Research Paper: Through the Reflection of Frank Ocean


For Frank, social media is a tool he can employ to share his music the way he wants to, and pick and choose the aspects of himself he feels are important for his audience to know. He reveals himself on social media methodically so that who he is and his music can be interpreted by his audience; As time passes and you interact with Frank Ocean more through his social media, you learn about who he is as an artist and person, or at least the parts he wants you to know. His career path and complementary use of social media sets an example for independent artists trying to find their way to success, while the specific way he uses his social media demonstrates the fine balance between the good and bad qualities of social media. Furthermore, Frank does use social media, and what he chooses to display reflects the way musicians express their personal lives and beliefs to the world. Frank Ocean exemplifies how a new generation of artists, different than artists from a time without social media, have a different approach to independently rising to stardom, balancing their online presence, and using their platforms to spread messages important to them.

Frank Ocean began his career as a songwriter, someone behind the scenes, sharing his creations without true recognition. After hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and destroyed Lonny Breaux’s (Frank Ocean’s original name) home studio, Frank moved to the West to Los Angeles. He began as a ghostwriter for artists like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Beyoncé, and after meeting and working with artist Tyler the Creator and producer Tricky Stewart, he earned a contract with the record label Def Jam. Here he placed his hopes and dreams, but Def Jam simply did not live up to the challenge. Frank found himself caught in a deal with people unwilling to foster the incredible creativity he could bring to the label, and he felt forced to break away and make his album on his own. Inspired by a group of music misfits, Odd Future, Frank constructed an album, Nostalgia, ULTRA.

Odd Future


He self released Nostalgia, ULTRA, taking the internet by storm, and showing Def Jam what he was truly made of, and more significantly, what they missed out on.

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With this action, Frank redefined what it meant to be a ‘real’ artist. As Yoh Phillips wrote in his article Road to Artistic Freedom: Frank Ocean’s Journey to Independence, “When Lonny Breaux became Frank Ocean and decided upon a path without assistance, something more than a name changed. The very idea of a traditional career and being under the thumb of a label was thrown away. He knew what it was like to be shelved, tasted the life of an artist trapped, and also saw the power in being an artist who does it alone, independently.” We see this in the world of self production today with the rise of services like SoundCloud, a platform that anyone can access and upload their music to for anyone to view for free. SoundCloud adds an element of officiality to an amateur artist trying to share his or her creations, creating an authentic sharing community like no other. Jenna Wortham, author of NYTimes article If SoundCloud Disappears, What Happens to Its Music Culture?, mentions the stars SoundCloud has generated, “a huge roster of successful artists who first emerged on SoundCloud, including the R.&B. singer Kehlani, the electronic musician Ta-Ha, the pop musician Dylan Brady and the rapper Lil Yachty, to name just a few.” It seems that with a platform like this and the accessibility to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, people with no opportunities but self-promotion can’t be stopped. Frank Ocean is an example for many, for he knew that with the technology at his fingertips, and the creativity of his talent, he needed no one but himself to achieve the success he had always dreamed of.

On August 20th, 2016 Frank Ocean released his latest album, Blonde. After Channel Orange (Frank’s second album after Nostalgia, ULTRA) the years leading up to Blonde kept his fans on edge, for he released the album after years of hints, teases and various other clues on social-media. Through this process, it becomes clear that Frank knew how to cater his social media to his audience very well, for he repeatedly drew his fans in and kept them wanting more through a masterful use (to learn more about the release process of Blonde read my past post: “Personal Essay”).

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With role models like Frank, who have already ‘made it’ using social media for promotion, amateurs look to social media as their path to equivalent success. For example, amateur artist Alyssa Chasing wrote about the role that social media has in the creation of her music for “on Facebook I can share my art updates with friends and family, on Twitter I can share links…on Instagram I can post pictures from my studio and get new fans each day. It’s incredibly easy to put work on the internet and the feedback is instant” (Social Media Is Another Canvas for Millennial Artists). Frank Ocean utilized this tool and so are so many up and coming artists today.

