Deep Ocean

Frank Ocean Shares Moving Essay About Orlando Tragedy


Four years after shocking the R&B world by revealing his first love was a man and subsequently releasing the stunning Channel Orange, Frank Ocean has shared some moving words about the Orlando tragedy on Tumblr.

His words are heartbreaking, prescient, and unforgettable. At Queerty, we’ve covered the executions of gay men in Middle Eastern countries under sharia law, and Ocean begins with their deaths:

I read in the paper that my brothers are being thrown from rooftops blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs for violating sharia law. I heard the crowds stone these fallen men if they move after they hit the ground. I heard it’s in the name of God. I heard my pastor speak for God too, quoting scripture from his book. Words like abomination popped off my skin like hot grease as he went on to describe a lake of fire that God wanted me in.

He then segues into the Orlando tragedy and the recent battles over transgender rights:

I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month. I heard the gunman feigned dead among all the people he killed. I heard the news say he was one of us. I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty.

That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t. Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist. Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else.

Finally, a powerful point about the cost to us all when hate is taught and passed down from generation to generation:

Many don’t see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year. So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest? I daydream on the idea that maybe all this barbarism and all these transgressions against ourselves is an equal and opposite reaction to something better happening in this world, some great swelling wave of openness and wakefulness out here.

Reality by comparison looks grey, as in neither black nor white but also bleak. We are all God’s children, I heard. I left my siblings out of it and spoke with my maker directly and I think he sounds a lot like myself.

Brilliant. Also Frank, stop playing with that second album. We need it now, thanks.

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  • Scribe38

    I love you Frank… I agree get on that album

  • Xzamilio

    Again with not being able to post. But I bet this one saying how I can’t post will post

  • Chris

    Wow, very thoughtful and powerful.

  • Xzamilio

    I think the word “powerful” gets thrown around a little too loosely as of late. It was a great article that I personally connected to, but there’s nothing really that “powerful” about this. Besides… we know one of the biggest driving forces behind the hatred and it’s kind of half-heartedly addressed. And no, not just that one faith.

  • Philigree

    @Xzamilio: i can imagine this being powerful for me about a decade ago; when i was just coming to terms with my preferences and i was trying to muster up the courage to introduce it to the people i cared about. had i read something like this back then, i think it would’ve helped me hasten up the process and maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t have taken me years to confront my dad, tell him my truth and hear him say that something that sounded like “i don’t care and i love you.” instead of being paranoid and angry all those years, i would’ve been a lot happier a lot faster.

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