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Music Mogul Russell Simmons Reacts To Frank Ocean's Coming Out: 'We Love You'

RussellSimmonsRussell Simmons, one of the leading voices in the music industry and a fairly influential figure on the human rights scene, penned a blog post today congratulating singer Frank Ocean for coming out of the closet:

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, and because of that I decided to write this short statement of support for one of the greatest new artists we have. 

His gifts are undeniable. His talent, enormous. His bravery, incredible. His actions this morning will uplift our consciousness and allow us to become better people. Every single one of us is born with peace and tranquility in our heart.  Frank just found his.

Frank, we thank you. We support you. We love you.

With Simmons and collaborators Jay-Z and Kanye West behind him, there's virtually no way Ocean will feel any backlash from coming out. And that, as Martha Stewart would say ten years ago, when the idea of an openly gay hip-hop artist was a simple fantasy, is a good thing.

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Comments

  1. Ad Bi-phobia: it absolutly exists and should be adressed. If you are a gay man and you like men but you chose to reject bi men in what context could this be not understood as discrimination?
    Same goes for women, obviously.

    I'm not even bi but I think it astounding how often commenters state that the bi should go elsewhere for support.
    To be more exact: I'm often quite taken aback how much prejudice against lesbians, straights and the already mentioned bisexuals exist. Shouldn't a community who knows so much about discrimination understand better that other "groups" also are diverse and be more broad-minded?

    Other than that: Good Luck to Mr. Ocean...

    Posted by: scylla | Jul 5, 2012 2:54:46 PM


  2. Typical Rick misogyny. You're wildly threatened by women. It's pathetic.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 5, 2012 3:01:10 PM


  3. Good for Russel Simmons. Love that man.

    Bisexuals, get a grip. For as much as you all resent being seen as preverted, almost every comment you attain from a bisexual is how they can 'get' anyone. Really living up to your classy image there.

    Posted by: IonMusic | Jul 5, 2012 3:02:03 PM


  4. why so much anger towards bisexuality? if that's the case, take the "b" out of lgbt because that's what it stands for and supposedly we're all supposed to be a community. i dont care if frank is bisexual or on the cusp of realising he's gay. i'm just glad that an immense talent in the black community has started/carried on the conversation. the issue isnt "black people are homophobic" i mean i as a black man rarely see black gay figures in gay media so there's barely been anyone to start or carry on the conversation within the community which would in turn open people's eyes and move them toward acceptance and equality

    Posted by: PJ | Jul 5, 2012 3:02:08 PM


  5. I have nothing against bisexuals or bisexuality (how could I as a gay man, without being a major hypocrite) but I do resent this notion that gays need to consistently admit to being bi-ish in order to show acceptance or tolerance for bisexuals. It seems us just saying we're okay with you being you, is not good enough for the bi communityy. We as gays and lesbians need to come out and claim "yes, we too have bi tendencies. You're okay" to validate them. No, we don't all have bi tendencies. You do. That's great for you. Really. And there's not anything wrong with that, but don't go around telling people who they are and maybe they'll be more embracing of who you are.

    Posted by: USC Trojan Fan | Jul 5, 2012 3:05:35 PM


  6. Frank Ocean has been writing for big named artists for years, karbotian, who are these "musician" friends of yours? I'm not a musician and I've heard of his name at least a year ago. Please stop hating on a talented man, with a solid soulful voice and meaningful music. (that's also including myotto).

    I was on youtube listening to some of his recent music and there were a lot more positive commentators than there were negative, soooo...

    Either way, his new album 'Channel Orange' comes out July 17. I'll be supporting him. Black, lgbt and open AND talented. There's no reason not to.

    Also, I have never placed my penis in a vagina, so rick, as the late DIVA Whitney Houston asked Diane Sawyer, "Show me the receipts."

    Posted by: B | Jul 5, 2012 3:07:53 PM


  7. Frank Ocean has been writing for big named artists for years, karbotian, who are these "musician" friends of yours? I'm not a musician and I've heard of his name at least a year ago. Please stop hating on a talented man, with a solid soulful voice and meaningful music. (that's also including myotto).

    I was on youtube listening to some of his recent music and there were a lot more positive commentators than there were negative, soooo...

    Either way, his new album 'Channel Orange' comes out July 17. I'll be supporting him. Black, lgbt and open AND talented. There's no reason not to.

    Also, I have never placed my penis in a vagina, so rick, as the late DIVA Whitney Houston asked Diane Sawyer, "Show me the receipts."

