finally explained in a new interview with The New York Times why he chose not to put his two latest albums, Endless and Blonde, up for consideration at the Grammys this year.
As many suspected, it was a move to protest the Grammys’ pattern of denying due recognition to black artists. Only a handful of black musicians have won the esteemed “Album of the Year” category since Ocean was born, including Ray Charles and Herbie Hancock. “That institution certainly has nostalgic importance,” Ocean 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.”
Ocean went on to say, “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,” referring to the NFL quarterback who sparked a movement of taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest racialized police brutality.
Ocean doesn’t need Grammy validation, anyway. He’s already won twice, and besides: “I believe that I’m one of the best in the world at what I do,” he confidently told the Times. Frank doesn’t need to prove himself to anybody.