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The OXD Mirror: Chill Out and Feel the Love with Music by Frank Ocean, Satin Jackets, HNNY and more

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BY OCCUPY THE DISCO / RU BHATT 

My last column delved into the realm of deep house, showcasing the darker elements of house music. Today we take a significant departure and invite you to relax and chill out with some dreamy soundscapes by house music superstars.  

Frank Ocean paid tribute to the late Aaliyah last month on what would be her 36th Birthday, by covering her remake of The Isley Brothers’ 1976 hit, 'At Your Best (You Are Love).' Ocean's haunting, stripped-down version gets a futuristic, cosmic makeover by L.A.'s starRo, a producer and DJ known for his downtempo tracks that fuse "beats with jazz, R&B, soul, chill, emotion, and love."  It's the perfect track to get you in the mood for Valentine's Day, which is right around the corner.

Check out additional tracks AFTER THE JUMP...

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Frank Ocean Releases Stunning Cover of 'At Your Best (You Are Love)' — LISTEN

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Frank Ocean dropped a little Friday night surprise on his Tumblr - a cover of the 1976 Isley Brothers classic (also covered by the late Aaliyah) "At Your Best (You Are Love)". Yesterday would have been Aaliyah's 36th birthday.

Ocean is being typically cryptic about the release, offering no information about whether it might appear on the follow-up to 2012's channel ORANGE or when that might be coming, but this delicate rendition will surely whet your appetite for it.

Listen to the soulful cover, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Iconography: What You Said In 2014

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When I started writing Gay Iconography in late 2013, I hoped to explore why some celebrities and artists held mass appeal — not to be confused with universal appeal, mind you — within the gay community. Over time, what began as a light-hearted feature celebrating these stars with a few YouTube clips became a lightning rod of conversation and, shall we say, spirited debate.

The original premise, as stated in the early posts, was to “present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts.” The second half of the stated mission — asking you to weigh in with your thoughts — is what’s made it most interesting for me.

This year, the first full calendar year of the column, Gay Iconography has received more than 1,300 comments (and, yes, I read them all). I thought it would be interesting to look back at lessons learned from these conversations and see if we’re any closer to recognizing what draws some of us to these cultural cornerstones.

The conversation may not have always been nuanced (and, of course, it did occasionally devolve into name-calling and flamewars like any comments section on the Internet), but there have been some surprising revelations. For example, while I had expected some controversial choices like Queen Latifah and Donna Summer to be met with criticism, and I could have anticipated younger picks like Robyn or Frank Ocean to be easily dismissed, I was still surprised to see people deny the impact of, say, Cher, Madonna or Dolly Parton. There’s always room to debate the merits of any one individual, but it seemed at times as if some folks aimed to refute the existence of a unique LGBT culture to represent at all.

However, looking back over the comments from this year, some trends do start to emerge as to what some might consider a gay icon. See some of the most prevailing ideas perpetuated in the comments and let us know if you agree, AFTER THE JUMP

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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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