On Saturday night, Frank Ocean went on Tumblr to address comments made by The Grammys’ creative team— producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild—in an interview on Rolling Stone Music Now, the magazine’s podcast.
Ehrlich and Wild responded to Ocean declining to submit his 2016 music (Blonde and Endless) for Grammy nomination, and specifically, his thoughts about the awards being “dated” and out of touch with the younger generation of black artists.
On the podcast, Ehrlich and Wild believe Ocean’s gripe with the Grammys stems from his 2013 performance of “Forrest Gump,” which wasn’t a shining moment for him. When Ocean pitched his idea to sing in front of a large screen (and another with running legs facing the audience), Ehrlich responded by saying, “That’s not great TV.”
“What [Ehrlich]’s taught all of us who work with him is, ‘We’re not putting on a radio show. We’re not making a mixtape. We’re broadcasting on CBS to tens of millions of people, to the whole world, and you have to make it a TV moment and a musical moment that works on television.’ And [Ehrlich] knew from the start that that was not one of those moments.”
“We executed his vision knowing that it was faulty. And we tried to tell him that, we tried to tell his management that, we tried to tell the record label that. So, his feelings about the Grammys right now, I would imagine, probably go back to that in one way. But honestly, it wasn’t us.”
Ocean posted on Tumblr a direct response about their claims, doubling down on his comments about the Grammys. He cites that he doesn’t need to win a “TV award” to be successful.
Ok Ken (and David). As much as I hate to make you guys famous or even respond to you directly. We all die one day and you’re old so fuck it. Yea yea my 2013 performance at the Grammys was absolute shit. Technical difficulties, blah blah. Thanks for the reminder. Very much appreciated. Fuck that performance though. You think that’s why I kept my work out of the Grammy process this year? Don’t you think I would’ve wanted to play the show to ‘redeem’ myself if I felt that way? In reality, I actually wanted to participate in honoring Prince on the show but then I figured my best tribute to that man’s legacy would be to continue to be myself out here and to be successful. Winning a TV award doesn’t christen me successful. It took me some time to learn that. I bought all my masters back last year in the prime of my career, that’s successful. Blonde sold a million plus without a label, that’s successful. I am young, black, gifted and independent.. that’s my tribute.
He also stated that Kendrick Lamar should have won Album of the Year over Taylor Swift.
I’ve actually been tuning into CBS around this time of year for a while to see who gets the top honor and you know what’s really not 'great TV’ guys? 1989 getting album of the year over To Pimp A Butterfly. Hands down one of the most 'faulty’ TV moments I’ve seen.
To conclude, Ocean chastised the Grammys’ exhaustive length and gave them a piece of advice.
Believe the people. Believe the ones who’d rather watch select performances from your program on YouTube the day after because your show puts them to sleep. Use the old gramophone to actually listen bro, I’m one of the best alive. And if you’re up for a discussion about the cultural bias and general nerve damage the show you produce suffers from then I’m all for it. Have a good night.