Frank Ocean released two phenomenal albums this year, Blonde and Endless, and fans (and Kanye West) were shocked when neither was submitted for consideration for a Grammy Award before the 9/30 deadline. Turns out, it was Ocean's conscious decision not to participate.
In a new—and very rare—interview with The New York Times, Ocean explained that his decision not to submit either album was to make a statement against the institution of the Grammy Awards, which he believes is “not representing” all artists equally. He described his refusal to submit his albums for award consideration to be his “Colin Kaepernick moment,” referencing the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who takes a knee during the national anthem as a form of silent protest. Read about how it influenced the country in TIME's cover story here.
Here’s the full quote from the Times about his statement:
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. 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.