BOYS DON’T CRY is a lie, because I’ve seen a lot of boys in tears waiting for Frank Ocean’s next album. There have been premiere dates promised on three separate occasions and each have been as empty as an undergrad’s bank account. However, Frank Ocean’s fans still seem to hold onto any rumor they can find. They overturn the tiniest of stones and dig deeply into to any information for the album. It’s either a testament to the human capacity for perseverance or the most literal depiction of mass insanity the world has ever seen. Today’s music fans have more faith than most clergy, and no one seems to know why. Specifically, why do these fans keep putting up with this level of disregard?

CHANNEL ORANGE is almost old enough to qualify for kindergarten, and we haven’t heard much from the reclusive artist Frank Ocean, outside of a heartfelt open letter following the tragic LGBT-targeted massacre in Orlando, Florida. His fans have been frothing at the mouth for any hint of a new album from the THINKING BOUT YOU singer, but instead of answering, he laughs at us from what I can assume is an underground bunker in a Los Angeles desert.

Frank Ocean came onto the scene fresh out of GOLFWANG with a beautiful voice and songs with heavy messages on life, love, and the pursuit of fame. Though this is nothing new to the philosophy of all contemporary music, his art caused a dynamic shift in hip-hop and any genre affiliated with it. This is because of the specific lyricism in his music—or more specifically, the use of pronouns. His past loves weren’t depicted as purely female: he was talking about a man.


Frank Ocean’s emergence enabled hip-hop to ask itself the question: is there room for the LGBT community in the mainstream? As Netflix’s new series THE GET DOWN sheds light on, the community has had its fingers in the earliest elements of hip-hop–from fashion to musical sound—since the earliest times, and still homophobia has been an age-old problem. Frank Ocean never veiled his sexuality —though he still chooses to remain label-less, as is his right. Still, Ocean’s ability to make all artists and fans second guess their views speaks volumes for Ocean’s ability. On this alone, CHANNEL ORANGE should be held in reverence as an American music treasure.

I, for one, think this is why people have been begging for more. People are trying to see what magic Frank Ocean will bring, and what issues his album will tackle. After his op-ed following the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Frank has made it very clear where he stands on the state of our country in terms of the LGBT community and how “equal” our country really is. Yeah, Frank Ocean might be an artist tied to casual deceptions which toy with his fans’ full-spectrum of emotions, but he does have a heart filled with ethics, morals and emotions. And fans have grown pretty pessimistic about this album release.

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Three times fans have received news of Frank Ocean’s album, allegedly titled BOYS DON’T CRY, and each time fans have kept their eyes to their stitched to their Apple Music accounts for nothing. You would figure that these fans would learn that if Frank was to drop his album, it’d just be during a time none of us would see it coming; that we would wake up one night to a mysterious surprise and a trending topic.

Some people suppose that this is a marketing strategy. Thanks to Beyoncé’s tendency to release albums with zero marketing or warning, it has become a surprisingly beneficial trick. Now, if Frank Ocean is hoping that announcing his album three times, filling the net with excitement for his potential album, will get him the necessary talk to increase sells, he might be out of luck.


Yes, there are fans who are still holding out for Frank Ocean to release BOYS DON’T CRY. But there are also fans who have decided that paying for an artist who gives his fans false hopes (and anxiety) just isn’t worth it. After all, musical piracy is a truth of the music industry and the only real reason against it is the concept of supporting artists. There is a fragile contract between artist and fan: based on the strength of the artist’s word and their emotional resonance with their fans. If these promises are broken, then why should an artist be supported? Why allow yourself to be constantly misinformed, or straight up lied to?

There are fans who will support an artist through anything. Some call them Stans, a name with a debatable history stemming from Eminem’s 2000 song “Stan.” Nicki Minaj’s fans had to ask themselves if they were really okay with an idol who can’t be bothered to speak up for her large LGBT fan-base and took part in a bit of shade at one of her fans who questioned her. Chris Brown’s fans are constantly at war with their idol’s homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and general lack of respect for almost anyone. Bow Wow’s alleged fans have to deal with some of his more ludicrous Instagram and Twitter posts. Frank Ocean’s fans have it a bit easier, as he keeps away from public eye and likes to stay private. However, when an artist is using your emotional attachment to their work to exploit market sales, is it truly worth it?


I don’t think so, personally. Frank Ocean’s CHANNEL ORANGE was the first album I ever bought, and I fell in love with it. I was in high school, and its effect was very apparent in a school dominated by hip-hop culture and the hood mentality of Columbus, Ohio. It happened progressively over the week: traditionally homophobic teenagers suddenly singing “Bad Religion” and “Forrest Gump” with the lyric’s pro-nouns reversed from him, to her — you know, to “maintain” their heterosexuality. Eventually, they completely and unabashedly sung the lyrics in their original design. It definitely made everyone second-guess the use of specific homophobic slurs in their vocabulary.

