Frank Ocean covers the latest issue of The Advocate. While the Ocean himself isn't interviewed, the impact of his much-discussed Tumblr post, in which the R&B crooner revealed his first love was a man, his subsequent coming out and the current mainstream success of his album Channel Orange are discussed.
Industry insiders, media personality/blogger Gyant and artists like Meshell Ndegeocello, straight ally Murs, openly gay rappers Deadlee and Tim'm West, and rap icon MC Lyte are all quoted for the piece. Ebony Utley, an assistant communications studies professor at California State University, makes an astute observation that while Ocean's pronouncement is significant, there has still yet to be an openly gay mainstream rap artist.
“Frank Ocean is an R&B singer," Utley said. "Let’s be clear, hip-hop hasn’t had its first openly gay artist. No rapper has come out. Honestly, we don’t know what the support will be for an openly gay rapper because one has not come out.”
Another interesting observation: while hip-hip heavyweights Jay-Z and 50 Cent have voiced their support, some contacted by The Advocate for comment--B.o.B., Lupe Fiasco, Trey Songz, Jaheim, Wiz Khalifa, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, and Nicki Minaj--declined or said they were unavailable for comment. In the case of Lupe, it's strange someone who is so opinionated on so many subjects and who cites James Baldwin as a major influence would pass up the chance to throw in his two cents on such a relevant topic. As for Latifah and the rest, ya'll figure out that tea.