Frank Ocean
2.12.2017

Frank Ocean Blasts the Grammys

Frank Ocean is putting the Grammys on blast.

After the show’s producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild criticized the singer’s 2013 performance of “Forrest Gump” on the telecast, the Blonde superstar responded in a scathing Tumblr post.

“Yea yea my 2013 performance at the Grammys was absolute shit,” wrote Ocean. “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 singer is referring to his decision not to submit either of his 2016 projects, Blonde or Endless, for this year’s Grammys. He also went on to say that he thought about performing as part of the Prince tribute. However, he had a change of heart.

An open letter by #FrankOcean on the #Grammys.

A photo posted by Ruchi Singh Vasudev (@ruchisvasudev) on

“I actually wanted to participate in honoring Prince on the show but then I figured my best tribute to that man’s legacy would be to continue to be myself out here and to be successful,” he added. “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.”

That wasn’t all. Ocean also chastised the show for the way it’s honored pop over hip-hop in the past. “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?” he asked. “[Taylor Swift’s] 1989 getting album of the year over [Kendrick Lamar’s] To Pimp A Butterfly. Hands down one of the most ‘faulty’ TV moments I’ve seen.”

He even claimed that fans often skip the show entirely, awaiting YouTube highlights. “Believe the people,” he wrote. “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.”

During an interview with Rolling Stone, Wild said Ocean’s performance at the 2013 Grammys was the singer’s own vision. “Frank had a very definite idea of exactly what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it,” explained Wild. “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.”

“We executed his vision knowing that it was faulty,” added Ehrlich. “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.”

Throughout his career, Ocean has been nominated for eight Grammys and has won two. This year, he isn’t up for any since he excluded himself from the nomination process. “That institution certainly has nostalgic importance,” he previously said. “It 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…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.”

Hosted by James Corden, the 59th Annual Grammy Awards will air tonight (Feb. 12) on CBS with performances by Beyoncé, Adele, Bruno Mars, A Tribe Called Quest, The Weeknd, Daft Punk, Chance the Rapper, John Legend, and more.