Singer and producer Frank Ocean, one of the biggest artists of our time, has left a lasting impact amongst teens in today’s society, especially those who have trouble relating to an LGBTQ+ artist. This effect on teens has blossomed despite the fact he has released only two albums and has been on a six-year hiatus since 2016.
Christopher “Lonny” Breaux, also known as Frank Ocean, got his start in the entertainment industry after leaving New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina and a desire to pursue music. As any other artist who aspires to make it big, Ocean went to Los Angeles. Once in LA, he made a career ghostwriting for artists like Justin Bieber, John Legend and more before joining the hip-hop collective, Odd Future in 2009, a group that included big names such as Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and Jasper Dolphin. The following year, Ocean dropped his first mixtape, Nostalgia Ultra, for free via download and signed with Def Jam Recordings.
After that, musicians such as Beyoncé and Coldplay reached out to the newbie on the block and collaborated on multiple songs together. Ocean eventually wrote the infamous album Channel Orange and released it in July 2012, for which he earned six Grammy nominations. After instantly becoming a household name, Ocean laid low for a couple of years until releasing Blonde in 2016, which has remained the last time we have heard his voice since then.
Just like that Ocean disappeared, leaving many fans concerned for the artist. Many speculate the long hiatus is due to the passing of Ocean’s younger brother in a car accident in 2020, though nobody really knows the real reason why their favorite artist fell off the face of the earth.
Glen A. Wilson High School freshman Gianna Furlan talks about her feelings on Frank going MIA.
“To be honest I am just sad about it because I desperately want new songs from him since it has been a long time since his last album,” said Furlan. “However I do not think I will ever get tired of his old songs and albums so it is okay for now.”
Ocean’s music has proven to remain timeless no matter how many times you listen to it. His strategic and relatable storytelling especially is what makes him such a good artist in the eyes of teens across the globe. His songs “Ivy,” “Bad Religion” and “White Ferrari” are only a few examples of Ocean’s amazing lyricism. Some even say that Frank’s music could be considered therapy because of the way these songs are written.
But not only is Ocean known for being a musical genius, he is also a helping hand to those who have trouble expressing themselves. In 2012 fans on Twitter began to speculate that Ocean was bisexual after he referred to his love interest on Channel Orange as a “him” and not a “her.” Not long after, Ocean revealed in a Tumblr post that his first love was a man and shared some details on the relationship. Ocean made sure to clarify in the post that he was proud of his sexuality and the media took it varyingly well. Some did not support the artist after his confession and others stood by his side. In an interview with MTV, fellow musician Busta Rhymes shared his opinion on Ocean’s sexuality after being asked if hip-hop was ready for an artist of a different sexual orientation.
“Whatever that man does in his personal space is that man’s choice and that man’s business. I am an extremely huge fan of Frank Ocean and his music is impeccable to me. As far as I am concerned, I respect the dude completely. I think whatever he does at home is his business, just keep that music poppin’ the way you have been keeping it and it is not going to stop, god bless him, man,” said Rhymes.
The importance of LGBTQ+ artists is imperative to today’s society because they give the minority more representation giving the younger ones someone to look up to. The music industry is in need of more acceptance in the community and Ocean was one of the first to make that change.
Many understand the hesitancy of coming out and the fear that comes with it. Frank knows that he is a role model to those who want to come out and his music becomes a safe space with every line that flows out. He also paved the way for other LGBTQ+ artists such as Omar Apollo and Steve Lacy, creating a new area of music for queer youth to escape to. All he wants is to inspire many and see his fans’ success with his music. So in honor of all Frank Ocean fans, please come back.