All Articles Tagged "Frank Ocean"
If you hadn’t been keeping up, Chris Brown has had a tough few months when it comes to his legal troubles. His neighbors have been complaining about the artwork/graffiti on his home and he’s facing huge fines from the city because of it; his brawl with Frank Ocean from January could somehow land him battery charges months later (we’ll see after his hearing on July 15), and claims have been made that Brown misreported his community service hours for his probation, and could get in trouble for that if it’s found to be true. And if all of that isn’t enough, people tend to throw shade at his name on a daily basis. While most of us would crumple under such constant scrutiny (and Chris himself has been known to throw a chair or cuss folks out in frustration from it all), he now seems to be okay with those who seem to loathe him. In fact, he took a page out of Kanye West’s book and let the world know that at this point, it doesn’t bother him anymore. Posting a picture of similar graffiti monsters that have garnered complaints in the front of his home and through Twitter, Brown let his feelings be known:
“Be yourself! Acceptance is trivial. When we die, we die alone! Artist worry about their brand. I worry about supporting my fam”
“When people walk with their noses in the air they usually run into s**t!
“I like being the person everyone hates. It makes life more interesting.”
Interesting or irksome? Only he knows. What do you think of his statements?
Have you noticed that black folk are quick to tell you who can and cannot sing? Many of us, who’ve never taken a vocal lesson, will swiftly let you know when someone can’t blow. We are an unauthorized authority on the subject. And any vocal connoisseur will tell you that there are people who are completely tone deaf, people who can hold a note, people who can sing and then there are people who can sang. For those who don’t know the word “sang” used in this context is not poor grammar; instead it’s a word used to emphasize the width and breadth of a person’s vocal ability. We all know who the sangers are, they’re the people with soul. The people who can take you from the Slore house to the church house and back again. You know them: Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle & Luther Vandross of the old school and Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia of the new. (That’s just to name a few.) But just because a person can’t sang like some of the greats, doesn’t mean they don’t have talent and can’t make good music. Don’t believe me? Find out who I’m talking about.
The winners of the Webby Awards have been announced, and the Person of the Year is Frank Ocean. The musician was chosen, not for anything really to do with his hit album “Channel Orange,” but for his coming out letter posted to his Tumblr account, according to The Wrap.
“By challenging stereotypes historically engrained in the hip-hop and R&B music communities, Ocean brought a conversation about discrimination to the national dialogue. The launch of his debut album Channel Orange in parallel with the statement was a historic moment for both the music and social media industries, and for popular culture as a whole,” said the Webby’s press statement about the slate of winners for this year.
Another notable winner is the Obama for America 2012 presidential campaign for Webby Breakout of the Year. The campaign is being acknowledged for its digital efforts to re-elect President Obama.
The Webbys are called “the Internet’s highest honor,” handed out across online film, mobile apps, the Web, and social media. The award has been handed out for 17 years.
If you need proof of how much the business of coming out has changed, take a look at the career trajectory of Ellen DeGeneres. The TV star saw ratings on her self-titled sitcom tank when she wrote her gay lifestyle into the script. Fast-forward 16 years and the openly gay, married comic is the queen of daytime talk shows.
Now we have news that Washington Wizards center Jason Collins has come out — on the cover of Sports Illustrated, no less — and he’s greeted with support from across the NBA, from the public, and even past and current Presidents and politicians.
Prejudice against members of LGBTQ community still exists but being a bigot just isn’t acceptable anymore. For many in the LGBTQ community, we’re living at a time that was decades in the making. On the flip side, we’ve also reached the point where stars are accused of coming out for profit. Who saw that coming?
The media and fellow celebrities still question whether Frank Ocean’s admission that a man was the subject of love songs on his debut album “Channel Orange” was a ploy for publicity.
Ocean received a warmer welcome out of the closet than many expected. Especially considering he operates in the world of hip-hop where misogyny and homophobia are accepted as the norm. Collins is taking on a similarly biased industry, becoming the first openly gay actively playing professional athlete. He admitted to Sports Illustrated, “I’ve endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie.”
Collins’ announcement is no doubt the product of a difficult internal struggle and required great bravery. But some are already questioning his intentions. New York radio station Hot 97 asks if the move was “a tactic to gain sympathy and notoriety in hopes of getting signed because, let’s be honest, he’s not even close to being a decent player even for his position at center.”
It sounds cynical but let’s entertain the notion for a moment. Collins is at the end of his career and a free agent that, before his announcement, no team felt pressure to add to their roster. Now, if Collins isn’t picked up, it may look like the NBA blackballed him.
