Frank Ocean’s Sexual Healing

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Channel Orange
by Frank Ocean
Def Jam Records

 

EARLIER THIS YEAR, Frank Ocean hit the 55th Grammy Awards like a tsunami. Nominated for six awards, Ocean took home two—for Best Urban Contemporary and for Rap Collaboration—and performed a down-tempo love song to a guy named Forrest Gump. Best described by the Los Angeles Times as a “tortured ode to Ocean’s unrequited love for another man” with a “boundary-busting truth” at its core, “Forrest Gump” is as smooth as it is subversive. It’s also an obvious allusion to the movie with Tom Hanks in which the title character can’t stop running. “You run my mind boy,” Ocean croons, “You’re so buff and so strong.” But it’s Ocean who is strong, even fearless, given the fact that no contemporary hip-hop artist until now has stood on the Grammy stage and sang so openly about a same-sex attraction.

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