Social media, however, has its downsides as well. When using social media Frank Ocean seems to have realized that keeping a distance from the public is very important; he seeks to continue to build success and profit while maintaining his authentic persona and privacy. After interviewing artists and weighing the good and bad of social media in the music industry today, Zachary Evans, author of online article How Social Media and Mobile Technology Has Changed Music Forever, comments on one of the dark elements of social media’s powerful involvement. He writes that “This marriage with marketing also feels very against the artistic spirit that has always been one of the most compelling aspects of music. When art can’t stand on its own without being sold as worthy of consumption, then it changes the role of the artist in a very dangerous way. While social media can be a fantastic tool for musicians, it can also detract heavily from their time actually being a musician.” Some artists have even opted out of social media use for an attempt at maintaining the authenticity of their music and/or preserving an element of privacy in their lives. Take Beyonce, who didn’t truly join the world of social media until 2012, when she published her first tweet in reference to her new tumblr page. She is one of few who has managed to resist online displays of her life for the most part. Looking at Beyoncé’s lack of social media, Robert Edgar-Hunt, author of The Arena Concert, speculates that her few posts are “projecting authenticity [that] holds out the promise of validating the ‘realness’ of an otherwise untouchable or distant, and so indeed ‘godly,’ person” (The Arena Concert, 283). Frank appears to be playing with this balance between a mysterious and authentic “godly” presence and creating a growing relationship with his fans, reflecting the struggle many artists have with maintaining privacy and distance from their public images.

Whether for a profit or out of genuine sentiment, Frank has had his moments of opening up to fans and the public. He reveals the way that social media has made the music about more than the songs, but about the artists themselves. One of the reasons that fans adore Frank so passionately is because of the incredible intimacy conveyed by his music; Frank hasn’t shared a lot of his life with the world and usually remains very selective and tactical, however, there have been times where he has revealed deeply personal information to match the emotional transparency in his music. In 2012, Frank Ocean posted his open letter onto Tumblr.

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In a GQ interview with Amy Wallace, he said that he posted it in response to speculation about the use of male pronouns for the love interests in his lyrics. He did not label his sexuality, or the letter itself, rather simply depicted a relatable story of first love that demonstrated he does, in fact, have interest in male partners. Whatever that implies about his sexuality is up for debate. In the interview he reveals his perspective on exposing himself through social media, saying “I didn’t need to label it for it to have impact. Because people realize everything that I say is so relatable, because when you’re talking about romantic love, both sides in all scenarios feel the same shit. As a writer, as a creator, I’m giving you my experiences. But just take what I give you. You ain’t got to pry beyond that. I’m giving you what I feel like you can feel.” Frank gives what he feels like sharing, but there is an increasing pressure for artists to expose every aspect of their lives to their audiences. Edgar-Hunt conveys how Frank Ocean’s resistance to this pressure is difficult, for “the old models of music dissemination and ownership are seemingly no longer enough for the music industry: the consumer wants to possess the song in a variety of material and immaterial ways…and wants to encounter the singer” (The Arena Concert, 1). Music today goes far beyond what we listen to as audio. We want to feel connected to the artists, in a way that relates to something from their lives that we can see in our own lives.

People adore Frank and find meaning in his every move. A final perspective on Frank’s social media use demonstrates the way musicians today have a larger voice in political and social issues. For example, Frank posted on Tumblr recently that he would provide limited edition merchandise to people who could prove they voted as a way to get people out to vote, writing “P.S. Locations were chosen in states to support specific candidates: Stacey Abrams in Georgia, who if elected would be America’s first black female governor, Andrew Gillum in Florida, who would become the state’s first black governor and Beto O’Rourke who would be the first Democratic senator in Texas in 24 years.”

He is one of a growing number of artists who have used their media platform to exhibit their political stance, recently like these below and many more:

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Recently, on November 15th, Frank made his Instagram public; for many of his fans, this was an extraordinary moment. Why did he do it after so many years in privacy? As of now we don’t know, however, some people speculate that he is starting the string of media hints, similar to those which fans followed on the trail to Blonde. Maybe he wants to share more about his personal life or his political views. Either way, fans now feel that they have a larger window into who he really is. He welcomed everyone, knowing that it would be a momentous event for his following with this post:

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The distance is now a little smaller from a social media perspective.

