VIBE's Editor In Chief and Executive Editor Jermaine Hall and Datwon Thomas recently spoke to MTV News about their opinions on Frank Ocean's brave move.
Paula Renfroe, editor in chief of Juicy magazine, believes that the current hip-hop generation has escaped the homophobic stigma that has been placed on rappers and rap fans of yesteryear. To her, it is simply a reflection of America's evolving social scope. "Hip-hop also has grown, society as a whole has grown and that's the beauty of hip-hop, it reflects our culture and our society," she told MTV News on Friday (July 6).
Still, Vibe magazine editor in chief Jermaine Hall feels hip-hop still has some growing up to do. Ocean shares a commonality with the likes The Weeknd and Drake, artists who aren't afraid to push musically boundaries or wear their emotions on their sleeves. Hall points directly to Drake when pondering whether or not hip-hop is ready to accept Frank Ocean for all that he is, because even when Drizzy, who is straight, expresses emotions, he is perceived as weak and receives a healthy amount of backlash online.
"The blogs will go at him — 'Drake is gay, Aubrey's gay' — and no, he's really not, he's just in tune with his feelings," Hall said. "So when I see stuff like that, I don't know if hip-hop is 100 percent ready."
Hall's colleague Vibe magazine executive editor Datwon Thomas disagrees. He believes that Ocean's exceptional talents can help reshape hip-hop's status quo — and that co-signs from some of the game's biggest trendsetters don't hurt either. "It really has to be a situation with someone that the hip-hop community respects," Thomas explained. "Outside of Odd Future, Jay-Z and Kanye, the biggest icons in hip-hop, living legends, they've accepted him already."
Read the full story at MTV News