I've never heard of Frank Ocean; I wouldn't know him if he bumped into me on the street, but this morning I am quite proud of him.
See, Ocean is a hip-hop, R&B artist; not quite my style of music so I am unfamiliar with him. But this week Frank Ocean has come out as a gay man. As a Black gay man. As a gay hip-hop artist. All of which are huge, when you consider the stigma of being gay in the Black and hip-hop communities.
So, who outed Ocean? What spurned ex-lover threatened to sell a story to the National Enquirer forcing Frank Ocean to admit he's gay.
No one outed him; there was no story. Ocean simply wanted to tell his truth:
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...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.
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.
Frank Ocean didn't have to come out; no one forced him.
But in this world, as a Black gay male, he felt the need to be himself, to explain his 'self'. T understand that he couldn't be one thing in private and another thing in public.
It's too hard; it's too much work.
Coming out is hard, of course, but that first step, that first utterance of the words 'I'm gay' release you.
Welcome out, Frank.
Welcome out. And, naturally, a coming out is nothing without a copy of The Gay Agenda from Homo HQ, as well as the Coming Out Toaster Oven.