I honestly don’t even know where to begin…
Well, I guess I could start this out with an intro. I’m Candace. I’m a senior in college and I study mass media but my love is film and writing. I hope to one day own my own independent film company, win a ton of film festivals, and become a published writer. Go big or go home I guess.
But anyway, enough about me. This isn’t about me.
How are you?
No, but really, how are you?
Has anyone asked you that today?
Do people even ask you that nowadays or do they go straight to asking you about the release of your highly anticipated album?
In every stage of my teen years, your music was there. Nostalgia, Ultra got me through high school honestly. “Strawberry Swing” was the song I blasted as I got ready for graduation. Channel Orange was in heavy rotation that summer before I went off to college. “Swim Good” in an odd sense, calmed my nerves when we pulled up to my dorm. When I experienced my first heartbreak, very recently, “Bad Religion” was right there with me when I was locked up in my room, in the dark with tears just pouring down my face.
So many instances where your music has been there for me in my darkest times.
I wanted more. I felt like I needed more.
After Channel Orange, I was literally on my toes waiting for you to release another album. Seemed like every other day, I was asking: “Where’s the album?” “We need the album, Frank.” “I need a new album, Frank.”
I was so hype when you said on Tumblr that your album would drop sometime in July 2015 and I was so disappointed when July 2015 passed and there was no new Frank Ocean album in my hands.
It was like I became a monster. At the mere mention of your name I would immediately ask about your anticipated album. Nothing else, regarding you, mattered to me. All I knew was I wanted that album.
2015 passed and I became more neutral about the album situation. If you released it, cool. If not, I would just accept it. As I calmed down I realized you went ghost. You deleted your Twitter. You deleted your Instagram. Your Tumblr was up but you weren’t really on it often. You were cancelling shows too.
When I came to this realization, I then wondered, “Damn, is Frank okay?”
I realized that I had regarded you as a robot that puts out products for me to consume and not as a fellow human being who has creative content that I happen to enjoy. What’s sad is you would think I would know better.
I have a Twitter, right? Most people do. Well, over 25,000 people follow me on my Twitter. No, I’m not a mainstream celebrity but I have dealt with being highly visible in a sense and the shit is hard. Honestly. I have trolls on me constantly. People are always nitpicking at everything I say and do. I can’t even be personal sometimes because then people have the gall to tell me: “This is not why I followed you.” People feel entitled to me and my mind enough that they think they can demand me to do free work for them like “educating” grown ass adults on issues they can research on their own.
Like, Frank, people really be wildin’. I talk about social issues often which is why a lot of people follow me. If I tweet about anything outside of oppression and marginalization, I lose followers, I’m ignored or people tell me that’s not how I should use MY Twitter.
One day, people were direct messaging me left and right asking me to retweet something and it just got to me. I know people didn’t mean ill by it but like… I don’t know man. Most of these people don’t even talk to me outside of asking me to retweet something. I felt used. I felt like people were regarding me as…well…a robot.
So yes, I should’ve known better.
I even predict that when this blog post goes live, many people are going to be disappointed to find out this post contains no updates regarding the release of your album.
The issue with me and the rest of your fans is that we forget that before you were the Frank Ocean, you were Christopher Francis from New Orleans, Louisiana. I forgot that while you are a very talented, visible songwriter and singer… you’re also a person. Like me.
You have desires just like me. You have fears just like me. You have dreams just like me. You breathe just like me. You have a heart just like me. You get hurt just like me. You want to be left alone sometimes just like me.
I got caught up in the hype surrounding your album and I became parasitic. I became the person I hate–the person who feels entitled to other people and their labor. You don’t owe me an album. An album from you is a gift and a blessing but it’s not a requirement.
So I say all of this to say: How are you? I hope you’re okay. I hope you’re taking care of yourself. I hope you’re drinking your water, moisturizing your skin, and keeping your red and white bandana crisp and pressed.
I also say all of this to say, if heaven forbid you do decide to stop making music, I’ll accept and respect it. Thank you for the Lonny Breaux collection. Thank you for Nostalgia, Ultra.
Thank you for Channel Orange. Truly.
I’ll be honest. I hope you don’t quit music and if you do decide to keep the ball rolling, I will be there for every album while also reminding myself that being parasitic isn’t cute.
Whatever you decide Frank, I’m here for it and I respect it.
Take care of yourself.
2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Frank Ocean”
This post is deep, real talk. Very often we put artist on pedestals that even we can’t stand on, but luckily some of us keep in mind to remember that they’re people to. Maybe he’s self reflecting or taking a extended break from the industry, who knows. But he’ll come back and be better than ever I believe. I think all writers go through this stage in their period of life.
HA….He got 2 versions…and he even gave you endless. Yo he did it for you though. I mean after this post, imagine the guilt after reading this. Your writing’s really cool.