I still believe in man
A wise one asked me why
Cause I just don’t believe we’re wicked
I know that we sin but I do believe we try
We all try
-“We All Try” by Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean sang this song a few years ago for his mixtape Nostalgia Ultra, however, the hope he had in past for mankind may have just been wishful thinking. Today (Tuesday), the young contemporary R&B singer broke out of his silence to pen an emotional post on his Tumblr page in response to the tragic Orlando Shootings at the LGBTQ nightclub Pulse last week.
Though the piece is trite, he filled it with sophisticated, complex, and philosophical ideas and thoughts. In the post, he discusses how today’s society has no respect for the LGBTQ community and how there still is no acceptance of these people in our society. He then goes on to reference the treatment of gay men in ISIS, the Orlando Shooting, and his own father’s mistreatment of him. In the past few days, weeks, and even year, there have been a lot to celebrate and rejoice for, but there have also been a lot of events and things to mourn for and be disheartened by. Celebrities dying of disease or old age, world struggles, horrific shootings in Orlando, and so much more. Being a part of the LGBTQ community, Ocean, took this opportunity to reflect and give a radical response to the massacre in probably one of the most beautiful and powerful kind of ways.
“So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest?”
Similar to one of his most famous singles “Bad Religion,” Ocean questions and challenges people of their logic in justifying their prejudice and discrimination through religion. It is essentially counterintuitive and unholy.
Ocean has been missing to the music world for some time now, with the exception of a few pictures here and there from artists like Lil B’s Instagram, but for the most part, he’s become a ghost. Fans of his have been eagerly waiting for the New Orlean’s-native to drop his supposed new album, but have become quite impatient when the release did not happen as it had been announced to be. Nonetheless, the people close in his life have notified the crowd that he is working in the studio and is working hard. But he will only release it when he feels ready. When will that be? Ocean’s producer Malay told fans that they will be “pleasantly surprised” when it drops, and artist James Blake said that “he’s onto something. He really is.”
For now we have to continue to wait, but you might as well read what he had to say in his poetic Tumblr post below. Let us know what you think:
I read in the paper that my brothers are being thrown from rooftops blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs for violating sharia law. I heard the crowds stone these fallen men if they move after they hit the ground. I heard it’s in the name of God. I heard my pastor speak for God too, quoting scripture from his book. Words like abomination popped off my skin like hot grease as he went on to describe a lake of fire that God wanted me in. I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month. I heard the gunman feigned dead among all the people he killed. I heard the news say he was one of us. I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty. That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t. Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist. Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. Many don’t see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year. So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest? I daydream on the idea that maybe all this barbarism and all these transgressions against ourselves is an equal and opposite reaction to something better happening in this world, some great swelling wave of openness and wakefulness out here. Reality by comparison looks grey, as in neither black nor white but also bleak. We are all God’s children, I heard. I left my siblings out of it and spoke with my maker directly and I think he sounds a lot like myself. If I being myself were more awesome at being detached from my own story in a way I being myself never could be. I wanna know what others hear, I’m scared to know but I wanna know what everyone hears when they talk to God. Do the insane hear the voice distorted? Do the indoctrinated hear another voice entirely?
You can hear the song from the lyrics above here: