Gay R&B Vocalist Rahsaan Patterson Applauds 'Courageous’ Frank Ocean
Gay R&B Vocalist Rahsaan Patterson Applauds 'Courageous’ Frank Ocean

Gay R&B Vocalist Rahsaan Patterson Applauds 'Courageous’ Frank Ocean

Gay R&B Vocalist Rahsaan Patterson Applauds 'Courageous’ Frank Ocean

As the debate rages on whether or not Frank Ocean truly came out as gay, bisexual or was just detailing his personal memories of falling in love with a male friend four years ago, the fallout has truly been surreal. Before the buzz-heavy R&B vocalist posted a July 4 letter addressing rumors of his sexuality, Ocean tweeted of his conversation-igniting revelation, “my hope is that the babies born these days will inherit less of the bullshit than we did I figured it’d be good to clarify.”

Rahsaan Patterson can more than identify with Frank Ocean. The veteran R&B singer—who scored a top 50 Billboard album and strong radio airplay in 1997 with his self-titled debut—was one of the first African-American soul artists to come out officially as gay during a 2007 interview with BET.com. For Patterson, Ocean’s statement represents a big moment. “I thought Frank coming out was bold; I thought it was courageous,” Patterson tells VIBE. “Particularly since he reps more of the hip-hop realm I found it even more courageous because that’s an area that a lot of folks that support hip-hop and the lifestyle of hip-hop don’t like to really confront and address. Kudos to him.”

Reactions within the R&B/hip-hop community to Ocean’s public statement have been surprisingly on the positive side (Solange Knowles tweeted “I salute you, brave soul. Independence Day” and veteran Queens rhymer Cormega offered, "Frank Ocean is more honest than the average industry person!"). Still, amongst the general African-American music buying public Ocean’s announcement has been a hard pill to swallow (derogatory comments like “Frank Ocean is gay. It’s been confirmed…So no more listening to him” have been omnipresent on the Web).

Historically, African-American musicians have rarely been upfront about their sexuality. For every Sylvester (the flamboyant disco icon never tried to hide the fact that he was gay) there is a Luther Vandross (the legendary vocalist reportedly kept his homosexuality a secret until his 2005 death). And in the overtly masculine world of hip-hop, homosexuality is viewed as a death knell; the sort of news that can literally derail a career. On the flipside, white pop and rock acts like David Bowie, Elton John, and Melissa Eldridge have experienced a more positive acceptance after coming out. It’s a dichotomy that bothers Patterson.

“Look at that compared to white music artists or even white actors who come out,” he says. “When they come out [as gay] they are applauded, not that they don’t suffer a bit in terms of press and people who may have an issue of their sexuality. But ultimately, them stepping into who they really are propels them in positive ways. It opens up their lives. I think a lot of times we are all so insecure with our personal things as black folks that we deny ourselves that right to be who we are. We forget that when you stand within your true light the world opens up for you.”

As for advice for Ocean on how to handle the whirlwind that currently surrounds him, Patterson says the singer is so far on the right path. “Clearly, Frank Ocean is a strong cat,” Patterson says. “Clearly he’s an artist and a person who has come to terms with who he is. But I will say there is a lot that comes with exposing that truth. He has come to terms with taking on the repercussions with exposing himself in that manner. We just have to continue to be strong.”

Patterson, who released his fifth studio album Bleuphoria in 2011, is currently promoting his latest single “Crazy (Baby),” which features Faith Evans and Shanice. “I’m working that til the wheels fall off,” he laughs. And I’m preparing to start recording a new album. I’m focusing on my craft and making sure that I’m true to myself.”—Keith Murphy

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Rep. Maxine Waters meets with CBS Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity, Kim Goodwin, and CBS Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, Christopher Isham, on Capitol Hill. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Waters Office)

Maxine Waters Meets With CBS To Discuss Media Diversity And Inclusion

California Rep. Maxine Waters met with CBS' Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity to discuss the lack of media diversity and inclusion within the media empire.

Their meeting steemed from the network's recent release of their predominately clear  team for the coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Comprised of 4 white producers, 5 white-passing reporters and 3 journalists of color, though the 2020 campaigns reporting staff does not have any black anchors.

