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Gay Iconography: Falling For Frank Ocean

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There are always new icons in the making. Earlier this year, users of gay app Jack’d voted to select their top gay icons of 2014. Near the top of the list was R&B singer Frank Ocean (second only to Michael Sam).

Ocean made waves (pun wholly intended) in 2012 when he made headlines for posting a lengthy coming out on his tumblr. In what was originally intended to be the liner notes for his album Channel Orange, Ocean wrote: “4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too.” With that one pronoun, Ocean became one of the most prominent faces in hip-hop to acknowledge a same-sex attraction.

As writer Gerrick D. Kennedy asserted in The Los Angeles Times, “The straightforward letter … is undoubtedly the glass ceiling moment for music. Especially black music, which has long been in desperate need of a voice like Ocean’s to break the layers of homophobia.”

Following the letter’s publication, many members of the hip-hop community responded with their support. Jay-Z posted a thank you letter. Beyoncé wrote a poem. Def Jam records co-founder Russell Simmons wrote: “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?”

Unfortunately, not everyone was as compassionate or inclusive as Simmons may have hoped. Rapper T-Pain told VladTV, “I think the radio is getting more gay friendly, I don’t think urban music or anything is getting more gay friendly. If that was the case Frank Ocean would be on a lot more songs ... I know n—gers that will not do a song with Frank Ocean just because he’s gay.”

But Ocean didn’t do it to change the world. Though not intentionally political, his decision was deeply personal. His letter said “Before writing this I’d told some people my story. I’m sure these people kept me alive, kept me safe.. sincerely. These are the folks I wanna thank from the floor of my heart. Everyone of you knows who you are.. great humans. Probably Angels. I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite [sic]. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore.”

All of this wouldn’t have had nearly the impact it did if Channel Orange wasn’t such a remarkably brilliant album. Check out some of our favorite Ocean performances, AFTER THE JUMP

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Frank Ocean Joins the Shirtless Selfie Club: PHOTO

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Frank Ocean posted a shirtless selfie to his Tumblr, then got shy and deleted it. But not before some followers were deft enough to save it.

In other Frank Ocean news, he's booked to perform at this year's Met Gala, according to the NY Post:

This won’t be the first trip to the ball for Ocean. Last year, it was rumored the openly gay alterna-rapper went home with Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci post-Gala after the two posted a series of cozy late-night pics to Instagram. Perhaps amore will strike again.


Frank Ocean Debuts New Track 'Hero' And Beyonce Duet: VIDEO

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Frank Ocean has teamed up with Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash and DJ Diplo for his latest track "Hero," a song he created as a promotion for Converse shoes.  

He also apparently teamed up with Beyoncé for a duet on the track "Superpower." You can hear the song and see a 30-second clip of "Superpower" after the jump.

Check 'em out AFTER THE JUMP...

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Frank Ocean Files for Legal Name Change; Is Being Sued by Chipotle

Frank Ocean has filed documents to legally change his name from Christopher Edwin Breaux to his adopted stage name, TMZ reports:

Fr_oceanTo make it official ... Frank has to plaster his intentions in a newspaper on 4 separate occasions -- once a week, 4 weeks in a row.  The idea is that if he's using the name to defraud someone, potential victims can come forward and object in court.

In other Frank Ocean news, he's being sued by Chipotle for backing out of a deal to sing "Pure Imagination" for the animated ad that went viral last September. Ocean was reportedly angry that Chipotle's logo appeared in the ad:

The restaurant says it got an email from Frank's people claiming Frank thought he was promised final say over the recording and all promotional materials -- and believed the company was in breach when it refused to remove its logo.

Chipotle is suing to get back the $212,500 advance it paid Ocean.

Fiona Apple recorded the spot in Ocean's place.

You can watch it HERE.

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T-Pain Rips Homophobia In Hip Hop, Says Rappers Will Not Work With Frank Ocean Because He Is Gay

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In an interview with VladTV, rapper T-Pain delves into the issue of homophobia in hip hop, as The Guardian reports. Asked whether the presence and success of Macklemore’s pro-equality anthem ‘Same Love’ signals a shift in more pro-gay attitudes in the world of hip hop, T-Pain responds, 

“I think the radio is getting more gay friendly, I don’t think urban music or anything is getting more gay friendly. If that was the case Frank Ocean would be on a lot more songs. Like n—gers, like, I know n—gers that will not do a song with Frank Ocean just because he’s gay but they need him on the f—king song and that’s so terrible to me man. It’s like, dude, my lifestyle ain’t gonna change how people see you. That’s weird dude! What I do ain’t gonna affect nothing you got going on. I mean that’s me talking as Frank Ocean. Like he gotta feel like that bro, because, like, he was on the ‘Watch the Throne’ album before he came out and then when he came out it’s like he can’t get in the studio with Jay [Z] and Kanye [West] right now. It’s so fucking terrible. Like n—gers don’t wanna f—k with these motherf—kers man and that’s so f—ked up dude.”

Check out the full interview AFTER THE JUMP… (Warning: graphic language)

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Rapper R.A. the Rugged Man Says Macklemore and Frank Ocean are Using 'Gay Agenda' for Fame: VIDEO

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In a recent interview with VladTV, New York rapper R.A. the Rugged Man's answer to the question of whether or not he's a Macklemore fan quickly grew into a mild diatribe about the wider issue he has with some rappers pushing a 'gay agenda' in Hip Hop culture. HipHopDX reports:

MacklemoreR.A. likened the discussion of homosexual issues to a political ploy. "Politicians use the black community for votes; they use the Hispanic community for votes; they use the homosexual community for votes; they use women for votes; they use everybody they possibly could for votes. In politics, that's what they do, and Hip Hop is politics too."

"Macklemore, he can be sincere (in his song 'Same Love') with what he's saying about...'Oh, if I was gay, I would think Hip Hop hates me,' but what's really going on is that they're using that popular, political agenda to move their careers forward," said R.A. "And they might be offended by me saying that, and it's no disrespect to Macklemore, but that's just how I feel."

Frank OceanR.A. went on to discuss Frank Ocean, who publicly came out last year. R.A. doesn't buy that it was a heroic or brave move, merely a marketing strategy:

"And it's the same thing with [Frank] Ocean. 'Oh, I'm gay.' Okay, you came out of the closet, but it's a week before your album drops. [Frank] Ocean, it's a political campaign that's promoted from Def Jam..."

"If Frank Ocean wanted to come out two years before his album dropped, eight months after his album dropped....the timing was strategically placed...because a big percentage of the entertainment industry and media is run by [the] homosexual community," said Rugged Man. "Which I'm not saying there's nothing wrong with that, but these people, they're smart."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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