mtvU has announced it’s 2012 Man and Woman of the Year: singer-songwriter Frank Ocean, and 15-year-old Pakistani social activist Malala Yousafzai. Both are young boldly challenging the norm in their respective communities.
When Grammy-nominated Frank Ocean confirmed in an open letter on his Tumblr about loving another man — a part of his identity he fully embraced in his debut project — he risked losing the support of fans and peers in the often-homophobic hip-hop and R&B communities. Instead, he gained tremendous respect for his sincerity, bravery, and ground-breaking album in which he stayed true to himself. Across the globe, Malala Yousafzai is a courageous soldier in the fight for women’s rights in the Middle East. She risks her life as a blogger for the BBC; writing about her struggle for access to education under the Taliban, who recently shot in the head for her activism.
“Malala courageously risked everything to stand up against the brutal forces that tried to silence her. In the face of intensely dangerous opposition, she refuses to stop fighting for equality, and at just 15 years old, is already an icon for her generation and the world,” said President of MTV Stephen Freidman. “mtvU is proud to shine a spotlight on her, and on Frank Ocean whose boundary-shattering music and commitment to personal expression has touched and inspired millions. He refused to let homophobia stop him, and the cultural impact of his work will echo for years to come.”
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