Frank Ocean confirms bisexuality in heartfelt open letter: ‘I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore’

After rumors about his sexuality began circulating following a post on UK blog ThisIsMax, celebrated R&B crooner and Odd Future affiliate Frank Ocean addressed and confirmed them in an open letter posted on his own blog Wednesday morning.

In a July 2nd blog post detailing a recent listening event for Ocean’s upcoming channelORANGE album, blogger Max Akhtar wrote the following:

Frank has also opened up about his sexuality on the album, we think it’s brave and admire him for being so honest and sharing such a personal aspect of his life through his music. On the songs ‘Bad Religion’ ‘Pink Matter and ‘Forrest Gump’ you can hear him sing about being in love and there are quite obvious words used like ‘him’ and not ‘her’.

Her revelation sparked a roar of criticism and rumors around the blog world and Twittersphere, with many wondering whether Akhtar actually heard what she thought she did.

Early Wednesday morning, Ocean responded to the rumors by taking to his blog with a pair of posts. The first was simply a short note to introduce the second. It read, in part:

what i’m about to post is for anyone who cares to read. it was intended to fill the thank you’s section in my album credits, but with all the rumors going round.. i figured it’d be good to clarify..

The second is a long, heartfelt screed detailing the summer he found his first love in a male friend.

“4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost,” he wrote. “By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiation with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love, it changed my life.”

The letter goes on to explain his emotions after telling his friend how he felt, only to find that those feelings were not mutual.

“I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best. But he wouldn’t admit the same. … I felt like I’d only imagined reciprocity for years.”

Ocean ends the letter, which was intended for the channelORANGE liner notes, with a series of “thank-yous” and the declaration that he now feels “like a free man.”

Read the letter in full below:

Whoever you are, wherever you are, I’m beginning to think we’re a lot alike. Human beings spinning on blackness. All wanting to be seen, touched, heard, paid attention to. My loved ones are everything to me here. In the last year or 3 I’ve screamed at my creator. Screamed at clouds in the sky. For some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like manna somehow. 4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence … until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiation with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love, it changed my life.

Back then, my mind would wander to the women I had been with, the ones I cared for and thought I was in love with. I reminisced about the sentimental songs I enjoyed when I was a teenager … the ones I played when I experienced a girlfriend for the first time. I realized they were written in a language I did not yet speak. I realized too much, too quickly. Imagine being thrown from a plane. I wasn’t in a plane though. I was in a Nissan Maxima, the same car I packed up with bags and drove to Los Angeles in. I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best. But he wouldn’t admit the same. He had to go back inside soon. It was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs. He wouldn’t tell me the truth about his feelings for me for another 3 years. I felt like I’d only imagined reciprocity for years. Now imagine being thrown from a cliff. No, I wasn’t on a cliff. I was still in my car telling myself it was gonna be fine and to take deep breaths. I took the breaths and carried on. I kept up a peculiar friendship with him because I couldn’t imagine keeping up my life without him. I struggled to master myself and my emotions. I wasn’t always successful.

The dance went on … I kept the rhythm for several summers after. It’s winter now. I’m typing this on a plane back to Los Angeles from New Orleans. I flew home for another marred Christmas. I have a windowseat. It’s December 27, 2011. By now I’ve written two albums, this being the second. I wrote to keep myself busy and sane. I wanted to create worlds that were rosier than mine. I tried to channel overwhelming emotions. I’m surprised at how far all of it has taken me. Before writing this I’d told some people my story. I’m sure these people kept me alive; kept me sane … sincerely, these are the folks I wanna thank from the floor of my heart. Everyone of you knows who you are … great humans, probably angels. I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore. There’s probably some small shit still, but you know what I mean. I was never alone, as much as I felt like it … as much as I still do sometimes. I never was. I don’t think I ever could be. Thanks. To my first love. I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even though it wasn’t what I hoped for and even though it was never enough, it was. Some things never are … and we were. I won’t forget you. I won’t forget the summer. I’ll remember who I was when I met you. I’ll remember who you were and how we’ve both changed and stayed the same. I’ve never had more respect for life and living than I have right now. Maybe it takes a near death experience to feel alive. Thanks. To my mother, you raised me strong. I know I’m only brave because you were first … so thank you. All of you. For everything good. I feel like a free man. If I listen closely … I can hear the sky falling too.

– Frank

Ocean is the first member of the mainstream Hip-Hop/R&B community to freely and publicly admit his homosexuality. In June 2011, legendary New York DJ and radio personality Mr. Cee plead guilty to one charge of loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution offense after his March arrest for being caught in a lewd sex act with a young man. Outside of some initial denials that the charge was true, though, Cee has never publicly addressed the issue or commented about his sexuality.

Since Ocean’s letter became public, dozens of fans, media personalities and celebrities have been showing their support via Twitter. The obvious question would be how his partners in Odd Future — a collective that counts an open lesbian among its members but is known and roundly criticized for its often homophobic lyrics — would react to the news. OFWGKTA frontman Tyler, The Creator is among the chorus of well-wishers, congratulating Ocean for his bravery in a way that only he can.

Take a look at some of the celebrity tweets below:

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