Briefly speaking on Ocean and how his public persona and the perceptions of black people being queer, I sometimes hearken back to Tyler, the Creator’s post-Grammy acceptance speech for IGOR:
“On one side, I’m very grateful that what I made could just be acknowledged in a world like this. But also, it sucks that whenever we, and I mean guys that look like me, do anything that’s genre-bending, they always put it in a ‘rap’ or ‘urban’ category. … I don’t like that ‘urban’ word. To me, it’s just a politically correct way to say the N-word. Why can’t we just be in pop?”
If Ocean were white, he would probably be on the level of Harry Styles's queer stardom but he obviously is not. Tyler, the Creator’s comments seem so prevalent not just because of their close friendship but due to the fact so much of Ocean’s persona is clouded by his music, which in recent years by music experts and true fans alike are nowhere near the cookie-cutter R&B that many people presented him as when he popped off. However, it is more Alternative R&B, Alternative, and even Pop. Ocean’s Channel Orange was quite literally nominated in the “Urban Contemporary” category. I think what Tyler speaks on applies so much to Ocean because both as queer artists don’t have the space that is taken up by their white contemporaries.
TheGRAMMYs. “Tyler, The Creator TV/Radio Room Interview | 2020 GRAMMYs.” YouTube, YouTube, 26 Jan. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5a42MwoYsw.