“In 2012, some folks find it more provocative that a black man has loved another man than if he had done violence against one.” ~Dr. Herukhuti
In To Be Young Gifted and Black, Lorraine Hansberry proclaimed, “For some time now—I think since I was a child—I have been possessed of the desire to put down the stuff of my life…. And, I am quite certain, there is only one internal quarrel: how much of the truth to tell? How much, how much, how much! It is brutal in sober uncompromising moments, to reflect on the comedy of concern we all enact when it comes to our precious images!
Telling the truth of one’s life can be a complicated and dangerous endeavor, especially when you are young, gifted, black and queer (in this context I use queer to mean having experienced something other than normative Eros). It may mean that you destroy the hopes, dreams and expectations constructed for you to fulfill—only to have new ones built in their place. This is why the concept of coming out is so limiting as a way to explain what happens when someone puts “down the stuff of [their] life.”
Social media booked, tumbled and tweeted itself into a frenzy last week in response to, R&B and sometime Hip Hop artist, Frank Ocean’s Tumblr posting … In the post of a December 27th 2011 journal entry, written while on a plane ride from his birthplace of NOLA to L.A., Ocean eloquently explores his experience of love toward/with/for an undisclosed man. Travel gives us time to reflect on the things we’ve done, should have done, and wanted to do. The solitude of certain forms of travel, like the anonymity of an airplane with its recycled air and pressurized environment, can bring us closer to the immediacy of our needs—needs like love, unconditional and reciprocated. Media sources have alleged that the self-disclosure was precipitated by a music reviewer noting instances in Ocean’s forthcoming debut studio album in which the singer/songwriter uses male pronouns in expressing love and Eros toward someone.
… . Ocean is at the early stages of what seems to be a promising career in the music industry, an industry that in recent years has been transformed by changes in technology distribution and access—changes that have given artists and consumers more opportunities to own, control and share music. So what does it mean for Ocean to have both fluidly written homosexual and heterosexual desire into his album and shared with the social media world his experience of a love of a man—his first love and a love that was “malignant” and “hopeless” and yet he gratefully credited with changing his life? CONTINUE
Dr. Herukhuti is founder of The Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality, author of the book Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality, co-editor of Sexuality, Religion and the Sacred: Bisexual, Panexual and Polysexual Perspectives, high priest of the Shrine of Sekhmet and Heruhet (Brooklyn, NY), and faculty member at Goddard College (Plainfield, VT) and Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara, CA).