Frank Ocean, and Why Blacks Need to Finally Get Over Homophobia


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By Ernest Owens, Huffington Post

Bayard Rustin and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in conversation.
Bayard Rustin and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in conversation.

Last summer I watched as all of my friends were in shock that the man they knew as Frank Ocean, the R&B/hip-hop crooner who sang songs that made women squeal revealed an intimate secret. Mr. Ocean told the world in a blog that he was once in love with a man. And that was about it. No coming out of the closet to the world as many assumed, and no official declaration of any new sexual orientation…

Shocking, I give you that. Heroic, I think not. I think it is time for blacks to wake up and respect and recognize the real members of color in the LGBT community that have paved the way for us with their time and due diligence…

Bayard Rustin. Does his name ring a bell? He was a pioneer for civil rights and gay rights during a time in our history when fighting for both would have been fatal. Rustin was arrested numerous times for being openly gay. And when not working with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he was out being the chief organizer of the famous March on Washington. Rustin died in 1987, and while we celebrate the legacy of Malcolm X and Dr. King, I would argue that we don’t respect Rustin’s work as much due to the fact that he was gay….

We are going backwards in our society and not forward in our thinking. Where is our modern day Bayard Rustin? When will we ever see someone follow the footsteps of James Baldwin? When will we see such fierce and courageous sacrifice and real fearlessness? It’s a damn shame in our community when we consider just coming out a victory rather than a launch.

Frank Ocean Performs
Frank Ocean Performs

It is 2013. We are long past the excuses and the denial, Black America. Whether you are ready to accept it or not, there are LGBT members in our community that are working beside you each and every day. And no, they are not all like Frank Ocean who have isolated experiences and will still adorn female strippers, but actually those who are openly gay and have lives that reflect such. It’s high time we stop discriminating and being ignorant to our own. Bayard Rustin once said that “to be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true.” We are at a point where we know the truth and to avoid it now would be to enslave ourselves in ignorance. I thought we came a long way from that.

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