‘Chanel’ redefines masculinity, discusses bisexuality


Frank Ocean came out in 2012, but in an interview with The Huffington Post, he said his sexuality is more dynamic than a label could explain.

Ellie Butterfield

On March 10, Frank Ocean dropped his new single, ‘Chanel,’ which breaks gender barriers and throws heteronormativity to the wind.

Frank Ocean came out as bisexual in a letter posted to Tumblr.com, and he’s hinted at his sexuality through strategic male pronouns (see ‘Forrest Gump’ and ‘Thinkin Bout You’), but Chanel is Ocean’s first time blatantly singing about another man.

Ocean starts off the song by singing, “My guy pretty like a girl/And he got fight stories to tell/I see both sides like Chanel,” which introduces several layers from the start.

Frank Ocean performing at Coachella in 2012. Ocean took a three-year hiatus from releasing music after his debut album, “Channel Orange.”

Ocean blurs traditional views of masculinity by referencing his boyfriend’s mixing of gender characteristics. The reference to Chanel is directly representative of Ocean’s sexuality; not only was Coco Chanel rumored to be bisexual but the logo shows two Cs facing different directions, mirroring bisexuality.

Aside from the layers of the song and Ocean’s discussion of his sexuality, ‘Chanel’ creates a dreamy, mellow vibe that almost makes the listener dizzy in the most delightful way possible. The relaxed feel of ‘Chanel’ takes away any need for loud aggression when breaking barriers; Ocean chooses to redefine gender and stand up for bisexuality in the chillest way possible.

The song aligns more with Ocean’s new album, ‘Blonde,’ than ‘Channel Orange,’ veering close to psychedelic pop while maintaining most aspects of his traditionally R&B music. Hopefully, this foreshadows a long career of groovy, groundbreaking jams for Frank Ocean.

Photo courtesy of Dave Gold (CC BY-SA 2.0)