This summer, Frank Ocean created an upheaval in the music industry right before the drop of his new album Channel Orange. On a blog post, he gently painted a narrative of his experiences prior to his rise in celebrity, and, it just so happened, that part of his story included a romantic involvement with another man. Mainstream pop culture was unprepared for this admission. In our fame-obsessed culture, people have pockets that they fall into. The Black male artist has always been stuffed in a pocket of limited dimension. When we connect music to so many personal and emotional elements of our lives, particularly sexuality, the music begins to define the musician, rather than the other way around. Frank Ocean’s agenda challenged that notion.
The question can be, first, what is the Frank Ocean agenda? If we follow his few interviews after his blog post, we can believe that his agenda, after declaring his past love of another man, was simply to begin a rising music career with a clean slate free of a fabricated image. However, his agenda has done so much more than that. By speaking candidly and unapologetically about his past and letting the public gain access to a part of his life that is decidedly personal, he illustrated five strengths that all of us–regardless of our moral beliefs, gender, race/ethnicity or socio-economic status–can learn a few things from.
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Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a writer and editor of several books, including the anthology Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul. She offers editing, proofreading and creative coaching services to authors who self-publish. She has written for numerous print and digital spaces, including SoulBounce, Examiner.com, Honey Mag, and East of the River Magazine. She is currently a music writer with SoulTrain.com. Contact her at KhadijahOnline@gmail.com to hire her.