By Carter Maness
Ocean, saying the decision was like “removing a bolder from my chest,” felt it was important to be honest with his fans and avoid potential confusion about the male-focused viewpoint of songs like “Bad Religion” and “Forrest Gump.” “It was about my own sanity and my ability to feel like I’m living a life where… I’m happy when I wake up in the morning,” he said.
For Ocean, it was also about artist transparency. “I wished at 13 there was somebody I looked up to who would have said something like that, who would have been transparent in that way,” he said.
While many viewed the revelation as a risky choice, Ocean disagreed, saying that he feels people are too afraid to be honest about themselves. “People are just afraid of things too much,” he said. “Sure, evil exists, extremism exists. Somebody could commit a hate crime and hurt me. But they could do the same just because I’m black. They could do the same just because I’m American.”
Ocean’s Def Jam debut wasn’t negatively affected by the admission, either. Channel ORANGE, selling only digital copies, charted at no. 2 on the Billboard 200 in its first week with 131,000 copies sold.