Last year, Frank Ocean crept ever so slowly out of perpetual hiding by way of social media, making his private Instagram public for the first time. He now tells GQ in a rare interview, conducted by his Blonded Radio co-hosts Vegyn and Emmett Cruddas, that he did it to bring himself closer to the world, even if only through our phone screens. “I feel like there was dissonance between how I was seen by the audience and where I was actually, so that contributed to the decision to make my Instagram public, for sure,” he says. “But there’s also the idea of dialogue and discourse and conversation — like theater, where the audience can interrupt you, versus the television.” It’s also a way for him to bypass traditional media, as has become the new norm for his Very Famous Friends:
“With some pop stars, the idea of them is maybe more balanced or fully formed: a half-dozen magazine covers, x amount of interviews, a daily influx of media. There’s a way you wanna be in the visual press, although you could potentially be misrepresented; when you’re completely minimal with media, there’s a lot of pressure on whatever one thing you’re doing, the stakes are higher. Social media helps that, ‘cause you’re fully in control and can message that how you want.”
But when Ocean’s not blessing us with cozy selfies and morsels from the studio, you can mostly find him just chilling in his New York City apartment, where he recently moved. He says he’s watching too much news, a replacement for his former vice, which was drinking too much mezcal. He says, “I know that I’m not getting real information, but I still watch it. I wish my vice was VH1 reality TV shows, but it’s not — it’s MSNBC. MSNBC is Love & Hip Hop with better vocabulary and more range, but it’s the same thing. Very much entertainment.” Congratulations, Rachel Maddow, you now have a much-improved tagline.