Acceptance Outweighs Backlash
Bigotry, even if it’s only perceived, is bad for business. Sure, Collins will have to endure a more sinister type of trash talk from less open-minded sports fans, but no one with real money to lose is to going to say anything to welcome the wrath of GLAAD and jeopardize their career.
With his announcement, Collins secures a loyal demographic that will keep money coming in long after he leaves sports. Advertisers have been reluctant to use gay spokespeople in the past but that’s changing (see Ellen DeGeneres’ deal with Cover Girl, and companies like Starbucks and Target’s support of gay marriage).
“The market is more receptive. He might be the right player at the right time to benefit from that,” said Paul Swangard, managing director of Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. In addition to potentially expanding his current deal with Nike, Collins could also benefit from speaking engagements and book deals if he chooses.
The day is coming when coming out just won’t be a big deal whether you’re rich and famous or not. For now, we’re at a crucial point of change where, for public figures, coming out is less career death sentence than saving grace. The experiences of DeGeneres, Ocean, and Collins show others that we live in a time where being authentic can expand your opportunities if you’re brave enough to be the first to speak up.
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Any time you’re trying to describe an artist, there’s always a temptation to compare them to someone else. It’s easier to say “Keyshia Cole is like Mary J. Blige” than to say “Keyshia Cole makes raw, soul-infused R&B filled with themes of pain and personal transformation.” I get that. But sometimes the comparisons go too far, and we try to place up-and-comers in the same category as legends whose legacies have left an indelible mark on the musical landscape.
The late, great Michael Jackson is probably the most frequent victims of suspect comparisons. It seems that anyone who can dance and sing reasonably well is at some point dubbed the new or next version of The Gloved One. Usher is the new Michael Jackson. Chris Brown is the new Michael Jackson. Beyoncé is the new Michael Jackson. In the name of all that is holy, this must stop. I have seen all three of these “new Michael Jacksons” live, and I can attest that any one of their shows will change your night, if not your life. Usher is a consummate entertainer, Chris Brown is the best dancer I have ever seen anywhere, and Beyoncé
will leave you out of breath just watching her.
That said, to compare these entertainers to the King of Pop, a man who was arguably the most innovative, groundbreaking and important artist of all-time, hurts my feelings in ways I can’t begin to describe. I could possibly tolerate something more specific like “he can sing and dance well, kind of like a young Michael Jackson.” But to compare artists to someone who was incomparable won’t fly.
Another questionable comparison involves Trey Songz. I’ve heard him described as the next R. Kelly and/or D’Angelo. I’m sorry, what did you say? Just because you take your shirt off and sing sex-laced ballads does not make you heir to the throne of Kells or the inimitable D’Angelo. So I’m going to need people to cease and desist equating any crooner with a sexed up catalogue and a six-pack to either of these two very unique and musically-gifted individuals.
And then, there is perhaps the most egregious comparison I’ve heard yet: that Frank Ocean is this generation’s Luther Vandross or Marvin Gaye. For the love of Tyler Perry, we must stop this madness. I think we’ve all heard more than enough Luther and Marvin to know that Frank is neither, so I will kindly ask the people making these comparisons to have a seat for eternity.
Young Frank and his unique brand of R&B has certainly taken the world by storm. But to compare an individual with a mixtape and an album to legends who shaped entire eras, who left us with some of the most memorable music we have, whose musical styles don’t even resemble Ocean’s, is simply ludicrous. In the words of Claudette Wyms, one of my favorite characters on the former FX drama The Shield, “You’re stretching, son. Try yoga.”
These ridiculous comparisons also occur in the rap spectrum. I think we all laughed off the idea that Ja Rule was the new DMX, but among the more outlandish claims I’ve heard is that Kendrick Lamar is the new 2Pac. Girl, bye. I can’t even dignify that with a response.
Sure, there are similarities between artists, and comparisons are inevitable. Nicki Minaj is like Lil Kim or Foxy Brown, female rappers who blend sexuality with serious bars. Justin Bieber is like Justin Timberlake; they’re both white r&b/pop artists who got their start as teen idols. Lady Gaga is like Madonna; they’re fearless females who push the envelope and weave religious imagery and sex into their music.
But no one is the new or next anyone, much as each generation might want to lay claim to their own version of some superstar. Chris Brown is not the new Michael Jackson and Frank Ocean is not the new Luther Vandross. There is one Michael and one Luther and one Marvin and one 2Pac, and there will never be some newfangled knockoff. They’ll come through and create their own lane and legacies. But we lessen the legacies of certain icons by claiming there is some updated version, like they are a line of soft drink or an old computer program. What these people did is unmatched and will remain unmatched. Without taking anything away from these talented young artists — who deserve to be seen in their own light, and not in someone else’s shadow — let’s not pretend a legend who brought us something we’d never seen before and will never see again can somehow be duplicated.
