The Meaning of Frank Ocean

When the up-and-coming musician came out, he drew praise from celebrities and his hip-hop collaborators, and revived the question of whether gays have a place in the industry.

BY Terrance Dean

September 14 2012 5:20 AM ET

Rapper MC Lyte (left) performs onstage during VH1 Divas Salute the Troops in December 2010.

 

Donnie’s music is much more about social messaging, as he addresses ideas that have perplexed the black population and society as a whole. “The music I do is political. I will mention being gay and talk about homophobia, but my songs are not love songs,” Donnie says. “I didn’t want to play the pronoun game and say ‘she’ when I meant ‘he.’ When you’re a songwriter and you’re writing a song, you want people to be involved. I am going to say ‘you,’ ‘we,’ ‘us,’ and ‘they.’ I am not going to sit here and say ‘she’ because it blocks a lot of people out.”

Singer-rapper-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello wasn’t ashamed to speak about her bisexuality. She was one of the first artists to be signed to Madonna’s record label, Maverick Records, in 1992. Her latest album, Pour une Ame Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, is due out October 9.

“I was very lucky in that Maverick Records saw it as a benefit and not a hindrance,” Ndegeocello says. “They thought of it as a marketing angle. I totally understood that. I never had to deal with pressure from them.”

On Ndegeocello’s controversial single “Leviticus: Faggot,” she spoke candidly about a young man discovering his homosexuality and the rejection from his family.

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