Is He or Isn’t He?: Frank Ocean and Black Male Bisexuality

by Jessica C. Andrews

The Internet is swirling today with rumors that Frank Ocean is bisexual. The evidence? Lyrics from his upcoming album “Channel Orange.”

Songs like “Bad Religion,” “Pink Matter” and “Forrest Gump” were reported to have bisexual undertones by the London Press after a preview session of the album.

London TV/Radio correspondent, Max of writes:

“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’ and ‘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’.”

Even if his songs do play “the pronoun game,” his lyrics aren’t any indication that he is personally bisexual.

And if he is, what’s the big deal?

Is it because he has a sizable fan base in the hip-hop and R&B community, an audience that reportedly shuns male bisexuality while praising female bisexuality? Is it because he’s a black artist in the spotlight?

Non-black public figures come out of the closet with little more fanfare than a press release and magazine cover (Ricky Martin, Anderson Cooper). And while there are some black celebrities who have bravely declared their sexuality in a public forum, there are more rumored homosexual artists who never confirm one way or another. Queen Latifah and Raven-Symone are examples.

Reactions to Frank Ocean’s supposed bisexuality have ranged from nonchalant to vitriolic. The latter reveals we collectively have a long way to go in embracing non-hetero black men in the spotlight. Not only is Ocean’s sexuality not our business, but it’s also not important. And it has no bearing on his immense, remarkable talent.

Max continues:

“‘Channel Orange’ is a beautiful album and worthy of sitting next to classics by Prince, Michael Jackson, George Benson, and Sade.”

Shouldn’t the music be the focus, anyway?

What are your thoughts, Clutchettes?

UPDATE: Frank Ocean posted a letter on his Tumblr confirming his bisexuality.

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  • chanela17

    well i remember reading somewhere that “people” want singers and writers to refrain from being gender specific in songs so people won’t think they’re being homophobic *rolls eyes*. they don’t want people to feel left out so if you notice, a lot of songs aren’t “in love with you girl” or “i love him” ect. people are being too too TOO PC nowadays.

  • PhenaBena

    Don’t believe things about people until they say it themselves…sorry

  • Koko Lawrence

    I feel that if in fact he is “bi”, then he is playing into the game as well. If you’re creative enough to use metaphors and pronouns to distinguish the person/gender in a song, then you should be open enough to being creatively who you are whether gay or straight.

  • Right as Rain

    I’ve never understood the fascination some have with speculating about one’s sexuality.

  • Tonton Michel


  • Koko Lawrence

    I don’t think there is a fascination with sexuality. I think when its being hidden like a bad thing, that’s when eyebrows are raised.

  • Right as Rain

    Except, I didn’t say that there is a fascination with sexuality. I specifically stated that some people have a fascination with SPECULATING about ONE’S sexuality.

  • Koko Lawrence

    I agree with you on that aspect. I was speaking in general and not directing my response towards yours. The main idea behind my comment was stating my own confusion with artists that hide behind their creative clauses and not be truthful to their entire being, whether straight or gay.

  • Erin

    Exactly. He seems to be pretty open. I heard the “Forrest Gump” song, and although he’s singing about a male, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s bisexual. I hope he addresses the rumors.

  • sholla21

    He’s getting a lot of press from this so good for him. I’m sure some people who never heard of him before are on Youtube right now listening to one of his songs.

    As for his sexual orientation, I don’t care. I liked his songs before. I turn my back on artists who beat their girlfriends, go on racist rants and molest children, things like that. Not because of who they love (as long as they’re legal, lol)

  • libpatriot

    There is no such thing as a Bisexual man. Men are either straight or gay. Let me validate, no man leaves his boyfriend to see his girlfriend, this does not happen,

  • Right as Rain

    Naw, it happens to Black women too.

  • Libby

    Either way he can’t sing or write whether he is gay, straight or all the above.

  • Indigorama

    there so much to say, but i’m sure it’ll be lost on you. suffice to say, you’re wrong…

  • Millie

    I wondered after hearing the second verse on ‘we all try’. It doesn’t affect me in any way though.

  • Evie Huxtable

    Welp, whether he is or not, Nicki Minaj rode the “is she bisexual?” train to fame, and this looks like Frank Ocean purchased a ticket on that route!

  • Linda

    If Frank Ocean is bisexual, good for him. So often, Black men are only considered virile if they’re selling the macho heterosexual card. We need to acknowledge and support our LGBT men and women in the Black community.

    Personally, I will wait until Mr. Ocean come forth and states his sexuality before jumping to conclusion over song lyrics. Artist should be free to be expressive and experimental. That said. I look forward to his new album.

  • sharay

    He’s bisexual. He posted a blog post about his first love being a man on his official website. Good for him. He’s got balls for sure.

  • LaNeshe

    I don’t care about his orientation… but I need to hear any album that is said to hold up to one from the King himself, Michael Jackson.

  • Blair

    How do you know? Are you gay? No? I rest my case..

  • Libby

    He calls women bitches in his songs, so let’s not go overboard.

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