What’s the craziest musical comparison you’ve ever heard? Sound off in the comments.
Will You Tune In? Miguel Set To Perform On Saturday Night Live; Chats About Grammy Exposure And Losing To Frank Ocean
Can I say that I’m pretty impressed with all the black faces that have been popping up on Saturday Night Live as of late? Now if we could just get some more black female faces on their stages then we’d be all set.
But anywho, one of our favorite crooners, Miguel, has been picked to perform on the show on April 13, and it’s safe to say that when you get that call to perform on the show, you’re becoming a mainstream darling. Miguel will be the musical guest to Vince Vaughn, as the actor will be returning to host the show for a second time in his career, a few days before your taxes are due (just thought I’d slip that reminder in there…). We don’t know which songs the singer will tackle for his two performances, but I’m betting “Adorn” will be the first one he does. As for the second…it might be “Do You…,” but if not, what jam would you like to see him perform from his new album, Kaleidoscope?
Speaking of Miguel, TMZ caught up with him in Los Angeles while he was coming from The Grove for an “Extra” taping to give him his props for his awesome Grammy performance of “Adorn” alongside Wiz Khalifa. But they also wanted to ask him why when Frank Ocean won the award they were battling for at the show, Best Urban Contemporary Album, why he didn’t stand up when it was clear everyone around him was trying to give his fellow singer a standing ovation. We all know Chris Brown didn’t stand, though that was expected seeing as how they physically fought weeks before the ceremony. But Miguel said he wasn’t trying to stand because he’s mad competitive.”I’m competitive but congratulations to Frank though!” But ironically, when asked if he could do it again, would he have stood, homeboy turned as he walked away and without any though said “NO.”
Hell, I can’t say I would either. It’s already hard losing in front of everybody if you feel your work is better than the winner’s, but then you have the camera all in your face too!? No thanks. But on the topic of when you should stand, it’s kind of like doing so in church, don’t jump to your feet unless you’re really feeling it. Even if the people around you are standing and making you feel like a Negative Nancy.
I know, I’m random.
Will you watch Miguel perform on April 13 on SNL?
Despite her innocent looks and child-like performances, Taylor Swift seems like the girlfriend from hell. When it’s over, she writes songs about her exes, picks on them and drags their names through the dirt. Here is a list of 15 famous musicians that would give Taylor a taste of her own medicine if they ever dated.
Tags:Bow Wow, Diddy, DMX, drake, eminem, Frank Ocean, jay z, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, kanye west, Lil Wayne, meek mill, Ne-Yo, Revenge Songs, Sinead O'Connor, Tame Taylor! 15 Famous Musicians That Would Make the Best Taylor Swift Revenge Songs Ever!, Taylor Swift, taylor swift revenge songs, Taylor Swift Songs, The Weekend
For years, there has been media speculation concerning the sexuality of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah, Eddie Murphy, Johnny Gill, and more recently, Raven Symone. The trip out of the closet has been a long one for African American celebrities, evident by the fact there aren’t nearly as many out and open black celebrities as there are white. We don’t often see black celebrities walking around, publicly showcasing their love like Sex and the City’s Cythia Nixon and her girlfriend; Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi; or Elton John and David Furnish. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any out African American celebrities though. In fact, we’ve got an entire list of proud gay celebrities.
This comedian has been making people laugh since she began her stand-up career in 1987 at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington DC. She got her first big break opening for Chris Rock at Caroline’s Comedy Club, and since then she’s made a career of being an award-winning television and movie actress, stand-up comedian, and writer. Sykes publicly came out on as a lesbian in November 2008 after the passing of Proposition 8 in California.
Tags:african american celebrities who are gay, alice walker, angela davis, audre lorde, azealia banks, Frank Ocean, gay, gay black celebrities, homosexual african americans, johnny mathis, lee daniels, lesbian, lesbian celebrities, LGBT, lorraine hansberry, meshell ndegeocello, octavia butler, out and proud, paris barclay, rupaul, sapphire, Sheryl Swoopes, Tracy Chapman, wanda sykles
Kids And Today’s Music: Is There Anything Wrong With Malia And Sasha Obama Listening To Frank Ocean?
“Last night, “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” welcomed First Lady Michelle Obama, who talked about the listening habits of the First Family. Obviously, they’re all into Beyoncé, but she also noted that Sasha and Malia are Frank Ocean fans (via Consequence of Sound).
