By Rob Markman
Frank Ocean used his Tumblr account to share a private part of his life this week. He detailed falling in love for the first time, with a man, and since then some fans have wondered if his sexual declaration would affect his group Odd Future. We asked a few hip-hop experts for their thoughts on the matter.
With a name like Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, you’d think Tyler, the Creator and his merry band of musical misfits have a certain level of camaraderie. In the crew’s formative stages, they created an us-against-them atmosphere, throwing barbs at anyone who didn’t fully support their endeavors.
“I think Frank and Tyler fit in perfectly together,” Paula Renfroe, editor in chief of Juicy magazine, told MTV News. “I actually love that when Frank posted his Tumblr that Tyler still took jabs at him like he’s his man. He didn’t change the way he spoke to him just because he made people aware of who his first love was.”
Odd Future — and particularly the crew’s de facto leader Tyler, the Creator — have been painted by many as homophobic. Most of it is due to how frequently Wolf Gang’s head throws around words like “faggot,” “gay” and his own slang term “sus” on Twitter and, at times, in his music. So after Ocean posted on Tumblr that he had at least once fell in love with a man, many wondered how the group would be affected internally.
“My big brother finally f—ing did that,” Tyler tweeted on Wednesday. “Proud of that n—a cause I know that sh– is difficult or whatever. Anyway. I’m a toilet.”
Not that homosexuality is anything new for the crew: Syd tha Kyd is a lesbian.
“I think Odd Future and Frank Ocean are probably tighter than they ever been. You can’t be homophobic and have a lesbian in crew. I can’t see how you can have that,” said Vibe executive editor Datwon Thomas. “I think Tyler does it for shock value. Of course, I think he knows it’s still a word that stings or still a concept that stings.”
Jerry Portwood, executive editor of Out magazine, doesn’t believe the members of OF are anti-gay either, no matter how inappropriate they may come off to others. “People really want Odd Future to be homophobic. When we profiled Syd the Kyd and talked to her about using the other F-word, which is faggot, people got really angry with us,” he said. “I think Frank, Tyler, Syd — a lot of times, I think they’re saying what they say to their friends, what their friends are saying, what we say to each other, but we’re not supposed to say in front of a camera or be recorded saying. I respect that.”
Vibe editor in chief Jermaine Hall agreed and went on to question why Tyler should change who he is simply to make people more comfortable. “They’re boys, they’re family. Why should he change up the way he addresses Frank?”