Frank Ocean plans on taking a figurative knee for the 2016 Grammy Awards. He has not submitted any work to be considered for the February awards show.
The R&B artist, who won best urban contemporary album in 2013 with his debut album "Channel Orange" reemerged in August with his sophomore album “Blonde” after a four-year hiatus. But he told The New York Times he won’t be part of the 2017 Grammys.
Ocean noted that since the Grammys began, only a handful of black artists have won "Album of the Year." His absence from the awards show, like Kaepernick’s knee before each football game, will be a statement against the institution’s inequality that he says has yet to be addressed.
“I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated,” he told the Times. “I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.”
Ocean told addressed his struggle to keep true to himself while surrounded by false-intentioned “friends” and a record label that felt constricting. He wrote “Channel Orange” in two weeks, but said he had extreme writer’s block for “Blonde,” including a year-long writer’s block.
But Ocean stayed true to himself and the sound he was so determined to capture, and the album had the third-best release week of 2016 (only falling behind Beyonce and Drake). In 2013, “Channel Orange” won Ocean two Grammys and he performed at the show. He called the decision to perform there having “a lot to do with how those things made me feel before I was actually in the business.”
“That institution certainly has nostalgic importance,” he 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.”