And First Lady Michelle Obama is okay with that?
Okay, so what’s the big deal about Sasha and Malia listening to Frank Ocean? Nothing actually. Despite thinking he was hyped for the wrong reasons, I like Frank Ocean, and I particularly appreciate the way in which he maneuvers in and out of traditional R&B to create a somewhat different sound than what’s out today. However, Ocean is not what I typically think of as a young adult-friendly artist, and especially not safe for the daughters of the first black president. While Ocean has a way with words, his words do mostly revolve around excess, sex, wholehearted love, and drugs. For instance, “Pilot Jones” may be cleverly prosed, but it also speaks rather bluntly about being in a relationship with a strung-out woman. Another example is “Pyramids,” which starts out painting a beautiful picture of Queen Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, but after about three minutes, morphs into a slow whine about a much different Cleopatra, who it seems works at an actual club called the Pyramids. So yeah, while there are some musical differences between Frank Ocean and the rest of his R&B contemporaries, clearly, in some ways they are the same.
So don’t nobody go think I’m saying that Ocean is setting a bad example to the youth of our generation. To the contrary, I think children can learn from his use of metaphors and imagery. However, can someone explain to me how did Frank Ocean get passed White House clearance to be deemed safe enough to mention in a national interview? I’m thinking that some of his themes alone would be enough fodder for some crazed Republican to claim that the Obamas were secretly trying to corrupt the mind of the nation’s children. Also, I just can’t imagine the Obama girls jamming to the following: “Novacane Baby, Baby/Novacane baby I want you/F**k me good, f**k me long, f**k me numb/Love me now when I’m gone love me none/Love me none, love me none/Numb numb, numb numb…”
That song, if you quite haven’t figured it out yet, is called “Novacane” and it is about falling in love (OR, not being able to) with an Adult Video star, who also wants to be a dentist. Although I like the song, I’m sure that there is some metaphorical deeper meaning that I have not fully understood. But the song is pretty graphic in content. And since the late ’80s, similar themed songs, particularly those coming from the hip-hop and R&B community, have faced scrutiny for graphic content and themes, many of which are similar to this Ocean track. Most particularly, both genres of music have been blamed for some pretty damning stuff in the black community – from the over-sexualization of our young black girls to even the mass incarceration of young black men. So I wonder how does the First Family reconcile with the girls’ taste in music and the sexual themes and messages, which might exist in a song?
Well, according to an article in Glamour, President Obama once stated the following about Malia:
“You know, we actually don’t constrain what she listens to. We expect her to show some good judgment. She listens to my iPod and has gotten hip to stuff that was made well before she was born like Motown, jazz, classic rock. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that she’s picking up on. We actually share tastes in hip-hop and rap music but we don’t listen to it together, because some of the language in there would embarrass me—at least while I’m listening to it with her. Folks like Jay-Z, Nas, we both like them, but when it comes on and I’m sitting with her and Sasha, then I fast-forward because it would make me blush…. It’s interesting, both Malia and Sasha, they’re very much up on pop culture, but what I’m pleased to see is that they’re interested in making culture too. They both play the piano, and Sasha’s dancing, and Malia’s interested in filmmaking.”
I don’t think that President Obama, the First Lady, and more specifically Sasha and Malia’s open adulation of Frank Ocean – or any other Hip-Hop or R&B musician- sends the wrong messages. Heck, I’m not sure it sends out any message other than stating that the kids have pretty decent taste in music. And clearly we are talking about the Obama girls and there is no doubt that they are getting the best education and guidance that being the children of a president and first lady of the United States can afford them. However, if rap music and sexually explicit R&B does not mean that one is destined to be anti-social and basically a degenerate to society, as in the case of the Obama girls, perhaps we might be overstating its importance or relevance in addressing the problems in our community?
Out of all the songs Frank Ocean could have performed on the Grammys, he choose “Forrest Gump.”
I’m not a huge fan of Ocean but I do like him. However, it is becoming increasingly harder and harder to defend him from the growing and legitimate chorus of folks, who wonder what the big deal is about him? I mean damn Ocean, you have tracks like “Pyramids” – okay, maybe that song might have been too long for a performance. However there is also “Sweet Life,” “Pilot Jones” and even “Super Rich Kids,” which to me has super crossover appeal. But Forrest Gump? Sorry, that was just a poor song choice – for the Grammys as well as the Channel Orange album.