    Posted by: B | Jul 5, 2012 3:07:57 PM


  8. First of all, unless and until Frank Ocean himself says that he's bisexual I believe he came out as GAY. Read what he wrote. The he'd been with women and thought that was all there was until he fell in love with a man and experienced emotions he didn't know were possible. That sounds pretty gay to me.

    There are a few strains of black CULTURE which tend to be homophobic, the black church and hyper-masculine urban culture which is both misogynistic and anti-gay. Much of it also glorifies crime and dismisses formal education, which only perpetuates stereotypes and furthers poverty without taking responsibility for it, and that needs to be confronted from within the community.

    But things ARE changing with regards to homophobia and people like Frank Ocean are part of that, as are statements like Russell Simmons'. Every little bit counts. I'd never heard of Frank Ocean until a few days ago but after doing some research he's apparently well-known, with his previous album showing up on several year's best lists. In my opinion his use of auto-tuning renders his music cold and mechanical instead of having the depth of feeling usually associated with R&B, but we all know what opinions are often compared to. It's not my cup of tea, but I respect his willingness and NEED to come out and the power that doing so can have. Better he do so than be like Queen Latifah.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 5, 2012 3:09:25 PM


  9. PJ, and how much gay representation do you see in the black community? It's easy and all too convenient for gay black people to constantly try to 'school' and confront gay people for the divide, but rarely if ever do you see the same dire desire for them to ever confront the heterosexual black community for their lack of exposure and acceptance into LGBT. And I do believe more and more gays are noticing this.

    Posted by: Dynex | Jul 5, 2012 3:11:02 PM


  10. MYOTTO i wouldnt say his music is terrible but you're right, everyone knows what they like when it comes to music. and for some, hiphop/r&b arent what they're into. but frank isnt an artist that's lost in obscurity or terrible by any means. musically he's like a mix of trey songz, anthony hamilton, and drake and he's on the verge of blowin up so while i and others who are fans of fresh underground artists know who he is, the general public dont.

    Posted by: PJ | Jul 5, 2012 3:13:45 PM


  11. Dynex,

    I actually have an interesting story on that. Recently was reading an article on USA Today about the backlash within the African American community toward Obama's endorsement of same sex marriage. One gay African American commentator responds, after a sea of homophobic remarks by straight African American commentators, and this gay poster goes on a tirade claiming this article must have been written by a white gay man. How the white gay man is the cause of so much disdain between the communities, completely overlooking the many homophobic remarks by his share of the black community right in his face. I've often thought the reason the tensions exist IS precisley becauseGLBT African Americans are so busy calling the gay community racist that they are too timid to actually challenge the homophobia within their own African American demographic.

    Posted by: Michelle | Jul 5, 2012 3:14:54 PM


  12. Rick, that was one of the most ridiculous posts you have ever made.

    NOT ALL OF US HAVE A DESIRE TO SLEEP WITH WOMEN. Nor do we need to in order to grasp whether we want to.

    Posted by: Art Smith | Jul 5, 2012 3:17:34 PM


  13. @ Caliban....you're post was amazing. From the consequences of what hip hop culture promotes, to the benefits of Fran Ocean being forthcoming, and every articulate word inbetween. Thank you for expressing that right on point.

    Posted by: Art Smith | Jul 5, 2012 3:19:13 PM


  14. Rick- please STFU already. That first comment you made was laughable.

    Posted by: J.J | Jul 5, 2012 3:20:05 PM


  15. I appreciate that Russell Simmons and others are supporting acceptance and open dialogue about sexuality and relationships, but "I-had-feelings-for-a-man-once" is, indeed, NOT an "orientation."

    Frank Ocean may have used his story to open the door to talk about it in the future, but at the moment I don't know whether that conversation will see him saying that he is gay, bi, or essentially straight with a one-off experience. Or maybe he hasn't figured that out yet, which is okay, too.
    The headlines and commentaries slapping labels onto him will unfairly make him out to be a liar no matter what he says tomorrow.
    Let's just thank him for being open about this one experience (for now) and hope that other male and female artists (whether they are gay, straight, bi or avoiding publicly labeling themselves) will feel more free to discuss or even mention a same-sex romance, sexual experience or crush.

    Posted by: Gregv | Jul 5, 2012 3:50:50 PM


  16. I appreciate that Russell Simmons and others are supporting acceptance and open dialogue about sexuality and relationships, but "I-had-feelings-for-a-man-once" is, indeed, NOT an "orientation."