Frank Ocean’s music is often considered by many to be especially brilliant and most importantly, genuine, however we must keep in mind the fact that Frank is producing music for an audience and to make a profit. As much as artists genuinely want to be real and authentic, there is always an element of appearance. As Sarah Thornton, author of Club Cultures, claims, “In the case of the youth, the difference between the ‘hip’ and the banal, the honourable and trash cultures tends to correlate with amounts of media exposure – some media legitimate while others popularize, some preserve the esoteric while others are seen to ‘sell out’” (Club Cultures, 164). I urge you, listener of music and fan of euphonic stars, don’t forget that what we see and how we interpret it, as genuine as it may seem, will never reveal a musician’s true intentions. George McKay, author of The Pop Festival, states that “defining the roles that regulate the media, scholars in the fields of cultural studies and social theory have criticized the concept of spectatorship, and indeed essentialist couplings like production/consumption, activity/passivity.” We must turn a critical eye towards the image artists present to us through social media (The Pop Festival, 166).

Frank has shown us the power of social media promotion, the delicate balance that lies between a relationship with fans and privacy, and the ways that artists use social media for agendas messages of their music. That considered, ultimately we will never know how much of an artist’s image is genuine and what is manipulated intentionally for profit. What will always remain is the artist seeking to create and express emotions that words alone won’t allow, and it is up to us to find the beauty and meaning behind it all. Artists today behave differently than previous generations. They fight record labels with platforms like SoundCloud, they share their lives, they hide their lives, they urge us to get socially and politically involved, and they make music. Frank and this new generation of artists are just like anyone who is trying to find a balance between social-media and true self. Social media has brought us closer to artists like Frank Ocean, but maybe not in the way we initially expect. Seeing their families, their beliefs, and their day to day lives puts us in their context, but it is that human struggle for authenticity that we all are facing as the world is increasingly digitized that makes them more relatable than anything else.

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Hard Sources Referenced:

Edgar-Hunt, Robert, et al. The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

McKay, George. The Pop Festival: History, Music, Media, Culture. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

Thornton, Sarah. Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Wesleyan University Press, 1996.


Creative Project: “Channeling” Frank Ocean

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“Channeling” is a play on words referencing Frank’s album Channel Orange and the fact that I am emulating him in this project.

For my creative project, I followed the timeline I had created for my personal essay:

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I started with a photo of myself in my workspace, as Frank had posted a photo of himself in the studio.
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I then posted to twitter, as Frank Ocean had posted to tumblr a hint about his new album. I used the #apart to hint at the song I chose to cover at then end of the timeline.
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I then took another photo of me working on the project next to books that influence me, as frank did with the magazines.
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Next, as Frank had put up a video of him physically creating something, which was seen as a hint of the upcoming album, I created a physical piece of art. I drew an image that I thought showed the meaning behind the song I chose, Self Control, along with a line from the song surrounding the image. Frank’s, Mine
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I then created a playlist of songs that I felt embodied the feeling I get from listening/singing Self Control, as Frank had sampled many artists in his video album, Endless. Video, Playlist
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Finally I recorded my cover of Self Control, as Frank finally released his album Blonde after so many different ways of keeping the world on edge in anticipation for his album. Frank’s Self Control, My Cover

Taking these photos, I used a Nikon camera (borrowed from my mom) and a stand so that I could accomplish this on my own. It was a challenge to get the right angle to satisfy my replication. I used editing features to give the vibrant colors that I felt came across in Frank’s photos, but with more brightness and warmth to cater to my artistic choices. For the video I used the nikon with the stand to record and then used iMovie at the cox computer lab to edit; using iMovie was difficult at times, for I wanted the video to be time-lapsed, the music to fade out at the end, and the photos of the project to flow nicely. I dedicated a lot of time to that video. Recording the song I used an acoustic guitar cover (Caroline McGregor via Youtube) that I found on Youtube along with the voice-memos application on the iphone to record myself singing to that guitar cover. This was not too difficult technology-wise, but I had to practice the song and record it tens of times to get it to the quality I wanted to submit. Overall this project required a lot of different technology and applications that I had to navigate, learn, and manipulate.
This semester my topic was Frank Ocean and the way he uses media to express himself and share his creations. The more I’ve learned about Frank Ocean, the more ways I see that he has utilized media in all forms: from photography, to social media, to physical mediums, to sampling, to video. His approach to musical creation is multi-faceted, so I knew that my creative project had to be the same. When deciding on my creative project, I had the goal of trying to understand what it is like to be part of so many mediums of media at once. By following the timeline of Frank Ocean’s release of his album, Blonde, but with my own artwork, “sampling”/covering Self Control, and more, I learned that it is empowering to embrace media in this holistic way. In a world with so many resources at our hands, I can now see how Frank couldn’t just stop at the production of the musical aspect of his album. With such personal songs, expressing them on the web, through art, and full dedication of himself to his project, Blonde is truly unique. Frank is an example of what it is like to be an artist today. As we have discussed, media is constantly changing, making us interact in different ways. Frank used “old-fashioned” physical media to express himself along with online platforms like tumblr. He shows that being a musician means giving yourself to your audience, and being creative with the incredible resources at hand. He also knows the implications of oversharing, for social media, as we have discussed throughout the semester, can be all consuming, and detrimental to our self identities. The has always been the music, but then came technology that changed the way it was created and constructed. Now there is a third level to the technology of music: social media. Now music is also about the way that music is seen by audiences and shared in the online world. Music is changing, but as Frank Ocean did with his album Blonde, it is important to look back to past media forms and reflect on the impact of the media and social media today.

This was a really fun, empowering, and reflective project. Hope you enjoy.

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Extra Credit #3: MIA Documentary

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Last Friday, November 30th, I went to the Emory campus screening of Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. I had always loved her music, for it’s unique, fun to dance to, but also always had the most interesting lyrics. As a young teen, I often listened to her song Paper Planes; I never knew what it really was about.

This documentary was AMAZING. It delved into her background and career in such an intimate, impactful way.  Matangi is the name she had as a refugee from Sri Lanka. She had to escape the civil war and the the wrath of the government against the resistance her father had created. In London, as a refugee, and now a teenager of the UK, she was known as Maya. Finally, when she blew up as a star in the music industry across the world, she become known as M.I.A.. Her background makes her music so unique, but it is the way she pieces her cultural experiences with her passion for social change that makes her creations so special.

The world was outraged by her unwillingness to hide her thoughts about portrayals of Sri Lanka in the media, and her need to stand up for what she believes in. She famously flipped off the camera during Madonna’s Super Bowl performance that she was a part of, and suddenly was in the spotlight as a hater of American ways. She renounced the NYTimes for its portrayal of Sri Lanka and stated that there were mass killings of people and racial cleansing in Sri Lanka, for she wanted to fight the way the media was portraying the unrest in her country. Many people called her a terrorist, and wanted her to be silent. She never stopped.

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With media she continuously created images that would strike the world, such as a video of ginger white boys being “cleansed” in her song Born Free. After watching this documentary, I now know what her song Paper Planes means, for its most well-known part:

All I wanna do is
And (gun shot sounds)
And (cash machine sound) take your money

satirically comments on the way the media and the world like to think of immigrants as people who come to a country to be violent and steal everyone’s jobs. Her combination of passion for activism and love for dance music make her songs like no other.

This was a really great experience, and I would suggest that everyone watches this documentary. I’m planning on watching it again with my mom when I go home for winter break.

Research Paper Rough Draft

The following is my first 600 words of my research plan intertwined with an outline of the rest of the paper.

Research Questions

  1. Stemming from the trail of Frank Ocean, in what ways has creating, distributing, and connecting with music become dependent on social media in the twenty first century?
  2. What do Frank’s uses of social media reveal about social media in today’s music industry?


Though many music artists use social media, it seems that Frank Ocean has a special relationship with it, for he uses social media to show but not tell his identity. He presents aspects of himself without explicitly stating what they are, explaining what he means, or labeling himself. For Frank, social media is a tool he can employ to share his music the way he wants to, and pick and choose the aspects of himself he feels are important for his audience to know.

Thesis He reveals himself on social media so that who he is and his music can be interpreted by his audience, in the way that people get to know someone in a relationship; As time passes and you interact with Frank Ocean more through his social media, you learn about who he is as an artist and person.

