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Frank Ocean rips Grammys over ‘cultural bias’

Here's the real reason Frank Ocean abstained from the Grammys.


Austin Powell


Posted on Feb 13, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 12:25 am CDT

No one was less surprised than Frank Ocean that Adele upset Beyoncé for album of the year at the Grammys Sunday night. 

Over the weekend, Ocean posted a jarring missive on Tumblr making it clear why he chose to abstain from performing at the awards this year. The post came in response to an interview Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild did with Rolling Stone in which they suggested Ocean’s decision was tied to his 2013 performance of “Forrest Gump,” which suffered from technical difficulties and was challenging choice for the Grammy’s mainstream audience. 

“You think that’s why I kept my work out of the Grammy process this year?” Ocean wrote. “Don’t you think I would’ve wanted to play the show to ‘redeem’ myself if I felt that way?” 

While Ocean was interested in the Prince tribute, he felt there were ways to pay tribute the music icon.  

I figured my best tribute to that man’s legacy would be to continue to be myself out here and to be successful. Winning a TV award doesn’t christen me successful. It took me some time to learn that. I bought all my masters back last year in the prime of my career, that’s successful. Blonde sold a million plus without a label, that’s successful. I am young, black, gifted and independent.. that’s my tribute.

But it’s Ocean’s comments about last year’s album of the year selection, in particular, that spurred the post to go viral again Sunday night. He slammed the Grammys for giving Taylor Swift the top honor over Kendrick Lamar and chalked the decision up to “cultural bias.”

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.

Ocean’s criticism can certainly be applied to last night’s program. Adele’s 25 is a robust pop album, but Beyoncé’s Lemonade is a visual masterpiece—a cultural awakening about empowerment and womanhood, with a deeply personal narrative. There’s simply no comparison between the two, as even Adele acknowledged in her acceptance speech. Solange Knowles, Beyoncé’s sister, who won best R&B performance Sunday night, shared Ocean’s post.  

(Sorry, this embed was not found.)

Here it is in its entirety.  

H/T Pitchfork

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*First Published: Feb 13, 2017, 10:41 am CST