Frank Ocean

Singer, songwriter and rapper Frank Ocean’s coming out as gay has been praised as a milestone for the traditionally macho world of R&B and Hip Hop music in the U.S.

Twenty-four-year-old Ocean has written music for stars such as Justin Bieber, Beyonce and John Legend and will release his anticipated debut album Channel Orange later this month.

Speculation about his sexual orientation grew when it was noted by the media during preview listening sessions for the album that in some of his songs he sings about being in love with a ‘him’ and not ‘her.’

On Tuesday, Ocean confirmed via a posting on Tumblr that he is indeed a gay man. The declaration sees the singer open up about the first time he fell in love, which was with a man.

“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,” wrote Ocean.

“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…”

He went on to reveal that the man was in a relationship with a woman and wouldn’t admit his feelings for Ocean for another three years.

The star concluded his moving statement by saying: “To my mother, you raised me strong. I know I’m only brave because you were first … so thank you. All of you. For everything good. I feel like a free man.”

Hip Hop producer and mogul Russell Simmons praised Ocean for coming out. “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?,” he wrote in a letter published on Global Grind.

“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…

“[Ocean’s] 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 tranquillity in our heart. Frank just found his,” said Simmons.

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