Frank Ocean Kicks A Hornet’s Nest

This is probably one of the most anticipated releases in a long time – all the more so since the crazy buzz surrounding Frank Ocean’s sexuality (he admitted to his bisexuality).  I have to give the brother his props – this admission takes steely courage in the face of a world coarsened with homophobia, ignorance & cruelty. As a heterosexual male, I never really had an issue with other people’s sexuality – live & let live is what I’ve always maintained, as long as mutual respect is upheld. It always struck me as primitive the way people react to difference. Why do some people cling so tenaciously to their prejudices, crouched in their fears? And who is anyone to judge another for that matter? What if your own child admitted that he/she was gay/bisexual? Would you love him/her any less? I doubt it. And don’t bring God into the conversation, please. The mystery of God is just that- a mystery. This is the conversation Frank Ocean has started through his craft & it’s a damn good thing! Michael Eric Dyson hit it on the head recently – check it out…

Ocean’s lyrics speak volumes to his depth & maturity as they crackle & pop with intelligence & panache. Take the cut Bad Religion, for example, with lines like-“This unrequited love, to me it’s nothing but a one-man cult/And cyanide in my styrofoam cup”. Here Ocean begins an impromptu therapy session with a cabbie reflecting on the paradoxical nature of love & finding himself in a place too deep for his own liking which he shuns –  “unrequited” love delivers for him the unbidden desire:suicide. Ocean brilliantly weaves the infamous Jonestown group suicide into this piece as he finds love to be similar to cyanide-laced punch – a ticket to death in his hands alone. He performed this cut on the Jimmy Fallon show the other night which was quite stunning with The Roots & a string orchestra providing the nuanced emotional textures…

Forget the controversy surrounding his sexuality – this is brilliant music which is a rarity nowadays in the Pop/R&B scene. As a rambunctious heterosexual male, I have no hangups & give much respect for folks like Frank Ocean who decided to deal with the world on his own terms – the way it should be. The problem is not with gays, bisexuals, transgendered or whatever folks choose to call themselves – the problem is with us, the heterosexual majority. Hopefully Frank Ocean’s music & daring will foster more engaging conversations that can lead to a better understanding & tolerance of our brothers & sisters who choose to love in a different way.  Great album! (At the time of this writing Channel Orange is still the top-selling album in the iTunes music store) Evolve… OneLove   :::MME:::

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