Frank Ocean opened up about his decision not to submit his highly-anticipated album Blonde from Grammy consideration, citing the historical failure of the awards to recognize black artists.


Ocean described his choice as his “Colin Kaepernick moment,” referring to the black San Francisco 49ers quarterback who this year refused to stand during the national anthem to protest the mistreatment of blacks in today’s America. “The institution certainly has nostalgic importance,” Ocean told the New York Times in a rare interview. “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.”

Ocean, born in 1987, described how only a few black artists have won Album of the Year in his lifetime, citing Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Ray Charles. Recently, there have been some well-known Grammy snubs of black artists, including Taylor Swift’s win over Kendrick Lamar in 2016 and Beck’s win over Beyoncé in 2015. And in 2012, Ocean’s own Channel Orange was defeated by Mumford & Sons’ Babel.

“I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated,” the artist said. “I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.”

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