Beyoncé & Frank Ocean - "Super Power"
In appreciation of Black History Month, all of February will feature Black and Mixed Race artists.
We'll get to Queen B in a later post. This song, which I adore, was my first brush with Frank Ocean. He's a fighter. He stands up for equal rights and he fights for what he knows to be right. His unabashed queerness, which has hindered his career at times, makes him shine a beacon for those in the industry where consciously challenges homophobia and racism.
Known for his idiosyncratic musical style, Ocean first embarked on a career as a ghostwriter, and in 2010 he became a member of hip hop collective Odd Future. He released his breakout mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, to critical acclaim in 2011. It generated his first charting single "Novacane". In 2012, Ocean finished second place in the BBC's Sound of 2012.
His debut studio album, Channel Orange, was released in July 2012 to critical acclaim. It reached number two on the Billboard 200 and was promoted with three singles: "Thinkin Bout You", "Pyramids", and "Sweet Life". In 2016, Ocean released the visual album Endless alongside his second studio album Blonde, which was released independently following several years of delays. Blonde was highly acclaimed by critics, and debuted at number one in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Ocean wrote an open letter, initially intended for the liner notes on Channel Orange, that preemptively addressed speculation about his attraction in the past to another man. Instead, on July 4, 2012, he published an open letter on his Tumblr blog recounting unrequited feelings he had for another young man when he was 19 years old, citing it as his first true love. He used the blog to thank the man for his influence, and also thanked his mother and other friends, saying "I don't know what happens now, and that's alrite. I don't have any secrets I need kept anymore...I feel like a free man."
Numerous celebrities publicly voiced their support for Ocean following his announcement, including Beyoncé and Jay Z. Members of the hip hop industry generally responded positively to the announcement. Tyler, The Creator also tweeted his support for Ocean, along with other members of OFWGKTA. Russell Simmons, a business magnate in the hip hop industry, wrote a congratulatory article in Global Grind saying "Today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we? [...] Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear."
In June 2016, following the Orlando gay nightclub shooting that killed 49 people, Ocean published an essay expressing his sadness and frustration regarding the event. He mentions his first experience with homophobia was with his father when he was six years old and how many people pass on their hateful ideals to the next generation which sends thousands of people down the path of suicidal tendencies. In 2017, Ocean's father Calvin Cooksey sued him for $14.5 million over the homophobia claim. On 17 October 2017, and after a day-long hearing that saw Ocean, father Calvin Cooksey, and mother Katonya Breaux taking the stand, the residing U.S. District judge ruled that Cooksey hadn't provided sufficient evidence of defamation and ruled in favor of the singer.
So today with oceans to cross and superpowers to find, I choose Beyoncé & Frank Ocean's "Super Power" as my, learn to fly, channel the storm, link your mind, song for a, find the magic in the shadows, find the power in the light, fight the depth to every ocean, Thursday.