargain bin. We never support our own unless the straight people do it first. Sad.

    Posted by: Randy | Jul 16, 2012 4:12:37 PM

  8. Randy, I disagree on a few things. Naturally, I think his music is pretty great. He's getting rave reviews from the Music literati, too -- Rolling Stone, Billboard and Pitchfork have all raved. But that aside, I really don't think an LGBT crowd routinely supports artists only after the straights like them. Just a few current examples: most of my gay friends continue to hate Adam Lambert -- I *never* hear him played out in gay bars -- and "Smash" has yet to draw a big gay following. Similarly, bands like Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend and Bloc Party have gay frontmen, but the gays are too busy rocking out to their straight (or slightly bi) female divas to even know who these HUGELY popular bands are.

    I'm actually a fan of the idea that straight people should make art for gay people, and gay people should make art for straight people, and every combination thereof. But when I look at the output of our most ambitious gay artists, I see a tiny stream of ingenuity flowing alongside a massive river of cliches and stereotypes. One thing you can say about America's ethnic minorities that differs from our sexual minorities: they quickly learned how to make their stories universal. On the whole, I simply don't think the gays have done that yet. Frank Ocean has.

    Posted by: GMB | Jul 16, 2012 6:51:27 PM

  9. GMB, sounds like you have resentment for any gay person who's not black and not acting super macho/masculine. Your anti gay and anti fem rant above does NOT make me want to support the hip hop community knowing it's people like you that drive our gay kids to suicide.

    Posted by: KM | Jul 16, 2012 9:27:24 PM

  10. @ GMB

    We get it. You like your Frank Ocean. Throwing the LGBT community under the bus while praising ethnic minorities isnt going to make the gay community more sympathetic to your point. Especially when ethnic minorities like yourself have made a career out of belittling LGBT.

    Posted by: IndieMovieFan | Jul 16, 2012 9:30:45 PM

  11. What has Frank Ocean done for the gay community other than come out and say he's been with a guy once? We hae farrr more out gay artists who devote their time to gay youth and our rights

    Posted by: AJ | Jul 16, 2012 9:32:37 PM

  12. AJ

    Who?? Names and links please!

    Coming out at the start of your career is far more effective then what NPH et all have done. Fame whores who only get involved in LGBT stuff because they HAVE to.

    Also, talk about missing the point GMB made Kim et al. Like his whole first paragraph.

    GMB, I completely agree with you but I have to say re Grizzly Bear, Bloc Party et al, gay people seem to just like very cheesy mainstream music like musicals or lady gaga. Not sure why? But they seem to BUT then I think you're talking about a different generation. People on Towleroad who read and comment on this site are older and very mainstream gays, not edgy or interested in different culture that isn't white and mainstream.

    I think if you head off to younger gay sites like The New Gay, reactions are different. Also, there are a lot of gays who post on Gawker but not on here, so again these people love that type of music, so it's def a generational and cultural thing.

    There have been some great tweets though, I especially like this one from this black typical rap image and attitude. He was insulting Ocean for being a fag, then obv got the album, then sent Ocean a tweet saying 'i am sorry for what I said. Your album is actually excellent' another tweet a guy was saying that Ocean has made him think differently about gay people.

    Also I think the greatest achievement about this is the fact in all his sell out concerts, straight guys have been singing word for word all the songs to Bad Religion and Forrest Gump.

    There has been so much change it's been phenomenal but I can't imagine any of the main gay sites will cover this as they aren't really that keen on his music as it's not Lady Gaga.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jul 19, 2012 5:23:39 AM

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