Chuck D: ‘Ocean’s sexuality statement is no hip-hop first’

Frank Ocean's honesty about his sexuality is less groundbreaking because he is a singer, says Chuck D

Public Enemy‘s Chuck D has commended Frank Ocean for discussing his sexuality – but insisted that his honesty is no breakthrough for hip-hop.

On Tuesday (July 4), Ocean opened up about his sexuality in a lengthy post on his Tumblr page, revealing that his first true love was with a man. Recalling the relationship, he wrote: “By the time I realised I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating to the women I had been with, the ones I cared for and thought I was in love with.”

Ocean is a member of the Odd Future collective, but Chuck D claimed that his statement will not impact the hip-hop world heavily because Ocean is not a rapper. Speaking to NME at a Polish music festival, he said: “I’ve always thought of Frank Ocean as an R&B singer… When people say that this is a hip-hop first, it’s not really because he’s not a straight rapper – no pun intended. He may be part of Odd Future, but he’s a singer.”

Chuck D proceeded to explain that a true breakthrough will only come when a “hardcore rapper” decides to come out. He continued: “I commend Frank Ocean for coming out and saying it, but it’s not a first because there’s plenty of black male gay singers. Even when they don’t admit it, you kind of know. If you heard somebody like… I don’t want to say a name, because people will talk… but like somebody in the Wu-Tang Clan or something, if they came out then that would be groundbreaking. That would be totally challenging.”

He also urged Ocean – who releases his debut solo album, ‘Channel Orange’, on July 16 – to continue his honesty in the recording studio. He explained: “My thing is that there are so many people who are fronting not to be themselves. The whole key is that whatever Frank Ocean said, at least he was being real with it. The next thing is to sing about it. Write songs about it. Don’t say ‘OK, this is who I am but I’m going to sing about something else’. That’s the challenge.”

Public Enemy played a hit-packed set at Poland’s Open’er festival yesterday (July 6), performing new track ‘I Shall Not Be Moved’ live for the very first time, before closing with their 1989 classic ‘Fight The Power’.