And unfortunately for Ocean bad song choices like “Forrest Gump” is yielding himself to some very stiff criticism about if he is deserving of all the praises he has received in the industry. In the article, Is the Frank Ocean coronation premature?” Noel Murray writes:
“Full disclosure: I think Channel Orange is a good album, but I don’t think it’s a great one. It didn’t make my Top 15 albums list of 2012, nor did any song from it make my “Top 40 songs from albums not on my Top 15” list. I spent much of last year trying to love Channel Orange, but the record never took hold. I’m a fan of vintage pop and R&B, and generally like hearing people work within the traditions of the old while courting the cutting-edge, as Frank Ocean does. But while several songs from Channel Orange hit that sweet spot for me—in particular “Sweet Life,” which best exemplifies Ocean’s gift for wistful scene-setting—too much of the album sounds sketchy to me. I don’t think Ocean is a strong vocalist, and I think many of his observations about wealth, sex, and drugs are thuddingly obvious, however well-written.”
This is not the first article as of late, which has asked the same question. In the article, Frank Ocean is Boring: The Year Lifeless Music Found Critical Praise, Chris Chafin says that Ocean has “drained the sexiness and excitement out of R&B.” He writes,
“Channel Orange is listless in the extreme. On several tracks, Ocean seems barely to be keeping himself awake behind the microphone. That’s when you can actually hear his voice, which is often buried under layers of production. It’s hard to tell if this is intentional, or if Ocean is just unable to muster the strength to sing louder than his beats, no matter how much his producers turn them down.”
Unfortunately I have to agree. But for every underdeveloped (or in some cases overproduced) songs like “Lost,” “Pink Matters” or “Sierra Leone,” there are some really sophisticated gems like “Monk” and “Thinking About You,” which is why I can’t totally write him off. Overall, it is a not a classic album but pretty damn solid. However, I do believe that there was a lot of undo expectations put onto Ocean, which might not have been warranted. And this might have more to do with his reception within the industry than the music itself. Originally, there was this spirit among some critics and music writers of wanting to see this kid win. He was black, male, alternative and of has a questionable sexuality. This, according to most critics and music writers, made him an enigma in a musical (i.e. black) culture, which is largely regarded as being homophobic. The Washington Post determined that he was a game changer and music veterans like Jermaine Dupri christened him the savior of R&B. Not to mention that his six Grammy nominations pretty much solidified him among the top-tier of today’s musical artists. In essence, Ocean has become the musical version of Barack Obama, sent here to challenge and progress black music forward. And he has enough fans among critics eager to sell that including Pitchfork Magazine, which gave Channel Orange a very controversial 9.5 rating.
The thing is, though, if critics and music writers really wanted to endear themselves to a more eclectic and sexually diverse version of black music, there was really no need to create a savior in Ocean as there were already black LGBTQ artists already blazing trials on the black music scene. A few weeks ago, I was chatting with this really nice woman at a sewing party I went to. While we cut the patterns for the tights we were making, she asked me if I was going to go see Big Freedia, who had a upcoming show in city. I said no because I had no idea who a Big Freedia was. She paused, perhaps trying to find a way to explain Freedia (while also gauging my level of comfort with the LGBTQ community), and then told me that Big Freedia was a transgender artist, who is very popular within the bounce hip-hop music scene. She put on some of her music for me to get just a taste. I’ve been listening rather frequently ever since.
I won’t even insult your intelligence with a poor retelling of bounce music history because as I said, I just began familiarizing myself with the genre fairly recently. However, here is a New York Times article from a few years ago and a clip from a film, which documents the rise of the genre of music that was born out of the gay slums of New Orleans and features an appearance by Mannie Fresh from the group The Hot Boyz. What’s interesting to note is that while hip-hop as a culture has been infamously perceived as unwelcoming to homosexuality, a charge that I won’t necessarily dispute, this however doesn’t mean that there has not always been artists, who have been able to maneuver through those terrains and to create a receptive space for themselves within the genre. Folks like Sylvester, Meshell Ndegeocello and Rahsaan Patterson have all been able to find audiences within the black community. Is that kind of reception the norm? No, but a large part of the major reason why is that many of the same music critics and fans, much of whom act as the gatekeepers to what ultimately becomes the next best thing in music, don’t afford the same pedestals and opportunities to be change-agents in music to these artists, which has been given to the likes of Ocean.
What makes Ocean different is that he is pretty safe and comfortable for the masses. His sexuality, while alternative to the hyper-heterosexual landscape of Hip-Hop and R&B is not as flamboyant, brash and loud as say a Big Freedia or any of her bounce music counterparts. There is no threat of black booties, whether they be from the bodies of gay, straight or otherwise, twerking it out to a Frank Ocean song. As Chafin of the Village Voice noted, he is R&B without the actual sexiness.