The best artists are the ones who figure out a way to say exactly what you’ve been trying to say but couldn’t figure out how. Frank Ocean has always been one of those brilliant artists, but today he found a way to surprise even me, one of his biggest fans.
Ocean wrote a beautiful blog post reacting to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Although he is a self-described recluse who rarely comments on anything, he felt the need to share his feelings as someone who is in the LGBT community, and I couldn’t be more grateful that he did.
The whole post is full of beautiful insights and tragic commentary about the heartbreak we are all feeling, but the one part in particular that hit home was when Ocean wrote, “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?”
When you read the words in black and white, it’s impossible to understand how anyone could hate people to the point of murder simply because they’re trying to live their lives. The LGBT community asks for nothing more than marriage, restrooms and a night out with friends without threats or the threat of murder. That’s it.
And yet, none of us can promise that. Not even their strongest allies can promise their safety because, as Ocean says, the same values of hate and condemnation are passed down from generation to generation.
He went on to write, “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.”
And he’s right. The victims of the Orlando shooting still had their funerals picketed by the infamous hate group the Westboro Baptist Church. The Senate still doesn’t see a need to control assault rifle sales. We’re right back where we started, only now we’re short 49 beautiful souls.
If we can’t change the minds of adults now, the very least we can do is listen to Ocean and refuse to pass down the same old values that lead to way too many deaths every year.