Frank Ocean has been critical about the Grammy Awards this year, deciding to sit out the award show saying it is “dated” and out of touch with young black artists. Well, his comments haven’t gone unnoticed.
Speaking with the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, the Grammy Awards broadcast’s producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild responded to the singer’s claims, as well as similar criticisms from Drake, Kanye West and Justin Bieber.
“If they’re concerned about the representation of hip-hop on the show, they need to respond and say ‘Yeah, of course I want to do it,'” Ehrlich said, explaining he had invited Drake, West and Bieber to perform on this year’s show. “They’ve all done it in the past. Without overstating it, I think we were very instrumental in the growth of Kanye West’s career. He did epic performances on our show going back to ‘Jesus Walks.’ We know that he’s had his problems this past year, but we pursued him. We would love to have had him here. Same with Drake. But early on, before nominations came out or anything, Drake had already locked in his schedule to be in Europe. So, there’s nothing I can do about that. Justin Bieber, we’re still talking to him — he may or he may not be there.”
As for Ocean — who did not submit his acclaimed 2016 album Blonde or any of its music for Grammy consideration — Wild and Ehrlich also commented on his minimal 2013 Grammys performance, suggesting it went poorly and blaming Ocean for that.
“Frank had a very definite idea of exactly what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it,” Wild said. “Ken said, that’s not great TV, and what he’s taught all of us is, ‘We’re not putting on a radio show … you have to make it a TV moment.’ And he knew from the start that that was not one of those moments.”
“We executed his vision knowing that it was faulty,” said Ehrlich, who called Ocean was “rigid” about his idea. “And we tried to tell him that, we tried to tell his management that, we tried to tell the record label that. So, his feelings about the Grammys right now, I would imagine, probably go back to that in one way. But honestly, it wasn’t us.”