Musician Frank Ocean has revealed his first love was with another man when he was 19, receiving praise from those in the music industry for coming out while beginning to forge a successful career as a hip-hop artist.
Originally intended for the cover notes of an upcoming album, Ocean pre-empted the release by writing about the experience on his Tumblr page, confirming rumours he said had been circling about his sexual orientation.
Ocean, 24, is known for the hits Novacane and Swim Good and is due to release the debut album this month.
He wrote: “4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence … until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping. No negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love. It changed my life.”
He added: “I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same. He had to go back inside soon. It was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs.
“He wouldn’t tell me the truth about his feelings for me for another 3 years. I felt like I’d only imagined reciprocity for years. Now imagine being thrown from a cliff. No, I wasn’t on a cliff, I was still in my car telling myself it was gonna be fine and to take deep breaths. I took the breaths and carried on. I kept up a peculiar friendship with him because I couldn’t imagine keeping up my life without him. I struggled to master myself and my emotions. I wasn’t always successful.”
Thanking those people who he says “kept him alive” after telling them his story, he writes: “To my first love. I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even though it wasn’t what I hoped for and even though it was never enough, it was.”
Russell Simmons wrote for Global Grind: “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? [...] Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear.”
Tyler, the Creator, a band-made of Ocean’s in Odd Future, wrote on Twitter: “My Big Brother Finally Fuckking Did That. Proud Of That N***a Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im A Toilet.”
Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters said: “Go on Frank Ocean”, while Pete Wentz suggested his fans “be brave and real like Frank Ocean”.