BY NEKESA MUMBI MOODY, AP MUSIC WRITER
Ocean - the rising R&B singer behind the single "Novacane" and the self-released album "nostalgia, ULTRA," which critics heralded as among the best of 2011 - announced on his Tumblr page Wednesday that his first love was a man. He also tweeted a link to the post.
Earlier this week, CNN's Cooper acknowledged that he was gay. But the admission from the 24-year-old Ocean - who is part of the hip-hop collective Odd Future and was prominently featured on Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne" album - is noteworthy because he inhabits the world of rap, where anti-gay sentiments have long been part of the regular vocabulary. Gay epithets are often used in lyrics - one of Lil Wayne's catch phrases is "no homo."
"I think it's definitely important and it really signifies that there is a changing of the face of hip-hop," said Chuck Creekmur, founder of the leading website allhiphop.com. He called Ocean's announcement "a sign of the times," noting Cooper's announcement and President Barack Obama's recent support of gay marriage.