Jimmy Fallon's cachet as a late-night television host just went up a notch thanks to Frank Ocean's first live performance since revealing in a public letter that he was once in love with a man. The Los Angeles Times reports that the letter was posted to Ocean's Tumblr blog on Wednesday, July 4. Since then, it's been a wild ride for the up and coming hip-hop singer.
Ocean performed his song "Bad Religion" on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" Monday night. The song, part of Ocean's new "Channel Orange" album, caused a stir as the 24-year-old's powerful first TV performance. The lyrics speak of an unrequited love for another man.
The Times called the performance "riveting" and noted that even the "typically snide" Gawker said Ocean's singing propelled him to "star" status. Fallon normally doesn't have such an attentive audience, and it seemed the audience was more enthusiastic than usual, according to NPR. Tickets for the show were given out a month ago, before Ocean was scheduled to appear.
The prodigy surprised fans by releasing "Channel Orange" to iTunes a week before its scheduled release date. Whoever decided to do that should be labeled a marketing genius for riding the waves of buzz and free publicity since Ocean's online revelation. The album is currently No. 1 on iTunes for downloads.
There are 17 tracks on "Channel Orange," all available for $1.29 each, and the entire album can be bought for $9.99. John Mayer is a featured vocalist on the song "White." More than a few songs have to do with love.
Tumblr blog started it all
Ocean's Tumblr blog post started it all a week before Fallon's performance. The format was similar to the thank-you section of liner notes that accompany traditional compact discs.
In the letter, Ocean stated that it was four summers ago when he met somebody. Both men were 19 years old, and they spent more than a year together, almost every day. Ocean states, "I was in love." Unfortunately for Ocean, his partner didn't return the same feelings and has since struggled to maintain a friendship with him.
MTV.com states that the liner notes from Ocean's blog entry are nowhere to be found in the digital copy of the album's release on iTunes. The original intent was that the letter be included as part of the release.
Support from industry insiders has been strong. Vibe executive editor Datwon Thomas told MTV that big names, such as Kanye West and Jay-Z, have already accepted Ocean. Another NPR article reveals that the hip-hop industry has been "in desperate need" of a singer such as Ocean. The New York Times even notes that the hip-hop group Odd Future, which Ocean is a part of, has a number of singers who drop anti-gay slurs.
Emotional outpourings often make for fantastic music. Ocean will be successful not because of his subject matter, but because he is emotionally connected to himself and his audience. After years of gay bullying and gay suicides in the news, Ocean's angst and personal revelations serve as an oasis in an often-cruel world for homosexuals and those exploring their identities.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Frank Ocean
- Jimmy Fallon