Frank Ocean has posted a volatile (and rightly so, imo) open letter on his Tumblr account after Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild implied during a high-profile interview that Ocean was boycotting the 2017 Grammys due to his 2013 performance being “faulty”.
ICYMI, a bunch of big, hyper-popular artists are boycotting the Grammys this year, including Ocean, Kanye West, Drake and Justin Bieber. While each artist’s reasons differ, Ocean’s reason for boycotting is that he doesn’t think the Grammys do their due diligence when it comes to “representing” black artists:
“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.”
However, the Grammys apparently feel as thought Ocean is… well, lying. Ehrlich and Wild say the awkwardness of Ocean’s 2013 Grammys performance of ‘Forrest Gump’ is the reason he refuses to come back:
“Frank had a very definite idea of exactly what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it. Ken said, that’s not great TV, and what he’s taught all of us is, ‘We’re not putting on a radio show … you have to make it a TV moment.’ And he knew from the start that that was not one of those moments.”
Ehrlich said that Ocean was “rigid” about his idea: “and we executed his vision knowing that it was faulty. And we tried to tell him that, we tried to tell his management that, we tried to tell the record label that. So, his feelings about the Grammys right now, I would imagine, probably go back to that in one way. But honestly, it wasn’t us.”
And oooooooof – Ocean is NOT A HAPPY BOY.
He posted the following response on his Tumblr account, which may well be the angriest we’ve ever seen the usually placid artist:
“Ok Ken (and David). As much as I hate to make you guys famous or even respond to you directly. We all die one day and you’re old so fuck it. Yea yea my 2013 performance at the Grammys was absolute shit. Technical difficulties, blah blah. Thanks for the reminder. Very much appreciated. Fuck that performance though.You think that’s why I kept my work out of the Grammy process this year? Don’t you think I would’ve wanted to play the show to ‘redeem’ myself if I felt that way?”
The young artist speaks about how he actually wanted to honour recently-passed pop legend Prince at the Grammys, but thought better of it when he thought of the award ceremony’s attitude toward racial representation. He decided the best possible tribute he could give to Prince would be being “young, black, gifted and independent…that’s my tribute”.
Then, he goes in on Ehrlich and Wild, poetically using their own words against them:
“I’ve actually been tuning into CBS around this time of year for a while to see who gets the top honor and you know what’s really not ‘great TV’ guys? 1989 getting album of the year over To Pimp A Butterfly. Hands down one of the most ‘faulty’ TV moments I’ve seen.Believe the people. Believe the ones who’d rather watch select performances from your program on YouTube the day after because your show puts them to sleep. Use the old gramophone to actually listen bro, I’m one of the best alive.And if you’re up for a discussion about the cultural bias and general nerve damage the show you produce suffers from then I’m all for it. Have a good night.”
To read the full open letter, head to Ocean’s Tumblr account here: frankocean.tumblr.com.
No response from the Grammys, or Ehrlich and Wild yet, but we’ll let you know when it happens.
Photo: Larry Busacca / Getty.