Patt Morrison for July 5, 2012

Coming Out: first Anderson Cooper, now Frank Ocean, but with different consequences?

2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival - Day 1

Karl Walter/Getty Images for Coachella

Singer Frank Ocean performs onstage at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival held at The Empire Polo Field on April 13, 2012 in Indio, California.

First it was CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who publicly revealed earlier this week that he is gay. Two days later, coincidentally, hip-hop artist Frank Ocean announced on his Tumblr that his first love was a man.

The similarities between the two, however, mostly end there.

Whereas Cooper stated it as a fact: “I’m gay, always have been, always will be,” Ocean took a much more nuanced approach, describing a defining relationship with a man, but avoiding putting any label on himself.

The stakes, however, are also arguably higher for Ocean, a 24-year-old heartthrob who performs with the hip-hop group Odd Future, known for its boundary-pushing, sometime crass, and often homophobic lyrics.

So far his cohort has been largely supportive. Odd Future frontman Tyler the Creator tweeted: "F**king Finally Sus Boy @frank_ocean Hahahaha, You Still Aint Got No B*tches Hahaha My Ni**a Dawg.” “My Big Brother Finally F**king Did That. Proud Of That Ni**a Cause I KNow That Sh*t Is Difficult Or Whatever.”

But will the rest of hip hop culture embrace Ocean’s openness? And are the stakes higher for a young black singer?


Touré: host of Fuse's Hiphop Shop and On the Record; co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle; his latest book is “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness”

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