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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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  1. I think it's more complicated than "those awful white gays are so racist!" A recent study showed that gay and lesbian couples are FAR more likely to be interracial than straight couples. In the wake of Don Lemon's statement that in the black community being gay is about the worst thing you can be, several articles were written saying that if they want to be OPENLY gay, particularly men, they felt the had to cut ties with the black community. And white gays didn't have anything to do with that.

    I sometimes think that differences in style have more to do with it than race. Black gay men like Don Lemon, LZ Granderson, or John Amaechi are perceived as "just like us" except for skin color whereas (for lack of a better word) "urban" black gays seem more foreign, different, not due to skin color but style and cultural references. And that cuts both ways because if what you do between the sheets is the ONLY thing you really have in common you're going to have a hard time holding a conversation, no matter what race you are.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 5, 2012 7:46:03 PM


  2. As Flipper said in "Desperate Living","Men,woman,who cares as long as they're nude!

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Jul 5, 2012 8:06:18 PM


  3. Everytime hear comments like the ones made by Klein, all I can think of is the quote from Miss ChiChi Rodriguez in Too Wong Foo. "I'm sick of the white lady always trying to tell the black lady and the Latin lady which way is up, down, and under."

    Posted by: Frank | Jul 5, 2012 9:06:36 PM


  4. "Michele" needs a new story from her NOM masters. So far you've posted about negative reactions from the black community to Obama's support for gay marriage on at least three posts. First we were told to do a google search, which I did and turned up nothing, as I said. You disappeared, but reappeared saying it was all over facebook. Now apparently this negative reaction is in some comments to a USA Today poll. I don't doubt that somewhere there are negative comments about homosexuality from black people, just as I don't doubt you can find negative comments about everything somewhere on the internet. But what I do very seriously doubt is that you are a real commenter as opposed to a NOM troll, one of many who have polluted Towleroad recently.

    Posted by: Brian | Jul 6, 2012 1:05:35 AM


  5. 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.

    And Calibran thjis isn't the same with closed minded white people? GET THE F*CK out of here!

    Posted by: CHRIS DA CHOCOLATEBEARCUB | Jul 6, 2012 1:13:34 AM


  6. I think it's more complicated than "those awful white gays are so racist!" A recent study showed that gay and lesbian couples are FAR more likely to be interracial than straight couples. In the wake of Don Lemon's statement that in the black community being gay is about the worst thing you can be, several articles were written saying that if they want to be OPENLY gay, particularly men, they felt the had to cut ties with the black community. And white gays didn't have anything to do with that.

    I sometimes think that differences in style have more to do with it than race. Black gay men like Don Lemon, LZ Granderson, or John Amaechi are perceived as "just like us" except for skin color whereas (for lack of a better word) "urban" black gays seem more foreign, different, not due to skin color but style and cultural references. And that cuts both ways because if what you do between the sheets is the ONLY thing you really have in common you're going to have a hard time holding a conversation, no matter what race you are.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 5, 2012 7:46:03 PM

    Um Caliban...a recent study???? FROM WHO...Are you Black by the way. Don Lemon and the other's you posted do not speak for all Black folks. No need to whitewash for acceptance. If they don't want to be bothered they don't want to be bothered!

    And please tell me that all white folks accept their white gays If they did then why is the white churches, The GOP and others white cultural groups seem to think differently?

    Posted by: CHRIS DA CHOCOLATEBEARCUB | Jul 6, 2012 1:20:05 AM


  7. Tell me that part about black homophobia again?

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/07/ohio-miscellany.html

    You guys are so full of it. Half the time you go around believing this false notion that black people are automatically more homophobic, so you end up condescending to us, like you are now, only to turn around and act shocked when we get angry about it. I believe that's call a self fulfilling prophecy. And as far as alienation goes, let's not get it twisted. Minorities have always been the ones to more readily cross into mainstream gay venues, not the other way around, even when people make it clear they don't want us there by making us show two or three forms of ID at the door, or ignoring us outright. There are plenty places and spaces where gays are welcome with open arms in black America. Just because you haven't seen it two places you looked does not make it any less so. I swear these gays that go on about black homophobia, are the main reason why I, like James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, and Josephine Baker before me, chose to leave states and have remained reluctant to return. It is a really eye opening experience to see what it's like to be treated as a person first and a color second.

