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15 Notable African-Americans Who Are Out As Bisexual

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In recognition of Black History Month, Unicorn Booty is sharing our best articles on Black culture. Celebrate with us by sharing your favorite Black artists and activists in the comments below or on our Facebook wall.

The list of famous African-Americans who are believed to have been bisexual include Malcolm X, Jean-Michel Basquiat, James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, and “Empress of the Blues” Bessie Smith.

A number of notable African-Americans still living have alluded to their bisexuality though they don’t publicly embrace the bisexual label. For example novelist Alice Walker, who is quoted as saying, “I’m curious. I’m open to the spirit of a person whether that’s a man or a woman or whoever, that’s not what’s important to me. What’s important is the spirit.”

Rapper Frank Ocean in 2012 posted the emotionally revealing story of the loving relationship he’d had with a man, and later responded in an interview to the question, “So do you consider yourself bisexual?” in part with, “…just take what I give you. You ain’t got to pry beyond that. I’m giving you what I feel like you can feel. The other shit, you can’t feel. You can’t feel a box. You can’t feel a label.”

Activist Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé has identified as bisexual at times but according to a LGBT Religious Archives Network’s bio, he “prefers no label other than that he’s a ‘full human being’ that embraces all.”

Alternately, in a New York Times Magazine article, Lee Daniels — the producer of the film Monster’s Ball and the director of Precious — is quoted as saying, “I’d prefer to be bisexual, but I don’t think any woman is going to accept me being with a man. I had to choose. And I did. But there’s a deep connection with me and women.”

The 1995 obituaries of E. Lynn Harris — the man who wrote controversial yet popular novels about black bisexual married men on the “downlow” — revealed the era’s trend towards widespread bisexual erasure; almost all of them exclusively refer to Harris as gay, though a People Magazine article says he realized he was bisexual in college.

However, there are many notable African-Americans who clearly have embraced the bisexual label. Here are 15 of them.

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