    Frank Ocean may have used his story to open the door to talk about it in the future, but at the moment I don't know whether that conversation will see him saying that he is gay, bi, or essentially straight with a one-off experience. Or maybe he hasn't figured that out yet, which is okay, too.
    The headlines and commentaries slapping labels onto him will unfairly make him out to be a liar no matter what he says tomorrow.
    Let's just thank him for being open about this one experience (for now) and hope that other male and female artists (whether they are gay, straight, bi or avoiding publicly labeling themselves) will feel more free to discuss or even mention a same-sex romance, sexual experience or crush.

    Posted by: Gregv | Jul 5, 2012 3:50:52 PM


  17. Dynex & Michelle I dont think its necessarily that problem at all (while yes, those are valid points that you both made). I was just talking to a friend about going to a black gay pride event and he was clueless about black gay pride. i had to explain to him that no, the gay community isnt like the klan when it comes to race but within the gay community there are subsects that will do their own thing because they're not as included or represented when you look at the community as a whole. the same issue can be said of the way many gay men feel and act towards lesbians. it's not just me saying this, i've seen lesbians speak about feeling put-off by the larger community, bears, asians, and yes blacks. i'm not saying that every gay white man is racist or even that most are, but you cant just say that black gay men sit around trying the blame the gay community for the divide but you have to admit there is a problem there, especially when you have white gay men who have spoken and written about it. i never understood why the gay community -united racially- stood up to straight people of all races and helped them understand that we're all human beings. we're all someone's son or daughter, brother or father or mother or sister. there's too much a divide between all of us and once that changes we'll start to see much more of a change for the better.

    Posted by: PJ | Jul 5, 2012 4:03:53 PM


  18. "... but 'I-had-feelings-for-a-man-once" is, indeed, NOT an "orientation.'"

    Ocean's description of that affair and the feelings he had for another man were far too powerful to not make him either Gay or Bi.

    Too many of you argue that being bisexual is not a sexual orientation. What school of psychology claims such a belief? Is this claim something that scientist who actually study human sexuality say?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 5, 2012 4:07:23 PM


  19. Will Frabk Ocean have a conversation with his friend that using anti gay slurs is deplorable and breeds homophobia within youth or not? If not...I couldn't care less about this news. It's his self serving interest to come out for himself.

    Posted by: Justice-Justin | Jul 5, 2012 4:57:39 PM


  20. PJ-

    Your approach does more to divide us than unite us. Resentment toward white gay men is both homophobic and racist. Often times black lesbians and gays think it's cool to pick on white gay men. They view them as weaker. They'll actually call them out of name and make references to them being white and gay. No different than the worst school yard bully. They are projecting their own prejudice, insecurity and it's misdirected anger toward their own black community for not accepting them. The white gay man is an easy punching bag. I'd encourage said black gays to not go out of their way to alienate white LGBTs because not only is it counter productive, but you could very well end up with two communities where you don't feel welcomed. The black gay community has done more to ostracize themselves than any other people. And instead of constantly blaming white gays for everything, maybe they should go a little inward and do some soul searching. YOU are responsible and in control of your happiness. No one else is.

    Posted by: Klien | Jul 5, 2012 5:04:33 PM


  21. @ Klien
    Agree 100%.And I'm Latino, but agree with everything you wrote.

    Posted by: Kevin Mendoza | Jul 5, 2012 5:05:30 PM


  22. Klien,
    Well said. On all accounts. I've been noticing more of it myself.

    Posted by: PrinceGreekYogurt | Jul 5, 2012 5:06:22 PM



  23. "I'd encourage said black gays to not go out of their way to alienate white LGBTs because not only is it counter productive, but you could very well end up with two communities where you don't feel welcomed."

    I'll let someone else handle that bullsh.t sentence.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 5, 2012 5:22:12 PM


  24. Justice Justin How do you know he hasnt talked to Tyler about the antigay slurs? Ive talked to friends, relatives, associates about not using racists or antigay slurs to no avail in some cases.

    Posted by: Kimono | Jul 5, 2012 7:07:31 PM


  25. This is great, Russell Simmons is a huge figure in Hip Hop, so his blessing is like gold as far as gay acceptance goes, and it's true, the black community is not on board because they let the Jewish fairy tales get the best of them.

    Posted by: Ty | Jul 5, 2012 7:28:46 PM


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