    Posted by: Frank | Jul 6, 2012 1:22:29 AM


  8. "Um Caliban...a recent study???? FROM WHO..."

    I csn't speak for Caliban, but I remember seeing the numbers from household surveys for the US census showing that same-sex-couples were quadruple as likely to be of different races.
    It did not surprise me. The gay community I live in is very integrated and my partner and I (who are not of the same racial background) have encountered racism directed toward us ONLY from people who are simultaneously homophobes.

    Posted by: Gregv | Jul 6, 2012 1:38:27 AM


  9. I'm curious to know what Russell Simmon's younger brother Rev Run of RUN DMC's take on this is ? Is he as enlightened as his big bro ?

    Posted by: RJG | Jul 6, 2012 12:01:17 PM


  10. Wow. Frank Ocean wrote a heartfelt and honest statement about his sexuality, and Russell Simmons did the same as an LGBT ally, and all I'm reading here are statements tearing the two of them down. This is a fantastic development, particularly for our gay and bisexual brothers in the black community. And really for all of us. I appreciate the risk Frank took early in his career, his honesty, and the growing sensitivity of important straight men in the hip hop community.

    Posted by: mike128 | Jul 6, 2012 12:59:02 PM


  11. Is the topic here homophobia from white churches and the GOP? No. That's probably the topic of 90+% of the articles about US homophobia here, but not this time. But make ANY observation about race relations in the US and what's the response? Defensiveness and blame for everybody else. And that's why nothing will ever change.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 6, 2012 1:04:37 PM


  12. But Caliban, the topic here isn't homophobia among blacks either, so the question is why does a beautifully written coming out by a prominent African American musician and the strong support from his friends generate so much white anger against black homophobia? It's as irrelevant to the story as homophobia among white churches for this story, but for some reason many commentators continue to bring it up again and again.

    The exact equivalent situation you're looking for is a story about a white preacher saying some stupid thing about putting gays behind fences, or whatever. You don't see reams of comments generalizing about this crazy white guy and creating a firestorm of anti-white stories. But time and again, if there's even remotely a minority race angle to the story, the comments are flooded with tiresome racist crap.

    Posted by: Brian | Jul 6, 2012 6:31:40 PM


  13. As a member of two minorities (black and gay), I often feel saddened by the ceaseless rancor in both communities. There is the blight of effemephobia in the gay community. Where we have the nerve to treat our gay brothers as if they are less, purely based on insecurities placed upon us by a heterosexual hierarchy. We learn to release the insulated self-hate and doubt we ALL have experienced upon our own in a most vicious manner. Referring to our own gay brothers as "nelly" or "queens" in the most derogatory manner. That is so much work on top of all the homophobia. We just fuel the people who hate us.

    There is the scourge of colorism among black folks as we judge each other based on complexion and the "African" versus "European/good" features. We place emphasis on so called "realness" and preconceived notions of what a black person is. Often hurting our own under the belief we are regulating how we are perceived. That is so much work on top of all the racism. We just fuel the people who hate us.

    Anderson and Frank are reaching different sections of our population and doing it while living with the risk that all gay men face on a daily basis. We need to have love for the struggle and support ALL who stand tall and make themselves known. We need to start celebrating ourselves and save the judgment for our mutual enemies. We'll drag those damn troglodytes kicking and screaming into a present where all the hatred has lost it's effectiveness.

    Thank you Russell Simmons' for getting the LOVE part down. This is a Mirror of Kathy Griffin's wonderful letter on Anderson. Great stuff.

    Posted by: AFROPOLO | Jul 7, 2012 6:30:16 AM


  14. I AM NOT Russell Simmons' DEFENDER. I WAS A FAN OF, "Def Comedy Jam." I HAVE READ ONLINE HE MAY BE HOMOSEXUAL. THAT IS FINE. HOWEVER, THIS STORY IS NOT GOOD FOR, "Hip-Hop." HETEROSEXUAL-NEGRO MALES CONSIDER RAP MUSIC TO BE AN "ARTISTIC-" TELLING OF THEIR STORY. THAT STORY IS TARNISHED IF HOMOSEXUALITY IS "ADDED TO THE MIX."

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON | Jul 15, 2012 8:55:20 PM


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