The media has blown up in the last week with the reports on Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean coming out of the closet. After reading ’round the internet a bit I have formed an opinion on what I think about all of this. Please note that I love Anderson Cooper and I think Frank Ocean is an amazing songwriter, however I am questioning their intentions on timing of their "coming out."
I read a Huffington Post article from the “Gay Voices” section that made a lot of sense. Anderson Cooper claimed he did not come out before because his safety was in danger due to the fact that he reports in countries wherein citizens are hostile toward gay men. The question becomes “hmmm, so does he plan to stay in the studio from now on?” Probably not! I believe it’s more likely to endanger him as the CNN’s poster child for journalism and this is why it took him so long to come out. It is so difficult to believe anyone anymore. Was Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage a part of his campaign strategy? If so, is Anderson Copper’s coming out going to subliminally show his support for Obama? How could he be against gay marriage and be gay. That doesn’t make sense. Was this all a strategy? Clearly, Anderson Cooper has been gay for quite some time. On the creative side of my brain I can see an innocent fear of coming out prior to the President showing support for gay marriage. There is a danger in being a journalism and not being objective. Will they give him more stories to cover that are directed toward the LGBT community as a method of gaining support for this market? Unlike Frank Ocean, Anderson Cooper explicitly states “I’m gay” in his coming out.
I read an interesting article on NPR.com analyzing Frank Ocean’s letter. The writer pointed out that while everyone else is saying Frank Ocean is gay or bisexual he actually did not use any term to coin his sexuality. In the letter he never said “I’m gay” or “I’m bisexual.” He expressed his emotion toward appreciation of the brave people who are able to be “who they really are.” I write “who they really are” in quotes because this could be anybody being anything. It was an appreciation for being true to yourself in whatever you are. The letter does speak of his love for a male when he was 19. It also mentions that he’s had relationships with women. The letter does not conclude on a particular sexuality. Why? If you’re gay say you’re gay or better yet just be gay. If not, what was the point of this letter? Oh, just so happened that Frank Ocean has an album about to drop! The letter was written in winter. It’s summer! What was the hold up on putting the letter out or coming out? Maybe the album wasn’t ready yet. Maybe he was afraid. Afraid to say be true to yourself? Afraid to say have sex with who you want? So what now Frank Ocean? Will you be dating men? Will you be dating women? Now that he put out this letter of cute memories I think it is fair to ask “Dear Frank Ocean, are you gay or were you just in love with this man?”
Overall, I feel that it is difficult to trust anyone in media, music, or politics. The LGBT community is on its way to becoming a publicly acceptable market. Soon there will be an organization that is bold enough to add same-sex couples to their commercials. Soon there will be same-sex billboards that are not focused on HIV/AIDS or sex at all. There will be car ads and fast food commercials with same-sex couples sharing french fries and winking at each other. I am not against any of this I am just making the point that our society is marketing and money driven. I am not sure if I believe that Anderson Cooper or Frank Ocean coming out of the closet was purely all about them being true to themselves. Part of me leans toward this being a marketing angle for their next venture, news story, or album. I am in favor of people staying true to themselves, however revealing your truth for the sake of selling your soul is useless.