Frank Ocean Reacts to Orlando: 'Many People Hate Us and Wish We Didn't Exist'
Frank Ocean posted an impassioned essay on Tuesday (June 21) taking on homophobia and transphobia, anti-LGBT bias, North Carolina's "bathroom bill," violence and intolerance in the wake of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, saying, "many hate us and wish we didn't exist." In his lengthy Tumblr post, Ocean took on alleged crimes against the LGBT community overseas, invective in his church and a transphobic scene he observed with his dad early in life that seems to have created an irreparable rift with his father.
"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," Ocean wrote. "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."
Then, like so many others who were horrified and saddened by the killing of 49 and injuring of 53 at the Pulse by a man armed with a semi-automatic weapon and a handgun, Ocean reacted to the news and described how it reminded him of other traumatic incidents in his life.
"I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month," he wrote. "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."
Ocean, who has not released a new full-length since his Grammy-winning 2012 album Channel Orange, continued: "Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. 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."
To read Ocean's full essay, click here.