Frank Ocean is boycotting the Grammy Awards for failing to recognise and award black artists.
It was reported earlier this year (16) that Ocean’s visual album Endless and studio record Blonde had not been submitted for consideration for victory at the annual ceremony, which takes place in February (17).
While it was thought this was an oversight on the part of Ocean’s record labels, management or other representatives, the singer has now explained it was very much a conscious decision not to put his albums forward to be considered by the Recording Academy.
Ocean told The New York Times newspaper that he is protesting the organisation’s failure to recognise and award black artists, noting that only a few black musicians have won the prestigious Album of the Year awards since he was born in 1987.
“That institution certainly has nostalgic importance,” he told the publication. “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.”
Kaepernick is the professional American football player who hit headlines when he sat down while America’s national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner was played before a pre-season game earlier this year (16). Explaining his decision in an interview afterwards, the sportsman said: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.”
Kaepernick also made the decision not to vote in the recent U.S. presidential election, saying that “it really didn’t matter who (became president), the system still remains intact that oppresses people of colour.”
It remains to be seen whether Ocean’s protest against the Grammy Awards will prompt other artists to follow suit. Kanye West said earlier this year (16) that he would not be attending if Ocean wasn’t nominated, but that was when it was believed his albums had missed the cut-off date for consideration.
“I’ll tell you this right now, if his album is not nominated in no categories, I’m not showing up to the Grammys,” Kanye told the audience at one of his concerts last month (Oct16). “As artists, we’ve got to come together to fight the bulls**t.”