Hip Hop music doesn’t have the following here in Australia that it does in the U.S. It’s partly just a cultural difference and partly because of the much smaller population here. So when I read on Towleroad and a couple of other blogs, rumours that a Hip Hop star was going to be coming out I acknowledged that it was a massively brave thing to do in such a notoriously homophobic culture but that was as far as my thoughts went. I’d never heard of Frank Ocean once he actually came out, only to read that he’s worked with some huge names in the music industry including writing for Beyonce.

Frank’s coming out, in the same week as Anderson Cooper stands to have a much broader impact on tolerance and acceptance than Cooper’s. Anderson is on tv broadcasting to middle America. He’s from an upper class background and white and probably fits the more cliched view of a gay man. Frank Ocean is a Hip Hop artist and he’s black. Now before you all shout me down for being racist, I’m not, hear me out. It was the black community that created the “down low” sub culture and is probably the least represented in gay characters on television and is a minority in gay porn. Also, unfortunately with social media being what it is, an easy outlet for bigots and the ignorant to quickly voice their hatred and intolerance, there have been a huge number of tweets calling Frank a faggot and other abusive tweets Most of the tweets I read at Hate Tweets to Frank Ocean seem to be from what would normally be called his peers. They are mostly young black men who probably listen to Hip Hop and probably admired him until they found out he loves men. Thankfully, the site gives people an opportunity to respond, hopefully in a positive way to the abusive tweeters.

I guess only time will tell whether people like Frank Ocean challenging perceptions in homophobic cultures will help things along or not. I’m hoping that it will. Especially when people like Jay-Z publicly applaud his decision to come out. Ironically despite the abusive tweets, Ocean’s new album is selling very well, possibly better than it would have otherwise.