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Frank Ocean kept albums out of Grammys in protest at awards’ poor diversity

By | Published on Wednesday 16 November 2016

Frank Ocean

Right, stop with the conspiracy theories, Frank Ocean didn’t put his new albums forward for the Grammys on purpose.

As previously reported, Billboard noted last month that neither of Oceans’ 2016 albums, ‘Endless’ and ‘Blond(e)’, had been submitted for consideration at the US industry’s big awards ceremony. This prompted Kanye West to threaten to boycott the ceremony if Ocean received no nominations. Although that, it turns out, would ruin Ocean’s own boycott.

Speaking to the New York Times in his first interview since ‘Blond(e)’ was released, Ocean said while the Grammys have “nostalgic importance”, the ceremony “just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down”, noting that very few black people have ever won its Album Of The Year prize. “I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated”.

“I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience”, he added, likening himself to the San Francisco 49ers player who refused to stand for the US national anthem at an American Football game earlier this year in protest at the country’s treatment of African-Americans and other minorities.

Besides, he reckons he’s already a winner where ‘Blond(e)’ is concerned, saying: “With this record in particular, I wanted to feel like I won before the record came out, and I did, and so it took a lot pressure off of me about how the record even would perform after the fact. Once the goal is met, everything else is lagniappe“.

Now he’s interested in focussing on his next move, whether than be in music, or something else. “I believe that I’m one of the best in the world at what I do, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be”, he said. “It’s more interesting for me to figure out how to be superior in areas where I’m naïve, where I’m a novice.”

Read the full interview here.