Frank Ocean doesn’t do many interviews, but the reclusive singer granted GQ some face time and a photo shoot for the magazine’s “Men of the Year” issue. Ocean, who changed his name from Lonny Breaux to Christopher Francis Ocean, opened up about his incredible year and bombshell announcement that rocked the hip-hop and R&B world (“The night I posted [the letter], I cried like a fu**ing baby,” he says).
Frank has a lot on his plate these days—he’s writing a song for Quentin Tarantino’s western film Django Unchained, new music for Beyoncé and Alicia Keys, and his own third album. Plus, the video game fanatic is thinking about opening his own arcade and plotting a European tour, which he wants to model after Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” tour.
In the photos, he models winter sport coats alongside his Odd Future groupmates Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt at a car shop (Frank is a BMW enthusiast) and Farmers Market in L.A.
On why he decided to go public with his sexuality: “If I’m going to say this, I’m going to be better than all you pieces of shit. What you going to say now? You can’t say, ‘Oh, they’re only listening to him because he said this.’ No, they’re listening to me because I’m gifted, and this project is brilliant.”
On fears that his bisexuality would hurt his career: “I had those fears. In black music, we’ve got so many leaps and bounds to make with acceptance and tolerance in regard to that issue. It reflects something just ingrained, you know. When I was growing up, there was nobody in my family—not even my mother—who I could look to and be like, ‘I know you’ve never said anything homophobic.’ So, you know, you worry about people in the business who you’ve heard talk that way.”
On the timing of his “coming out” letter: “Some people said, ‘He’s saying he fell in love with a guy for hype.’ As if that’s the best hype you can get in hip-hop or black music. So I knew that if I was going to say what I said, it had to be in concert with one of the most brilliant pieces of art that has come out in my generation.”
On whether he considers himself bisexual: “I’ll respectfully say that life is dynamic and comes along with dynamic experiences, and the same sentiment that I have towards genres of music, I have towards a lot of labels and boxes and shit. I’m in this business to be creative—I’ll even diminish it and say to be a content provider. One of the pieces of content that I’m for fuck sure not giving is porn videos. I’m not a centerfold. I’m not trying to sell you sex. People should pay attention to that in the letter: I didn’t need to label it for it to have impact.”
On meeting Odd Future: “At 20 or 21, I had, I think, a couple hundred thousand dollars [from producing and songwriting], a nice car, a Beverly Hills apartment—and I was miserable. Because of the relationship in part and the heartbreak in part, and also just miserable because of like just carting that around. And here was this group of like-minded individuals whose irreverence made me revere. The do-it-yourself mentality of OF really rubbed off on me.”
Read the rest of the interview on GQ.com.
Photo credit: Peggy Sirota/GQ