On the 2012 Odd Future collaboration, "Oldie", Frank Ocean coyly said, “I’m hi and I’m bye—wait—I mean I’m straight.” It's a tongue-in-cheek reference to his sexuality, which, though he speaks of in his music, is a part of his life he often keeps private. 

Ocean likes to keep us woke, hunting for queer nuggets in the goldmine of his music. He casually dropped his new single, “Chanel”, over the weekend of March 12th. The song references the double-sided logo of the eponymous luxury brand, and it’s being heralded as a bisexual anthem. 

Ocean croons in the first verse, “My guy pretty like a girl, and got fight stories to tell. I see both sides like Chanel.”

Ocean queers both gender and sexuality when talking about his lover. The lyrics are a nod to Ocean's bisexuality, not choosing a black and white form of attraction, and instead, settling on a gray middle-ground on his own terms. He complicates fixed social identities as he guides the listener through his experiences of desire for both men and women.

Back on July 4th of 2012, Ocean had his own declaration of independence after posting a letter on his Tumblr about a relationship he had with a man. It was the first time he was candid with his fans, and the music industry at large, about his sexuality. 

It was an unforgettable moment of representation for black queer men, who have been historically marginalized or ignored in pop culture, unless it’s the topic of ridicule. Unfortunately, this still seems to be the case. 

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Quavo of Migos (who Frank Ocean worked with on the Calvin Harris single, “Slide”) made some homophobic comments about fellow Atlanta Rapper, iLoveMakonnen, who recently came out as gay.

In a screenshot of an iPhone note posted on Twitter, Migos backtracked Quavo’s statement, using the “my words taken out of context” excuse.

Photo: Twitter

Also, in a follow-up interview with Billboard, the group once again tried to smooth over their perceived anti-LGBT language. “I got a record with Frank Ocean," said Quavo, "that closes my case.” 

Because there’s absolutely no way that homophobic people could work with someone who’s queer. Yeah right, bruh. 

Which brings me back to Ocean and his song "Chanel". Frank Ocean is showing queer people, of any gender, that identity is fluid and ever changing. It’s a reminder that there isn’t a binary, and that we are free to choose whoever it is we want to be, or whomever it is we want to love.