2020 Icons

  1. Nikolay Alexeyev
  2. Deborah Batts
  3. Angie Craig
  4. Emily Dickinson
  5. Felicia Elizondo
  6. Rob Epstein
  7. Emile Griffith
  8. Menaka Guruswamy & Arundhati Katju
  9. Alexander von Humboldt
  10. Christopher Isherwood
  11. Moisés Kaufman
  12. Lori Lightfoot
  13. Claudia López
  14. Bernárd Lynch
  15. Anne McClain
  16. Kate McKinnon
  17. Harris Glenn Milstead “Divine”
  18. David Mixner
  19. Lauren Morelli
  20. Ifti Nasim
  21. Jess O’Connell
  22. Mary Oliver
  23. Billy Porter
  24. Laura Ricketts
  25. Angelica Ross
  26. Sappho
  27. Megan Smith
  28. Baron von Steuben
  29. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi
  30. Deborah Waxman
  31. Lil Nas X

Frank Ocean

Singer and Songwriter

b. October 28, 1987, Long Beach, California

“There’s just some magic in truth and honesty and openness.”

In 2012 critically acclaimed singer and songwriter Frank Ocean changed the face of hip-hop when he came out two days prior to the release of his second album, “Channel Orange.” The album shot to number two on the Billboard charts.

Born Christopher Breaux in Long Beach, California, Ocean spent most of his childhood in New Orleans. His father left when Ocean was 6 years old. His song “There Will Be Tears” chronicles the pain of that abandonment. Ocean describes his childhood as solitary. He was expelled from every school he attended.

Ocean buckled down just enough to finish high school. He went on to study English at the University of New Orleans. When a friend offered him time in a Los Angeles recording studio, Ocean jumped at the chance.

In Los Angeles, Ocean wrote tracks for Justin Bieber and John Legend and joined the celebrated hip-hop collective, Odd Future. After a deal with recording studio Def Jam fell through, Ocean independently released his first solo album, “Nostalgia.” As the album generated buzz, Def Jam’s new chief executive convinced Ocean to sign with the label.

Commenting on Ocean’s debut studio album, “Channel Orange,” music critic Alexis Petridis wrote: “Perhaps this is R&B’s Ziggy Stardust moment, where the controversy and publicity surrounding an artist’s sexuality and the brilliance of his latest album combine to give his career unstoppable momentum.”

Ocean has collaborated with artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Beyonce. By age 26, his awards included GQ’s Rookie of the Year, GLAAD’s Outstanding Music Artist and a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album.