Was Frank Ocean’s song “Swim Good” about his relationship with a man? Video Included
By DiMarkco Chandler
On July 3, 2012, the raising American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean published a blog post admitting that his first love was a man. In just a stroke of a pin, the Hip-Hop community could finally sigh in relief. It was done, and it took 24-year-old courageous outspoken young man to put things in perspective.
Christopher Francis Ocean, born Christopher Breaux, made an early career as a song writer for John Legend, Justin Bieber and Bridget Kelly. In 2010, Ocean joined the alternative hip hop collective “Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All” (OFWGKTA). In February of 2011, Ocean released his first mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, which received worldwide critical acclaim. “Ocean was inspired to make the mixtape after he moved to Las Angeles following his hometown being hit by Hurricane Katrina” according to Wikipedia.org. The recording was followed by two releases from his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, titled “Novacane” and “Swim Good.” Both songs were chart successes and received positive reviews. Ocean’s vocals on the song “Swim Good” was particularly praised as well as its lyrical subject matter.
According to Wikipedia.org, “Swim Good” specifically explored “tropes of the tragic love story and suicide,” which may have been written about the experiences referred to in the sexual orientation revelations recently revealed in Ocean’s Timblr blog.
In this, his most recent post, Ocean wrote: “Four summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile… Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating to the women I had been with, the ones I cared for and thought I was in love with.”
“I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same.”
Ocean’s honesty as represented through his blog is a reflective statement from an artist who understands that pure art is a product of pain experienced and then recapitulated in art. It is arguably the best form of art, whose beauty can only be realized once it has a platform from which it can be expressed and subsequently shared. Most artists will resonate to someone; however, genius artists have the potential to resonate with us all because we all have shared experiences. The prime ingredient of course is when that art is brutally honest as know we know Ocean’s is.
The fan, the observer that is interested in the narrative meaning, can backtrack through Ocean’s body of work and read the pain that informs his art.
“Swim Good” is a very explicit example of experienced pain and, by the looks of it, seems to say even more to us, especially now that Ocean has intimated his true personal self. We as fans cannot help but to want more from him, more of his artistic expression because he shares our pain, he knows us and he trusts us. We should continue to do the same.
We love our musical artists because they free us, it is fitting that Ocean can now say, “I feel like a free man.” He swims good and with our help he will be about to continue to “Swim Good” and remain free.