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




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.
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.
Karl Walter/Getty Images for Coachella

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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?

Guest

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”