A photo posted on Sunday night by Frank Ocean to his Instagram feed shows the hip-hop star embraced from behind by another man with long, brown hair.
The man, identified by multiple news outlets as a male model from France named Willy Cartier, is rumored to be Ocean's current boyfriend.
Cartier has reappeared in Ocean's Twitter feed recently, with the singer even going so far as to tease a possible marriage on the horizon: "Marry em, make em American," Ocean tweeted on Sunday morning.
But the new photo of Cartier and Ocean is a little different from the others: Rather than a candid snapshot, it looks to be taken from a movie screen -- leading many fans to believe that Cartier has been cast in the next music video from Ocean's acclaimed debut album, Channel Orange, which on Monday was named Spin's Album of the Year.
Responding to the torrent of fan comments that accompanied the photo, Ocean wrote, "Lol y'all are crazy. Remember, everyone goes to the grave. Let me live."
Ocean revealed in a Tumblr post written last July that he had fallen in love with another man -- a courageous act for an artist working within an infamously homophobic industry. Instead of backfiring, however, the deeply personal revelation elicited a tidal wave of support -- and rocketed Ocean's career to the next level.
Meanwhile, Tyler the Creator, the eccentric leader of the Odd Future hip-hop collective where Ocean got his start, pays homage to his protege in a short interview given to GQ for their 2012 Men of the Year series. In it, he admits that Ocean's sudden mainstream success -- Ocean has penned songs for Beyonce and Justin Bieber and collaborated with Kanye West and Jay-Z -- has managed to eclipse his own.
"I was broke as f--- a year and a couple months ago," Tyler says. "[Frank] would take me and a couple other friends to random restaurants and meet all his other famous friends and shit. It was cool. It was like this other life I didn't know. He had a nice-ass car."
But Ocean's amazing 2012 run will not end with a single on the soundtrack for Django Unchained, the new movie from Quentin Tarantino. Though he had written a ballad for the film, the song was nowhere to be found on the official track listing.
The absence is explained by the director in a statement made to Pitchfork.com.
"Frank Ocean wrote a fantastic ballad that was truly lovely and poetic in every way, there just wasn't a scene for it," Tarantino says. "I could have thrown it in quickly just to have it, but that's not why he wrote it and not his intention. So I didn't want to cheapen his effort. But, the song is fantastic, and when Frank decides to unleash it on the public, they'll realize it then."