In a recent interview with The Guardian’s Paul Lester, Stevie Wonder was asked about Frank Ocean. He stated that he liked him but the following comment touched the nerves of several people: “I think honestly, some people who think they’re gay; they’re confused.” Wonder also stated that, “People can misconstrue closeness for love. People can feel connected; they bond. I’m not saying all [gay people are confused].Some people have a desire to be with the same sex. But that’s them.”
If you recall, Ocean released a somewhat cryptic statement about his sexuality earlier this summer, which caused a maelstrom of speculation, but also garnered him some new fans. Ocean revealed that the first person he ever loved was a man. “I was 19 years old. He was, too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost.… 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.” He posted this message to his blog, but it was originally slated to make it’s first appearance on the liner notes of his now critically acclaimed CD Channel Orange.
Wonder’s questionable remarks prompted him to send an apology to The Adovocate: “I’m sorry that my words about anyone feeling confused about their love were misunderstood,” Wonder said. “No one has been a greater advocate for the power of love in this world than I; both in my life and in my music. Clearly, love is love, between a man and a woman, a woman and a man, a woman and a woman and a man and a man. What I’m not confused about is the world needing much more love, no hate, no prejudice, no bigotry and more unity, peace and understanding. Period.”
Is there a chance that Wonder’s comment were misconstrued, just as he claimed people can misconstrue closeness for love? He did say that he doesn’t feel that all gay people are confused. Maybe he’s met a few people who confided in him that they were confused about their sexuality and he’s speaking from experience?
Unfortunately, what was meant to be an interview celebrating Wonder’s career has garnered attention because of his comments about Ocean. As I read through some of the comments on other articles, there are large amounts insensitivity in regards to Wonder’s blindness, which are no better than what people have perceived Wonder’s comment to be, and even people vowing never to listen to his music again. As a Wonder fan since I was 12 years old, I appreciate his candor and the apology he extended.