But is one album enough to ignore the flagrant abuse of power in this situation? We, as fans, traditionally have nothing to gain from false advertisements, but the artists have everything to gain. Most artists understand this and will hold off on even discussing the album until it is ready for release. TLC crowdfunded their album and because of their attention to detail, they refuse to just debut any old product and haven’t given any release date yet. That’s a perfect display of an artist respecting their fans enough not to lie to them.

CLICK: The disappearance of Frank Ocean’s album isn’t the only disappointing news we’ve gotten this year. CLICK here for a look at the defeat of Bernie Sanders by Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

Though we could be too critical of Frank Ocean. There is the extra variable of the label getting in the way. Artists don’t usually market their own album. Most of them time, they don’t even own it and only see some small percentage of the sales. MEANT TO BE, the TLC biopic showed viewers the dark side of the music industry that turns artists into indentured servants. After all, that’s what happened to the infamous “A Little Too Late” singer, Jojo. Jojo’s third album was put on eternal hiatus by her former labels Da Family and Blackground. This delay lasted the better part of a decade, from her teen idol age of 13, until womanhood at the age of 22. Jojo only managed to escape the purgatory of her label due to the grace of New York and California’s legal system, which protects minors from entering contacts longer than seven years.

However, if Frank Ocean’s case was the same as Jojo’s, the album would’ve very likely have been leaked. Frank Ocean himself has proven in the past to be the type of artist who truly doesn’t give a damn. Following an altercation with Chipotle where he was supposed to perform, he simply threw the money back into the fast-food chain’s face with a rumored “Fuck Off” in the memo line of the Chase Bank check. Following multiple incidents with Chris Brown, Frank took to Earl Sweatshirt’s “Sunday” to answer: “And why’s his mug all bloody, that was a three on one? Standing ovation at Staples I got my Grammy’s and gold” (Referring to both the parking spot incident between Ocean and Brown that turned into the Staples incident where Chris Brown and his entourage refused to stand and applaud the Grammy winner, Ocean).

With all of Frank’s tenacity, he is just as likely to just leak a perfect album and force the studio to release it if they want to gain any revenue at all off of all of the work that went into recording it. So, what’s the deal, Frank Ocean?


This little exercise can be thought of as a thought experiment on the tolerance of fans. If a fan can take being lied to, being manipulated, or all out insulted by an artist, what is the meaning of asking for a fan to support you? Yes, today’s celebrity is allowed to be free of consumption as if they aren’t human – after all, social media has humanized celebrities a little too much. But, we shouldn’t ignore that this kind of relationship can become negative, an abuse on the trust and reliability that is a fan’s love of an artist’s work.

This week, Selena Gomez turned on Justin Bieber for his comments and criticisms of his fans—which have leaned a bit from the friendly rapport one would expect for the fanbase. Her statements swiftly addressed the problem with Frank Ocean and many other celebrities: they don’t really appreciate their fans. Today, celebrities like Frank Ocean look at fans as strictly consumers. Whereas this may still be true in the business side of entertainment, it shouldn’t be true for the artist who created the product.

As a writer, I am also an artist, I am a creator.

When I write something, I care about every single letter I put into word. I hate when people take my words and try to twist its meaning, and I appreciate every single person who takes the time to review my work or to even glance at it because they validate the beauty in what I do. Yeah, I would like to get paid for it, but that comes second to the art itself. That’s the difference between someone who is an artist and someone who is simply a “singer.” And for all of Frank Ocean’s faults, he’s often proved himself to be the former, rather than the latter.

Therefore: If someone profits off of their art, is it okay to tell those who consume it that they no longer matter? That’s the message we get from Ocean’s antics, that the fans’ feelings and expectations don’t matter in the end. Yes, that is true in most art forms released, but when you ask an audience to pay for it, shouldn’t you at least consult their feelings before you act? A universal truth is that art works better when there is no timetable, only passion and instinct, but that’s why if you can avoid setting a date, you don’t set one. You give a vague length of time and just go at it. Yet, I reiterate, Frank Ocean has changed the release date of his album three times, and he still expects his fans to purchase this album and expects his fans to trust him.

Yes, Frank Ocean did eventually drop not just one album, but two,  but we should still be critical of the situations behind the repetitive album announcements that suddenly went unanswered when time came to collect. An act that became a trend of its own. It was far too bizarre of a situation to ignore, and the implications don’t end there when everyone considers just how popular the albums ended up becoming.

It’s truly insane.

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