On Frank Ocean’s “Independence Day”
(Upon reading Ocean’s letter) my mind went briefly to the dozens of male singers and rappers who have been dogged by gay rumors over the years. How hard it must be for some of them to sing songs to and about women and if they feel, as Ocean did, that their own lyrics were “written in a language [they] didn’t speak yet.” I then thought about the many brothers I have known from high school and beyond who were also the subject of constant speculation (some of which was confirmed) about their sexuality. Rumor mongers love to focus on who may have put a hand, a mouth, a body part on whom…but what about love? What about the fact that these men were managing the complications of deception, fear and confusion as their hearts and bodies defied what they thought was to be their identities? And all of this while still having to cope with the beauty and trauma that accompanies young love?