FRANK OCEAN IS BACK?!?
Grammy award-winning artist Frank Ocean headlined the first weekend of the Coachella music festival, his first performance in nearly eight years. Fans immediately bought tickets to Coachella after it was announced Ocean would be headlining since back in 2020, however, the pandemic and tragedy forced Ocean to reschedule.
With all of this anticipation for Ocean’s return to the spotlight, fans felt “betrayed” come showtime when Ocean decided not to live stream his set while also coming out an hour late due to an ankle injury forcing him to rearrange his stage design. Through all of this adversity however, Frank put on a headline-worthy set, bringing out his hits like Nights and Lost, while also performing some deep cuts like At Your Best and a different version of White Ferrari to honor his late brother who died in a car accident in 2020.
Yet, the same “fans” who claimed are the biggest fans were the same fans who left his set early because it wasn’t up to their standards. It is also these same “fans” who hopped on social media before his set was even over to bash Ocean’s performance. From claiming that it was basically a listening party to some people even commenting, “I don’t care if his brother died, he signed up for this show so now I have to get my money’s worth”.
An artist should not be treated like a zoo animal, with consumers claiming since they paid money, the artist is expected to put on a muse.
In the entertainment industry, specifically in the music world, we hold artists to a certain standard of excellence, and although that is justified, what we do not do is we do not treat them like human beings. Let it be me, you, the President of the US, Frank Ocean, or whoever, we are not gods (except if you think like Kanye West). We are humans and life happens!!!
When artists with a secluded aura about them come into the spotlight, we are welcoming but when they do not deliver we as a society are ruthless. Fans were supportive of Amy Winehouse’s and her fight for sobriety, yet she was booed off in her final performance before an untimely passing where it clearly seemed like her set was a last cry for help. With an artist like Ocean, his absence after releasing the critically acclaimed album Blonde made his fans’ hearts grow fonder. The problem with that is now when he did return, fans began creating this false narrative of how his set was going to unfold, and when these hypothetical standards are not met, the upheaval begins. Fans should treat artists with some empathy and encourage them for their presence, not punch down on them when their performance is not what deluded vision you had in your mind.
Although I sympathize with Ocean, I can also see the other side of the coin. I can understand the frustration for those in attendance for him being late and having to cut his set short because of curfew, especially after finding out Frank’s nine million dollar paycheck for his set. I understand those fans at home, myself included, who were disappointed that his set was not live streamed so we turned to the grainy Tik Tok lives which seemed to be streamed through a potato. There is a certain mutual respect the artist has to have with his audience, but I believe Frank did the best in his situation. On almost a broken leg he was able to go through his discography and bless our ears with his stapled vocals. And do not lie that you did not laugh when during DJ Crystalmess’s portion of the set, the security guard started twerking like the City Girls.
Having a sibling myself, I cannot fathom losing my little brother, especially in that tragic manner. We could only imagine Frank’s state of mind while singing a version of a song that his brother loved or during his monologue explaining how his brother would always drag him to Coachella against his will and they would end up having a blast. Grief is portrayed differently and I think a part of Frank left with his brother after his passing. You cannot rush a person in overcoming and understanding their emotions, you can only support them as much as possible. Rest in peace Ryan Breaux <3
I leave you with this quote from Frank Ocean during his performance:
“It’s been so long. Everybody I’ve talked to has said how long it’s been, so long, so long… but I have missed you”
Sometimes all we need in this world is a little bit of compassion, not just with a celebrity but especially amongst ourselves. We wish Ocean nothing but well wishes and for his return to music to be when he feels it’s the right time.