Frank Ocean’s long-awaited sophomore album Blonde was one of the most successful releases in 2016. Not only did it receive critical acclaim, the project did impressively well commercially—debuting at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 in its first week. Such success led many people to believe that Ocean would be a top contender at the 2017 Grammys; but unfortunately for his fans, including Kanye West, that isn’t going to happen. And Ocean is more than fine with that.
During a newly-published interview with the New York Times, the 29-year-old singer explained he doesn’t view the awards ceremony like he once did. He told journalist Jon Caramanica that his first Grammy wins—one for 2012’s Channel Orange (Best Urban Contemporary Album), and the other for his feature on Kanye and Jay Z’s "No Church in the Wild" (Best Rap/Sung Collaboration)—were significant at the time, but he now views the Grammys as an antiquated.
“That institution certainly has nostalgic importance. 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,” he said. “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.”
He refusal to participate in the awards ceremony is just another example of Ocean’s newly acquired freedom and independence. He’s no longer tied to a major record deal (Blonde was released through his indie label Boys Don’t Cry), so he’s taking full advantage of working on his own terms.
“Because I’m not in a record deal, I don’t have to operate in an album format,” he told the Times. “I can operate in half-a-song format.”
In fact, he’s considering spending less time on music in order to explore other art forms.
“I believe that I’m one of the best in the world at what I do, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be,” Ocean explained. “It’s more interesting for me to figure out how to be superior in areas where I’m naïve, where I’m a novice.”
You can read the full New York Times interview here.