This Day in Black History: Frank Ocean releases Grammy-winning debut album, ‘Channel Orange’

The Island Def Jam Music Group

On July 20, 2012, Frank Ocean released his critically acclaimed, chart-topping debut album, Channel Orange.

Home to some of the singer’s greatest hits like the album’s lead single, “Thinkin Bout You,” “Super Rich Kids” and “Pink Matter” with André 3000Channel Orange earned Frank Ocean his first number one on Billboard‘s Top R&B/Hip Hop chart and the number two spot on the Billboard 200. 

The album sparked conversation among fans and music critics who noted its creative freedom and vulnerability. Upon its release, rumors circulated about the singer’s sexuality due to the lyric’s mention of a male love. 

In July 2012, Frank addressed the gossip by publishing an open letter on his Tumblr, where he details his experience with his first love, a man. 

“4 summers ago, I met somebody,” Frank Ocean wrote. “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.”

Channel Orange and Frank Ocean went on to win numerous awards such as Album of the Year at the 2012 Soul Train Music Awards, Outstanding Music Artist at the 2013 GLAAD Media Awards and Best Urban/Contemporary album at the 2013 Grammy Awards. 

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