Frank Ocean chose not to submit Blonde or Endless for Grammy consideration in a decision that he frames as a Colin Kaepernickian moral stand, calling the awards show “dated” and calling it out for a lack of representation of black artists. But in a new episode of Rolling Stone’s Music Now podcast, Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild claim that the beef stems from his idiosyncratic performance of “Forrest Gump” at the 2013 Grammys.
“Frank had a very definite idea of exactly what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it,” Wild says. “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. 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.”
In addition to Frank Ocean, Drake, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber have all spoken out against the Grammys and will reportedly not be attending this year’s ceremony. “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 says. “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.”