Have you been hearing the name Frank Ocean a lot lately? I sure have, and I confess I didn't know who the sought-after R&B singer even was until the hubbub over his coming out letter. In a music genre well-known for stereotypes and homophobic rap lyrics, Ocean made -- in my opinion -- an amazingly brave choice to publish a blog post about falling in love with a man when he was 19.
As it turns out, he's been making news for years by collaborating with stars like Justin Bieber, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. But right or wrong, it was his post about his sexuality that aimed enough attention his way that even clueless-about-R&B dorks like myself know his name now.
At 24, Ocean definitely seems like a fiery young star on the rise. Check out these 5 maybe-you-already-knew, maybe-you-didn't tidbits about this buzzworthy performing artist:
His original name. Ocean was born Christopher Breaux, but he changed it to Christopher Francis William Ocean in 2010. His friends call him Lonny.
His background. He was originally a ghostwriter for artists like Justin Bieber, Bridget Kelly, Brandy, Beyonce, and John Legend, and he's worked with with artists such as Nas and Pharrell Williams. In 2010, he joined Odd Future, an LA hip-hop collective known, in part, for their controversial lyrics and habit of dissing other musicians and celebs.
His Twitter beef with Chris Brown. Chris Brown once tweeted, “I f--k wit Frank Ocean! Reminds me of a young James Fauntleroy or Kevin Cossom,” which Ocean apparently didn't appreciate. Ocean then compared Brown to Ike Turner, and they were off to the races from there:
Chris Brown: "@frank_ocean it was a compliment you bitch ass n---a. Everybody claim to be the devil till they meet him"
Frank Ocean: "i just dont like underhanded comments. thats all im saying."
Chris Brown: "F--k odd future! Make sure y'all smalltime n----s stick yo chess out when u speak to me...Ain't no battery in my back! U just getting on a-- n----s! Don't let them pills go to yo head! I was tryna help yo sales n---a. You f----n clown! You and @f--ktyler would be casted great for planet of the apes!"
Boys, boys! Chill out, there's plenty of stupid to go around.
His mysterious arrest. Ocean had some sort of run-in with the police in 2011. No details have been forthcoming, aside from his tweeted confession that he “just got out of jail,” followed by a stream of rage-against-the-LAPD comments.
His sabotaged Target sales. Target is currently refusing to carry Ocean's latest album, Channel Orange. According to Ocean's manager, it's because of Ocean's sexuality. According to the retailer, it's because Ocean chose to digitally release the album a week early exclusively on iTunes. Personally, I'm going to side with Target on this one, especially considering the plethora of openly gay artists they already carry.
Are you familiar with Frank Ocean? Were you surprised by his coming out post?
Image via FrankOcean.com