Frank Ocean
6.21.2016

Frank Ocean Pens Open Letter About Orlando Shooting, LGBT Rights, & Pride

In honor of LGBT Pride Month, Frank Ocean has published a chilling open letter about human rights and sexuality.

In a lengthy Tumblr post, the “Thinkin Bout You” singer delivers a heartbreaking message about life, death, and religion as they pertain to current events around the globe.

“I read in the paper that my brothers are being thrown from rooftops blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs for violating sharia law,” he wrote. “I heard the crowds stone these fallen men if they move after they hit the ground. I heard it’s in the name of God. I heard my pastor speak for God too, quoting scripture from his book. Words like abomination popped off my skin like hot grease as he went on to describe a lake of fire that God wanted me in.”

From there, Ocean continued by referencing the recent Orlando tragedy that has been called the worst mass shooting in our nation’s modern history, an incident that took place inside of a gay nightclub earlier this month. “I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month,” he continued. “I heard the gunman feigned dead among all the people he killed. I heard the news say he was one of us.”

The letter also detailed personal experiences Frank has had with insults and prejudice since he was just a young boy. “I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a fa**ot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty,” he added. “That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t.

“Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist,” he continued. “Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. Many don’t see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year. So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest?”

And though much of the letter is somber in tone, the ending is hopeful, but also filled with questions.

“I daydream on the idea that maybe all this barbarism and all these transgressions against ourselves is an equal and opposite reaction to something better happening in this world, some great swelling wave of openness and wakefulness out here,” he wrote. “Reality by comparison looks grey, as in neither black nor white but also bleak. We are all God’s children, I heard. I left my siblings out of it and spoke with my maker directly and I think he sounds a lot like myself. If I being myself were more awesome at being detached from my own story in a way I being myself never could be. I wanna know what others hear, I’m scared to know but I wanna know what everyone hears when they talk to God. Do the insane hear the voice distorted? Do the indoctrinated hear another voice entirely?”

Frank Ocean opened up about his sexuality in 2012. That same year, he released his Grammy-winning album, channel ORANGE. He is reportedly working on its long-awaited follow-up. Last year, it was believed that he would release a project titled Boys Don’t Cry, though it didn’t surface. This year, snippets from a secret listening session emerged online, but still no word on when the album is coming.

The reclusive Ocean has turned to Tumblr to speak out about a series of topics in recent years, including Prince’s death, the Paris attacks, and Donald Trump.