Before coming out about his sexuality, Frank Ocean was already making headlines with his distinct smooth voice and falsetto notes. Before even releasing his first album, Channel Orange, Ocean has worked with the latest and greatest artists like Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, and much more. Frank Ocean's fan base has expanded tremendously with his open letter on his blog addressing his sexuality. Ocean admits to having fallen in love with a man. Never before has an R&B or hip-hop male artist ever openly identified as gay or bisexual. His revelation has led many to wonder: Will this change music?
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Frank Ocean answered that question with a groundbreaking performance on an episode of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" last weekend. Instead of performing his current single, "Pyramids", Ocean opted for another song off his upcoming album, Channel Orange. He performed "Bad Religion", a love song about a man. Ocean sings about the unrequited love he addressed in his open-letter blog post.
"This unrequited love / To me it's nothing but a one-man cult / And cyanide in my Styrofoam cup / I could never make him love me /Never make him love me," the 24-year-old crooner confidently sang. "It's a bad religion to be in love with someone / Who could never love you / I know only bad religion could have me feeling the way I do."
Watch the video below:
Chuck Creekmur, founder of leading hip-hop website allhiphop.com, supports the new artist, "I think it's definitely important and it really signifies that there is a changing of the face of hip-hop." He also added that it marks "a sign of the times."
"There is still a very nasty streak of homophobia in this country that we have to overcome," hip-hop and fashion mogul, Russell Simmons said. "I'm hoping the support by his friends and the members of the creative community will override it and, whatever he loses, he will gain more."
There are reports of Frank Ocean's coming out being a strategic marketing tactic for his new album. The singer did reveal his sexuality a couple weeks before his July 17 release date.
Keith Caulfield, associate director of charts at Billboard, said it was wise for Ocean to come out before his first album because now his audience can truly know who he is from the beginning.
"It's better to do it now instead of two or three albums into your career when you have all this pressure mounting on you to be a ladies man and to sing all these songs to women in your videos," Caulfield told RapFix. "Everyone knows that there are rumors and allegations haunting some celebrities in the closet, and they've had to continue a career fronting something else.
"People were anticipating that the album was going to debut in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 charts, but the jury is still out as to how his recent news will affect his first week," he added.
Mega retailer, Target, may affect Ocean's sales in a major way. The retailer refuses to sell the album. Target claims that Ocean's decision to release the album on iTunes Monday (July 9) - one week ahead of its July 17 release date - is the one to blame. But is that really the only reason?
Ocean's manager, Christian Clancy, says that the early release means that Target will no longer stock the physical version of the album but he also feels that the singer's current admission may have something to do with it.
"Target has refused to carry Frank's album because of iTunes exclusive,"Clancy wrote in a (now-deleted) tweet. "Interesting since they also donate to non-equal rights organizations."
According to MTV, "in 2010, Target was the subject of a boycott organized by MoveOn.org after it was revealed that the Minneapolis-based retailer donated $150,000 to the political group Minnesota Forward, which backed several candidates across the state, including gubernatorial hopeful Tom Emmer, who reportedly supported an anti-gay ministry."
Despite the possible prejudice reason, it must be noted that Target does sell albums by other openly gay like Adam Lambert, Clay Aiken, and Elton John, and has also begun selling gay pride t-shirts, which benefit the Family Equality Council (an organization that supports the rights of LGBT parents).
Target released a statement saying, "At Target, we focus on offering our guests a wide assortment of physical CDs, so our selection of new releases is dedicated to physical CDs rather than titles that are released digitally in advance of the street date."
Target also shut down the criticism of it refusing to sell Channel Orange because of Ocean's sexuality, "The claims made about Target's decision to not carry the Frank Ocean album are absolutely false. Target supports inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our business. Our assortment decisions are based on a number of factors, including guest demand.
"Target has a longstanding tradition of supporting music and artistry that reflects the diverse landscape of American culture," the statement continued. "Our history of partnering with diverse artists includes recent partnerships with a variety of musicians, such as Ricky Martin, B.o.B., and Gloria Estefan."
Do you think it's all business or is there a personal issue in this?
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