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frank ocean thanks prince for rejecting gender conformity in emotional tumblr note

"He was a straight black man who played his first televised set in bikini bottoms and knee high heeled boots, epic," Ocean wrote.

by Hannah Ongley
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22 April 2016, 7:04am

The devastating death of pop superstar Prince yesterday has caused an outpouring of emotional eulogies from the music world's most disparate corners. Now the increasingly enigmatic Frank Ocean has emerged to pen a heartbreaking Tumblr note to the late icon, thanking him in length for his outright rejection of "archaic" ideas regarding gender conformity. 

"He was a straight black man who played his first televised set in bikini bottoms and knee high heeled boots, epic," Ocean wrote. "He made me feel more comfortable with how I identify sexually simply by his display of freedom from an irreverence for obviously archaic ideas like gender conformity etc. He moved me to be more daring and intuitive with my own work by his demonstration — his denial of the prevailing model... A vanguard and genius by every metric I know of who affected many in a way that will outrun oblivion for a long while." 

Ocean first opened up about his sexuality in a Tumblr post in 2012, over three decades after Prince's first television performance in a zebra-print bikini. "I feel like a free man," Ocean wrote at the time. "If I listen closely.. I can hear the sky falling too." Though time has hardly granted the Channel Orange artist immunity from homophobic backlash. 

Read Ocean's whole statement below.

"I'M NOT EVEN GONNA SAY REST IN PEACE BECAUSE IT'S BIGGER THAN DEATH. I NEVER MET THE MAN (I WAS TOO NERVOUS THE ONE TIME I SAW HIM) AND I NEVER SAW HIM PLAY LIVE, REGRETTABLY. I ONLY KNOW THE LEGENDS I'VE HEARD FROM FOLKS AND WHAT I'VE HEARD AND SEEN FROM HIS DEEP CATALOG OF PROPELLANT, FEARLESS, VIRTUOSIC WORK. MY ASSESSMENT IS THAT HE LEARNED EARLY ON HOW LITTLE VALUE TO ASSIGN TO SOMEONE ELSE'S OPINION OF YOU.. AN INFECTIOUS SENTIMENT THAT SEEMED SOAKED INTO HIS CLOTHES, HIS HAIR, HIS WALK, HIS GUITAR AND HIS PRIMAL SCREAM. HE WROTE MY FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME, 'WHEN YOU WERE MINE'. IT'S A SIMPLE SONG WITH A SIMPLE MELODY THAT MAKES YOU WISH YOU THOUGHT OF IT FIRST, EVEN THOUGH YOU NEVER WOULD HAVE - A FLIRTATIOUS BRAND OF GENIUS THAT FEELS APPROACHABLE. HE WAS A STRAIGHT BLACK MAN WHO PLAYED HIS FIRST TELEVISED SET IN BIKINI BOTTOMS AND KNEE HIGH HEELED BOOTS, EPIC. HE MADE ME FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE WITH HOW I IDENTIFY SEXUALLY SIMPLY BY HIS DISPLAY OF FREEDOM FROM AND IRREVERENCE FOR OBVIOUSLY ARCHAIC IDEAS LIKE GENDER CONFORMITY ETC. HE MOVED ME TO BE MORE DARING AND INTUITIVE WITH MY OWN WORK BY HIS DEMONSTRATION - HIS DENIAL OF THE PREVAILING MODEL…HIS FIGHT FOR HIS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY - 'SLAVE' WRITTEN ACROSS THE FOREHEAD, NAME CHANGED TO A SYMBOL… AN ALL OUT REBELLION AGAINST EXPLOITATION. A VANGUARD AND GENIUS BY EVERY METRIC I KNOW OF WHO AFFECTED MANY IN A WAY THAT WILL OUTRUN OBLIVION FOR A LONG WHILE. I'M PROUD TO BE A PRINCE FAN(STAN) FOR LIFE."

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Text Hannah Ongley