In 2011, GQ named Frank Ocean as “Rookie of the Year” for their year end issue. What a difference a year makes. Since then, he’s released his debut album, Channel Orange, to impressive first week numbers, appeared on Saturday Night Live and was the first artist to have an entire episode of Gossip Girl feature only his music. But even with all those accomplishments, 2012 will remembered as the year he “came out”.
The 25-year-old R&B singer sits with GQ’s Amy Wallace to open up about his crazy year. From his personal life to career, most notably the huge “gay” bomb he dropped on the hip-hop world. Discover how Ocean’s open letter changed his life forever. The accompanying photos were snapped by regular GQ photog Peggy Sirota. Frank as always, looks stylin’ and profilin’ in each shot. I want his entire wardrobe.
“I’m not a centerfold. I’m not trying to sell you sex. People should pay attention to that in the letter: I didn’t need to label it for it to have impact. Because people realize everything that I say is so relatable, because when you’re talking about romantic love, both sides in all scenarios feel the same shit. As a writer, as a creator, I’m giving you my experiences. But just take what I give you. You ain’t got to pry beyond that. I’m giving you what I feel like you can feel. The other sh-t, you can’t feel. You can’t feel a box. You can’t feel a label.”
Are you watching the final season of Gossip Girl? If you are, you’re one of the very, very, very few people doing so. The once mighty watercooler show hasn’t attracted more than 1 million viewers this season. In fact, the last episode, “Portrait of Lady Alexander“, was the lowest rated in the show’s six-year history with only 660,000 eyeballs. OUCH. That’s a far cry from when the Upper East Side crew drew more than 3 million viewers weekly.
Perhaps Monday’s episode, titled “Monstrous Ball“, will reverse the trend. Probably not, but I’m sure the musical act that licensed his music for the first time is hoping so. For the first time in the CW show’s history, they are using the catalog from just one artist for the entire episode. This artist’s critically-acclaimed album which includes songs about damaged privileged youth and their toxic romances are perfectly suited for the show. Have any guesses? Find out below.
On Saturday Night Live’s season premiere, Frank Ocean performed a couple of tracks one of which was “Pyramids“. Fresh off his SNL debut, the R&B singer just debuted his brand new music video for said track. Directed by frequent collaborator Nabil, the clip is stunningly beautiful. It reminds me a bit of Drake’s equally visually captivating “Take Care” clip featuring Rihanna.
The almost 8-minute long visual takes Ocean on a motorcycle ride through the desert and eventually ending up a stripper joint. Since the song portrays the 24-year-old openly-gay singer as a pimp who falls in love for a stripper named Cleopatra, the setting is very appropriate. The women, whom some are topless, look mesmerizing and frightening at the same time. It’s amazing what mood lighting and slo-motion will do.
The clip is filled with cool effects and beautiful vignettes emulating a drug-induced headtrip. I’m sure there is some deep meaning behind all the imagery, but I certainly can’t dissect it. Especially why John Mayer all of sudden shows up giving a guitar solo in front of a neon pyramid in the desert. Watch the clip below and see if you can decipher it all.
As if I couldn’t love Frank Ocean any more, then he goes and does this. If he keeps this up, I might have to seriously contemplate making a shrine for this man. This past weekend, R&B crooner performed at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Along with performing songs from his debut album, “channel Orange“, Ocean treated concert goers with a wicked cover. Not just any cover, but no joke… one of my favorite songs of all-time.
The 24-year-old singer tackled Sade’s 2000 hit, “By Your Side“. Words can not even explain how much I love this song. Yes, it’s a beautifully written and well-composed track, but it also has very special meaning to me. I’m not going to divulge why. A boy has to have his secrets ;)
Reportedly, Frank has been performing his Sade cover on his tour. Based on the crowd reaction at Lollapalooza, it looks like he’ll continue performing it. Fingers crossed, he releases an official recording. That’s how much I love it. Check it out below.
