I saw Frank perform at Coachella 2 days ago, and his performance has me thinking about the current state of creativity and where art is headed. A lot. I wrote this question down in my notes during the show in the midst of hearing so many of my peers have varying thoughts and I want to know your vote :
This was by far the best breakdown creatively I never knew I needed. As someone who had Coachella tickets and could no longer go, I was waiting to see if anyone would have positive notions on his performance & incomes your thought piece! I would absolutely agree with you in saying the future of creative expression is changing and the way we value our own art matters more to people who value the artist over "having a bop" or "sold out tour". (specific to music). Knowing your audience is key, and Frank certainly knows his! - Can't wait to dive into those questions! <3
Wow - do you think we might be watching the evolution of subtlety (vs spectacle)? Rihanna's halftime performance was another instance of a performance that I loved, but most found disappointing.
This was such a great read, and I loved the philosophy and scientific breakdown you gave on the nature of shifting.
I read online that Frank’s set was delayed because he changed his concept last minute—from an ice skating rink with professional skaters who practiced for weeks, to the control room setup. The delay was because they had to melt down the ice and deconstruct the stage. He’s getting a lot of flack for his lack of “professionalism.”
I think that act alone speaks to Level 2 because although professionalism demands that you commit, preplan, and execute things to a tee, Frank prioritized his art, changed his mind last minute, AND he wasn’t going to perform if his needs weren’t met. I think it also speaks to the shift you mentioned because he is and has always put his art first, not metrics.
So I’m 100% on that side of creativity—where art and individuality is prioritized because the truth is that the concept of mainstream limits accessibility to that process and makes it seem like there’s not enough talent to go around. That’s where we need to evolve, in that there shouldn’t be a mainstream, but platforms that allow for authenticity and no formulas— a kind of “free for all” where art is prioritized and solely that. There’s so much talent, skills, gifts in this world. Personally, thats how I’ve always digested art—with different mediums and being inspired by all of them. When you get into metrics, gossip, etc. it ruins the art completely and people fall off. We see that time and time again.
I think that’s the “correct way” to share art, by allowing an inclusive space for people to share what’s in them, period. No metrics, or prioritizing revenue, but allowing the art to inspire and allowing accessibility to the platform. That’s also what we see today: everyone has a capability of carving out their own space and building a community around it. There’s a shifting away from megastars—and there’s also discourse about that, like “microwaveable stars” but that’s not really it. There is some merit to being “mainstream” in that it helps people push the limits to how creativity is expressed, for example, how Beyonce creates experiential tours. But I don’t think expression has to be pigeonholed into that format and it being seen as the “best of the best.” It’s just another path that can be taken, but it doesn’t take away from people who post to tiktok and sing in their home studios, or people who perform in local bars, etc. It’s all valuable.
Art gets lost when it becomes about anything else. That’s where you have the “microwaveable star” perspective bc you can become famous for seemingly superficial things now. Who you date, what you wear, the body you have, etc. But I also think that those things are valid and we could learn a lot from how ppl live their lives and maybe there’s a more effective platform for that. That’s a tangent lol but anyways…
What Frank does very well is prioritize art and nothing else, and that’s why he doesn’t need the tours, accolades, etc. His community will always show up for him and that’s all he needs. I think that’s where creativity needs to shift, and the current structure for how creativity is expressed needs to evolve into, and it will follow in its own way over the next few decades.
Good art makes you feel something -- happy, angry, sad, confused. If you don't feel anything, it's not good art.
I love this breakdown so much. I wanted to mention another cool element that I observed about the show is that the "security guard" is actually a huge bounce legend named "Ha Sizzle". He's a sensation here in New Orleans and infamously known as this era's "King of Bounce". His most popular song "Getcha Sum" can literally be heard echoing in the streets here day and night! I appreciated that he showed love to the city and gave flowers to another New Orleans artist in this dope way.
Loved this breakdown!
this was a great read, thank you!
Deep! I loved your point of view! 🤜🏾🤛🏾
Hey, I’m back, & I didn’t want to end the month without answering those questions!
1. I used to think that being on the side of creative natural selection that want “the survival of the fittest”. Hustling in my own creativity just to have a seat a table, to say that I have arrived. I realized that the art involved being an artist is meaningful when it comes from a place of authenticity and individuality. I’m now on the side of creative natural selection where I allow my art to speak from the truth I give it and not dictated from societies validation to deem it valuable.
2. I believe one’s mindset first and foremost needs to evolve creatively in order to produce or create unseen narratives that need to be told. I also believe that our environment dictates that creativity and if one isn’t versed in experiencing the world and culture around us, that can hinder our creative growth and ability.
3. I think creative natural selection will affect my creativity and the way I digest art if I’m not open to the unknown and not allowing anyone to put me in a box. The more and more we label what our creativity is, looks like, feels like robs it’s true essence of just being. Sometimes you don’t need an award or accolades to see the value in your work, don’t get me wrong it’s an significant accomplishment, but the art that matters will forever be memorable if the ego isn’t present.
4. In my opinion the correct way to share your art, is just to share it. I used to think that in order for a project to be perfect it had to have all the trimmings and bells and whistles. Yet, sometimes the best work comes from eyes who can see themselves in unfinished projects that we deem flawed. Art is supposed to be shared regardless of judgment and fear because the artist feels it’s right for them to share in that moment of uncertainty. I realized that the more you hold back art from yourself, the world could be missing out on your greatness.
Thank you DonYe for this opportunity to share what really matters in terms of creativity and as a creative! I answered to the best of my ability and maybe it’ll spark something in someone else.
You Frank fans blink if you need help
Omg!!!!! Donye i love this!!!!! I totally agree. Frank has never been like any other artist to me. Fan of 30% of his catalogue so Kutos to you at that 60% mark! However I’ve seen so many negative blogs and I just appreciate the open minded response because nothing is just one way. The world will never be black and white as much as we want it to be, it’s gray! I totally agree with your perspective. Ahhhhh I love this !
My first time reading your work, & I get it!!!!
I know frank ocean songs, but not a super diehard hard hard fan. I think ppls emphases of how it wasntbeing live streamed on youtube, is what actually made me curious to watch it. I saw it live through tik tok.
Voice sooo crisp i cried, and screen so conematic looking. That is art - meant to evoke emotion.
Similar to your view, i felt like his stage and sll the equipment was like an orchestra,
I love that he reimagined his songs, and brought people something new to hear, and he got to share different sides to himself sonically. (And i also feel like the future of music can go this way!artista simply rereleasing versions/ reinvisioned versions of their albums).
I Had a similar perspective about the room! When he took a break from singing on the mic and enjoyef dinging snd dancing with the audience…. I really thought of it as a being in a room or at a party with frank ocean.
I wasn’t mad at. I’m glad he tried something different, and ehat he wanted to do. Hope the timing improves, curious to see qhat ecoerience he’ll bring next week.