Just Jump: Go for it

The following post comes from Blogging While Blue contributer Jeff Haskins

I’ve liked Frank Ocean for a while. Last fall, I played Nostaligic, Ultra, his first mixtape, continuously on a 16hr flight from Nairobi to Washington via Amsterdam. His music was fresh, upfront and incredibly real… “real” in the sense that you could relate to the party-scapes, conversations, feelings that he sang into my headphones.

When he sang, “I’m about to drive in the ocean/I’mma try to swim from something bigger than me,” he spoke to me. The desire to escape, the overwhelming feeling that life, even circumstance, can feel so beyond our own control that you’d rather swim alone in the middle of a sea of uncertainty than deal with the real broken hearts and memories back on the shore of your life.

Ocean, originally from New Orleans, sings a lot about love, real love—not how its defined for us, our folks, friends, papers, movies, etc, but how it feels to give love and be loved; how it hurts; the vulnerabilities involved; the thrills, passions, and the complete, and almost voluntary loss of control.

Most importantly, Frank is hip hop. He’s a member of arguably the most avant-garde collective in hip-hop right now, OFWGKTA. He’s collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye on Watch for the Throne, where he opens the album with a series of questions that speak to the nature of power and the relationship between individuals, the crowd, authority, and faith.

“What’s a mob to a king? What’s a king to a god? what’s a god to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything?”

Then his letter came out last night.

As weak as words are in their ability to express pure feeling, Frank Ocean’s letter is one of the most emotive letters put to paper by a hip-hop musician. What does it mean to be a MAN? To be a BLACK MAN? To be HIP-HOP? To LOVE? Surely, they are not mutually exclusive. Certainly, love has more to LOVE, COMPASSION, AND LAYING YOURSELF OUT THERE… TO GIVE AS MUCH AS YOU GET than it does with social mores and lame people who’d prefer to cry while watching a romantic comedy than bring forth their hearts from the shadows of their souls.

Love happens. Love is a feeling, not a choice. Love is what it is… as it should be. It’s time to start letting love rule, and put an end to rules on love.

Russell Simmons, a hip-hop pioneer, media giant, and practicing Buddhist said:

“Today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are. How compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we? […] Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear.”

Everybody move

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