It’s that time of year again. The nominees for the MTV’s 2012 Video Music Awards have just been released, with all of your favorite artists battling it out for a “moon man” to add to their trophy cases.
There aren’t too many surprises, but I’d definitely say there are some tough categories. “Best New Artist” is always a tough one, and this year we have Carly Rae Jepsen, One Direction, The Wanted, Frank Ocean and Fun. feat. Janelle Monae, all competiting for this “welcome to the club” award. It’s hard to say who will win it because there are so many factors as well as pros and cons for each.
Drake and Rihanna lead the nominations with five each and both are up for video of the year. Coincidently, Drake’s video also features Rihanna as well (“Take Care”). LOL – she wins either way! The awards take place on September 6, 2012 and will feature performances by One Direction and Alicia Keys. Check out the nominees list below.
Ever since Beyonce named Frank Ocean’s “Novacane” as one of her ten favorite tracks of 2011, I’ve been a fan of his. Then, when he came out of the closet, I admired him even more. While declaring your homosexuality in Hollywood is the norm these days, doing it in the R&B/Hip-Hop world is unheard of. So major props for his courage.
With the media attention mostly focusing on Ocean’s sexuality, it’s great to see people haven’t forgotten about his music. The 24-year-old singer notched an impressive first week sales with his debut album, “channel ORANGE“. His CD was released a week early on iTunes to take advantage of the press, and it looks like the gamble paid off. “channel Orange” bowed with 131,000 copies moved. The number falls in line with recent urban debuts by established artists. Usher’s “Looking 4 Myself” and Chris Brown’s “Fortune” entered the Billboard 200 with 128,000 and 135,000 units sold respectively.
As solid as Frank Ocean’s numbers are, he was only able to land at No. 2 on Billboard. Georgia’s Zac Brown Band topped the Billboard 200 with 234,000 in sales with their third studio album, “Uncaged“. That number represents the biggest bow for the group. I’m sure their special $3.99 price tag on Amazon helped buoy the sales.
Frank Ocean is making a lot of waves in the music industry right now! (Pun partially intended.) Not only has his music caught on with fans and peers alike, he recently wrote a touching letter depicting his first love with a man. Perfectly timed with all of this publicity, famed photographer Terry Richardson has released his iconic black & white photo set featuring the R&B singer. Unlike many other popstars before him, Frank didn’t strip down or pose inappropriately. Instead, Terry captures the pure essence of what Frank Ocean is all about.
In other Frank Ocean news, rapper 50 Cent has joined a slew of others celebrities who have come to the support of Ocean’s recent coming out. Shocking, I know considering the multitude of homophobic tweets and rants that 50 has gone on over the last few years. Instead of judging Ocean for his recent admittance, 50 gushed nothing but support to MTV in a recent interview. Check out a highlight below:
“Anyone that has an issue with Frank Ocean is an idiot. I think Frank Ocean is a talented artist, I think he’s created material that made me know his name, that impressed me, with things he said on a song like ‘Novacane.’ I could care less about what his personal preference is in the bedroom. I’m sure the gay community will go out and support Frank Ocean. They have to. The more successful that project is now, it’s going to leave people in the position where they can actually say, ‘Look, I’m gay.’”
In case you don’t know who Frank Ocean is, he was highlighted by MTV as one of the artists to watch for in 2012 and he was also included in Beyonce’s list of her favorite songs of 2011. The talented R&B singer has just come out of the closet after speculation that he was gay. He wrote a very personal and powerful post on his tumblr page which I have included below.
In the posting, he talks about how he fell in love with a four summers ago and how it change him forever. It was a difficult time (as you might expect) when he came to grips with his sexuality and understanding who he was. It’s a very beautifully written post and I encourage you to read it.
This comes the same week that Anderson Cooper officially came out of the closet. Times are definitely changing and it’s great to see more and more people comfortable and confident in their own skin. Thank you and congratulations, Frank! Read his posting below.