Originally slated for a July 17 sale date, Ocean released the album via iTunes a week early. Perhaps he felt the pressure from the mounting buzz and rumors surrounding his sexuality in the days leading up to that moment.
On July 4, Ocean posted a coming out letter on his Tumblr page. Ocean confessed he fell in love with another man at the age of 19. “I feel like a free man,” he wrote. “On the days we were together, time would glide… By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love, it changed my life.”
Almost immediately after the letter hit the Web, his music industry peers voiced their support for the Odd Future member, including Jay-Z, Trina and Russell Simmons. Beyoncé posted a photo of Ocean on her personal website, writing, “Be fearless/ Be honest/ Be generous/ Be brave/ Be poetic/ Be open/ Be free/ Be yourself/ Be in love/ Be Happy/ Be inspiration.”
The Channel Orange singer has worked closely with Beyoncé and Jay-Z in the past. He wrote “I Miss You” from Beyoncé’s 4 album and two tracks from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne.