Black Men, Stop Using Frank Ocean’s Coming Out To Deflect From Your Own Sexual Promiscuity
I’m somewhat amused at how heterosexual black men, particularly rappers, have turned Frank ocean’s coming out into an opportunity to redeem themselves from the HIV/AIDS/STD-spreading sexually promiscuous and indiscriminate labels that have been placed upon them. While elsewhere on the web, rappers like Jay-Z were celebrating Frank’s courage to be an openly gay male hip-hop artist, other lesser-known figures in the genre were suddenly concerned with the sexual health and well-being of the community rather than addressing the issue on everyone else’s mind which was how would black rappers accept a fellow rapper who was gay. Lil Scrappy first offender on that side, telling TMZ Live:
“I’m glad that [Frank Ocean] came out … so all the real women that love to mess with real men, straight men, we can keep the AIDS situation down, you feel me?” He continued on with “Homosexuality is a doorway to AIDS, scientifically.”
It doesn’t take much effort to identify the host of things that are wrong with his statement but I think his remarks have been eclipsed by ones made by rapper Killer Mike in an interview with The Grio. Questioning him about nonchalant tweets he sent after Frank Ocean came out, Killer Mike gave The Grio a similar reaction to the news, sidestepping the true issue on the table and opening up an entirely different discussion.
“Black women tend to be overly celebratory about things that directly or could directly affect them in a harmful way,” he said. “I watch black women on twitter malign heterosexual black men who they view as promiscuous. I watch them malign them every day, yet it’s harder for a woman to give HIV to a man than it is for a man to give it to a woman. I watch the same women celebrate bisexuality in a black man. I don’t judge bisexuality or homosexuality; to each his own. I grew up under wonderful gay uncles who are the reason why I went to Morehouse, the reason why I have certain fashion sensibilities. They are the ones that gave me culture because my dad and stepdad were just manly kind of men. Artistically and culturally I am who I am because of my gay uncles.
“That being said we have to admit that when engaging in anal sex; it carries a higher risk for something. So I am just amazed when I see black women who just castigate their heterosexual partners to dirt level, celebrate gay and bisexual in a way that is almost exclusive of how their distrustful they are of black women. They look down on black women and say that ‘I’m not a Slore,’ but all these other whores are. In how they look down on heterosexual men who are traditionally their partners, but they celebrate somehow another group of man that supposedly will never betray them and seek their heterosexual partner.
“I support Frank Ocean’s freedom to be who he is. I congratulate Frank Ocean. I feel that my gay uncles would be ashamed of me to be anything else. With that said, I’m not ever going to let black women who don’t let us off the hook, off the hook. I’m not going to let sisters who are the highest growing population of HIV cases off the hook either. There is some sick s*it in our community we got to get our head around. That’s a problem.”
For starters, when it comes to the HIV/AIDS epidemic swarming through the black community, no one should be let off the hook. Men and women of all sexual orientations are responsible for the spread and finger pointing and preconceived notions about the likelihood of one particular group continuing its spread is not only counterproductive, but likely part of the reason the numbers continue to rise among us as they do.
When I observed the celebration of Frank Ocean’s coming out by black men and women alike, the down-low phenomenon seemed to be the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. People weren’t celebrating the fact that a man who we still don’t know is bisexual or simply homosexual was coming clean and confessing his sexual orientation as some sort of obligation. What garnered so much attention was the fact that a member of such a seemingly homophobic musical genre as hip-hop was brave enough and comfortable enough with himself and who he sleeps with at night to out himself voluntarily and accept any potential backlash that could come with it. While it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility that certain artists wouldn’t want to work with him in the future, I certainly didn’t foresee his openness as an opportunity to speak on HIV/AIDS or to try to put black women on blast. But as is customary these days, that’s what this has turned into.