By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
Frank Ocean’s coming out of the closet continues to be one of the most talked about subjects on the urban gossip blogs. Not even one month after his big revelation, he’s already been linked to numerous affairs with married music executives (you know the rumors were coming), and even harassed daily on Twitter for his honesty. While many are proud that Frank decided to face his fears and be honest about his sexuality, some have decided to prematurely make the singer out to be a civil rights activist. And although many in the African American community are happy that Frank has opted to be transparent about his sexual preference, many are outraged about the comments of one writer who has labeled Frank as the gay Rosa Parks and leader of music artists coming out of the closet.
Here’s what the AllHipHop writer claims:
…Rosa Parks, who was down with the NAACP, was heralded as a heroine of the Civil Rights Movement for her unwillingness to give up her bus seat to a White man as she rested on her weary feet on that fate-filled day in a 1955 Alabama. But her move was a well-timed act as well, as it was a supremely strategic move. Enter Claudette Colvin.
Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin. Colvin was a 15-year-old G from what I’ve gathered. She was a young, scrappy, and militant kid when she refused to give up her seat to a White person, a full nine months before her elder counterpart, Parks. Colvin was studying the injustices that were going on in 1955, analyzing the life of Black leaders and was ready for whatever was to come.
In her 2009 book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, she explained why Parks was selected. To NPR, she said, “Her skin texture was the kind that people associate with the middle class. She fit that profile.” Parks was also the secretary for the NAACP and had the backing of the local chapter to start the boycott that would cripple the racist busing system.
So, Frank Ocean is the Gay Hip-Hop Movement’s Rosa Parks, whether dissonant voices admit it or not. Rosa Parks wasn’t the first to get arrested for not giving up her seat. But, she was the first, some say, to fit an ideal that matched the delicate needs of the Dr. Martin Luther King-led push for equal rights. And, like Parks, Ocean is relatively safe, whereas Colvin was a militant that eventually relocated to Harlem in the midst of a cultural revolution living among the likes of Malcolm X.
While I respect any writer brave enough to publish an opinion that surely won’t be popular, I have to strongly give the side eye to his claims. Why does Frank even have to be the “gay Rosa Parks?” Can’t he just be black man, who’s gay who just got tired of lying about who he was to other people? That in itself is commendable enough that there really isn’t a need for the comparisons to our deceased Civil Rights leaders.
But that’s just my opinion. How do you feel?