I recently stated my admiration for Frank Ocean in coming out in a hip-hop community that is still touchy about the subject. And while I still commend him, the release of his latest album is a little too conveniently timed for me to not do a double take at the situation.
Here are the facts: Frank Ocean’s latest album, channel ORANGE was released a week early. This comes a week after his confession of his first love which happened to be same-sex. With this revelation he made waves in the media, and it seems he surfed them right to the #1 spot on iTunes with the release of his album .
This wouldn’t be the first time that gay or gay friendly centric tactics have been used to push album sales. Artists like Madonna, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj go to an extreme to make sure they are in good with “the gays”.
And this may not even be the first time that “coming out” in particular has been a strategic marketing tactic. Ricky Martin came out in March 2011 and subsequently released his autobiography in May of the same year. It can be argued that he had no choice but to come out, since that is essentially what the autobiography is about, but reality is Ricky Martin had years to come out, but conveniently came out prior to the release of his autobiography.
So… did Frank Ocean play his cards at the right time? When asked if Ocean’s “coming out” affected the album’s marketing plan, Def Jam’s president, Joie Manda, told EW:
”Absolutely not. You have to understand that Frank’s letter last week was in NO WAY intended to impact the marketing of this record. Like all things with Frank, it was a carefully measured, very personal decision.”
So, what’s the big deal if he did strategically plan his coming out?
The issue with the timing of the situation is that if it is in fact a strategic move by Frank Ocean, or his marketing team, it ruins the authenticity of this brave confession and taints the credibility of Frank Ocean’s current open and honest brand image.
I would love to think that certain things are off limits towards promotional tactics, but reality is, in these days, marriage, pregnancy and/or divorce can be used as publicity tools. So why should it surprise anyone that an confession of a sexual preference would be a promotional tool?
Don’t get me wrong, I still commend Frank Ocean for being brave enough to come out, but the timing of it all takes quite a bit away from it. Regardless, his album is great, and is set to go platinum, because of the overwhelming amount of support he’s received from many major artist, the waves he was making in the industry before his announcement and his new found freedom of expression.
It seems that celebrities have been linked to just about anything scandalous since the day of my birth up to today. Yet, gossip, like everything else, has to progress and sex scandals, while still relevant, are just not enough to tidilate the ears of gossip folk anymore.
This is probably why “The Illuminati” has become the new black for celebrity gossip! Personally, I blame Tom Cruise and Madonna when they started the whole Kabbalah and Scientolgy craze (fad).
Top artist like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Madonna and even the oh-so-humble Beyoncé have all been linked to the Freemasonry secret society.
Very little has been said by these artist to extinguish these rumors, but some have been bold enough to comment on their alleged association with the Illuminati.
“That is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard in my life. And it’s offensive because basically what? The people that are here today don’t deserve to be where they are? What, we didn’t work for it?”
Other artist, like Lupe Fiasco, who is in the industry himself, has all but confirmed the conspiracy theorists’ talk by stating his belief in this inner circle of the Illuminati within the industry.
“…they control the world, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s already there…”
Now, with all these accusations and rumors flying around, I can’t help but wonder… Why do these music artist insist on playing into any of the Illuminati gossip by adding any of the imagery to their celebrity brand?
From music videos, to magazine spreads, it seems like all these top artist play into the symbolism as though it was in high demand.
From simple eye covering which almost all major artist can be seen doing, to the more blatant Baphomet ring worn by Beyoncé, or the insane exorcism performance by Nicki Minaj (or Roman; one of her many personas). Jay-Z, well known for his association with the Eye of Providence/the All Seeing Eye, stepped out of the box with his “On To The Next One” video. Lady Gaga fueled blogger talk about her (and her lack of a grasp on reality) when she released her “Marry The Night” music video/short film. Oh, and let’s not forget the issues that Rihanna was going through during her “Russian Roulette” debacle.
Does it relate back to the old farce that “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”? Is it good to be associated with this inner circle of elite celebrities? Does it create a sort of iconic status that these music artist strive for?
Or are these music artist really part of the Illuminati, gaining their success through extreme personal sacrifices to the well connected?
I have no answer as to why, I am simply aware of the fact that these celebrities (and their publicists) are privy to the rumor mill and continue to let the associations be made with them. I think it’s unnecessary, but if it is all a ploy to gain publicity, then I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more ritualistic music videos, dark/gory photo-shoots and an ever intrigued/confused fan base.