It appears Frank Ocean may be attempting to light the spark that spreads into a #GrammysSoWhite boycott. Last month, Ocean intentionally failed to submit his new albums Blonde and Endless for Grammy consideration (meaning neither will have a chance to be nominated for 2017’s ceremony), and now we know the reason why. He tells the New York Times in a rare, revelatory new interview that the snub was indeed done in protest, and that he was inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing refusal to stand during the national anthem in light of the United States’ history of black oppression. “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 explains, citing the Grammys’ history of awarding music created largely by white people in its biggest categories. “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.” Lucky for him, Kanye West has already pledged his allegiance by kneeling with Ocean.
Ocean also says he only agreed to perform at the 2013 Grammys (where he won two awards) because of the show’s personal significance to his life pre-fame. His protest now calls to mind this year’s #OscarsSoWhite, a movement started by people of color in Hollywood to boycott the Academy over its exclusion of nonwhite nominees. The likely more colorful pool of Grammy nominees will be announced on December 6.