November 20th, 2012
04:39 PM ET
Frank Ocean knows that he broke ground as an artist by openly discussing his sexuality earlier this year, and you'll get no false humility from him about it.
The musician, who's one of GQ's men of the year, tells the magazine that he did decide to post a letter about a same-sex relationship on his Tumblr just ahead of the release of his album "Channel Orange" because he knew "it had to be in concert with one of the most brilliant pieces of art that has come out in my generation."
"Some people said, 'He’s saying he fell in love with a guy for hype.' As if that’s the best hype you can get in hip-hop or black music," Ocean says. "So I knew that if I was going to say what I said, it had to be in concert with one of the most brilliant pieces of art ... And that’s what I did. Why can I say that? Why I don’t have to affect all this humility and s*** is because I worked my a** off. I worked my face off."
He knew how he wanted to present his honesty, but that didn't make him less afraid that his frankness would put his career off course.
"In black music, we’ve got so many leaps and bounds to make with acceptance and tolerance in regard to that issue," he tells GQ. "It reflects something just ingrained, you know. When I was growing up, there was nobody in my family - not even my mother - who I could look to and be like, 'I know you’ve never said anything homophobic.' So, you know, you worry about people in the business who you’ve heard talk that way."
Ocean's referenced both men and women in the sultry lines of his acclaimed music, but does that mean he sees himself as bisexual? When GQ asked, Ocean instructed that they move on to the next question before adding, "I'll respectfully say that life is dynamic and comes along with dynamic experiences, and the same sentiment that I have towards genres of music, I have towards a lot of labels and boxes," he said.
"I'm in this business to be creative ... I'm not a centerfold. I'm not trying to sell you sex. People should pay attention to that in the letter: I didn't need to label it for it to have impact," Ocean continued. "Because people realize everything that I say is so relatable, because when you're talking about romantic love, both sides in all scenarios feel the same s***. As a writer, as a creator, I'm giving you my experiences. ... I'm giving you what I feel like you can feel. The other s***, you can't feel. You can't feel a box. You can't feel a label."
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