It's Official: The @CBSNews 2020 Election Team has assembled! https://t.co/0GBCw4mj7s pic.twitter.com/E0rUDAkzf7

— Ben Mitchell (@bfmitchell) January 11, 2019

Waters, like other prominent speakers in the black community, have discussed their reluctance to embrace the staff citing issues with who will tackle the roles that racism will play in elections and the role racism has been playing in the United States. Taking the issues directly to the source, the congresswomen had a discussion with the higher up's to talk redirection.

“The CBS representatives accepted full responsibility and understood the troubling optics-- and subsequent public backlash -- that occurred as a result of the rollout of their 2020 presidential election team. CBS admitted that the initial 2020 campaign team did not reflect the diversity that the company had committed to; assured me that it will not happen again; and revealed that in the coming months they will unveil a more diverse and inclusive slate of African American journalists and journalists from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,"  Waters said in a press statement.

"They also identified key individuals in Washington, D.C. and New York City, NY whom they have brought onto their team to fulfill this mission and ensure their news organization reflects the diversity of the country and the communities who will most certainly be engaged in the 2020 elections."

The 43rd district representative has vowed to hold CBS accountable for their diversity issues and is dedicated to working alongside her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus.

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Woman Alleges R. Kelly Sexually Abused Her At 16 In 'Dateline' Interview

Tracy Sampson, a woman who interned with Epic Records at 16, revealed she endured sexual relations with R. Kelly that summer of 1999.

Featured on Dateline NBC's "Accused: The R. Kelly Story," the now 36-year-old appears in her first on-camera interview where she details the relationship that began during her formative years.

Sampson said the singer asked her, "'Can I kiss you?' and I was like, 'No,'" to which he responded, "'Well, give me a hug.' And then, like, when I gave him a hug he just started kissing me."

"I was in love with him," she continued. "I just didn't know what to do. Like, I didn't know if this was normal. I didn't know if this is how adults acted."

Following the incident, Sampson filed a lawsuit against Kelly in 2002. Her suit was settled to the tune of $250,000.

Steven Greenberg, Kelly's current attorney, told NBC that he was not part of the artist's legal team when the alleged abuse took place but maintains that his client is innocent.

According to Greenberg, there is no evidence that proves Kelly, 52, engaged in sexual relations with underage girls "because it didn't happen." However, Surviving R. Kelly calls that statement into question with a six-episode program detailing the sexual and mental abuse endured by some women who met Kelly while underage. Lisa Van Allen, for instance, met the "Sex Me" singer at the age of 17.

NBC's take on the groundbreaking series comes just two weeks after the explosive Lifetime production. The special will air Friday (Jan. 18) at 10 pm EST.

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Princess Nokia Accuses Ariana Grande Of Ripping Off Her Song For '7 Rings'

While some corners of the Internet are rejoicing in Ariana Grande's new trap-influenced single and video for "7 Rings," other members are crying "plagiarism" after Princess Nokia pointed out that the Thank U, Next single sounds suspiciously familiar to her song, "Mine."

"Oh! Oh! Wow!” Nokia says while playing the two songs back-to-back on her Instagram page. “Does that sound familiar to you, because that sounds really familiar to me!"

She later point out that her song "Mine" off of her 2017 project 1992 Deluxe is written for a different demographic that the majority of Grande's fans.

"Oh my god. Ain’t ["Mine"] the little song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmm… sounds about white," Nokia continues. "7 Rings" features an interpolation of The Sound Of Music's "My Favorite Things," and features a flow reminiscent of Soulja Boy's "Pretty Boy Swag." However, the similarities between Nokia's "Mine" and Grande's new song are indeed striking, specifically the cadence for the repeated lines ("it's mine, I bought it" for Nokia and "I want it, I got it" for Ari), as well as the flow for the pre-chorus.

Grande hasn't commented on the allegations, however, Twitter users are jumping to Nokia's defense.

"@ArianaGrande when you heard Mine by Princess Nokia did you listen to the words telling you not to appropriate or were just plotting on how else you can capitalize on black culture and grabbed the beat with no credit," one user wrote.

What do you think?

 

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@arianagrande

A post shared by Princess Nokia (@princessnokia) on Jan 18, 2019 at 9:30am PST

 

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