BP1 Letting his music speak for itself

Frank Ocean began his career as a writer of music, someone behind the scenes, sharing his creations without true recognition. After hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and destroyed Lonny Breauxs (Christopher Francis Ocean or Frank Ocean’s original name) home studio, Frank moved to the West, to Los Angeles. He began as a ghostwriter for artists like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Beyoncé, and after meeting artist Tyler the Creator and producer Tricky Stewart, he found his way to a contract with Def Jam. Here he placed his hopes and dreams, but Def Jam simply did not live up to the challenge. Frank found himself caught in a deal with people not willing to foster the incredible creativity he was bringing to the label, and he was forced to breakout and make his album on his own. Inspired by a group of music misfits, Odd Future, Frank constructed an album, Nostalgia, ULTRA. He self released Nostalgia, ULTRA, taking the internet by storm, and showing Def Jam what he was truly made of, and more significantly, what they missed out on. As Yoh Phillips wrote in his article Road to Artistic Freedom: Frank OCean’s Journey to Independence, “When Lonny Breaux became Frank Ocean and decided upon a path without assistance, something more than a name changed. The very idea of a traditional career and being under the thumb of a label was thrown away. He knew what it was like to be shelved, tasted the life of an artist trapped, and also saw the power in being an artist who does it alone, independently.” From there Frank Ocean could not be stopped: he gave Def Jam and ultimatum “Give me $1 million if you want the next album.” He was all powerful, for he knew that with the technology at his fingertips, and the creativity of his talent, he needed no one but himself to be the artist he had always dreamed of. Frank Ocean is a pioneer of the industry, proving to the world and to other up and coming artists that music can be created by anyone, it simply takes passion and determination.

BP2 He took social media use for promotion to a new level.

  • Also showed a reminiscence of other older art forms.
  • His music is deep, complex, and there are a lot of fan comments/blogs interpreting (ex. Dissect podcast)

BP3 Music today is not just about the sounds, but about being involved in the artist’s life.

  • Unlike earlier times, social media gives the audience access to every aspect of these artists lives (address recent instagram change with frank ocean)
  • But his music is so intimate that he has to share some things (use discrete open letter)
  • politics/personal beliefs revealed

Conclusion Why is this important?

Because Frank Ocean has his trepidations about social media but also uses it so intently and masterfully, he has revealed that media in music must be used thoughtfully. The relationship between artist and audience can be fostered through social media, creating a more real and intimate relationship with an artist, but it can also taint the music and the way that it can sometimes say enough just to listen. The world of music is changing and Frank seems to be trying to make use of social media without destroying the power that music has always had, or sacrificing his authenticity.


Final Website Self-Assessment

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My website, byhaydenhadley, is a beautiful manifestation of my work in this class this semester. Looking at it, scrolling the pages, and navigating through the tabs that I have created, I am truly satisfied with the work I’ve completed, the words I’ve written, and the design of my website.

I started off with a good base on the first day I created this site, for the light pink coloring, the rose emblem (I love that I figured out how to put it next to the website address in the search-engine-bar), and the classic blog style of the website, have all remained the same throughout the semester, and I still enjoy their aesthetic impact. I did, however, change some of the navigation/organization elements of byhaydenhadley. Because we documented the accumulation of projects designated to one topic, I found myself often scrolling down to past posts to compare and use things I had written in the past to influence the current project I was working on. I realized that with the mix of assignments that were unrelated to the topic, it was very irritating to have to scroll down all the way to see a post I needed. I can imagine that for others this is annoying as well. So I decided to categorize my posts into three categories: Extra Credit, Assessments, and Frank Ocean Project while still keeping the other tabs I had originally included (About Me, Home).

I think that it is important that the Home page still has a running scroll of all of my posts in chronological order, with the most recent at the top, for with my blog-style intention, anyone visiting could see my most recent content and if they need something specific, they can now click on one of the categories I have provided.

Though I did come upon some challenges, I found that with a little time and effort, creating a website is very user friendly, especially on a platform like WordPress. The process was way easier than I initially expected. You don’t have to be able to code or an engineer to have a website. I find it so incredible that people today can so easily market themselves, have their own website, and make their work official and accessible on the world-wide-web to just about anyone. These realizations have made me really happy with my website-creation experience.

When I look back to my initial thoughts about my website I have so many ambitions and ideas. I said on my September 14th post:

“I hope to add an art section to showcase what I work on in the semester visually and literarily, an event page for cool things that I think are important to go to at Emory and in Atlanta, and maybe a fashion page as well.”

I wish that I had gotten further with these ambitions, but that does not mean that I don’t plan on pursuing them in the future. I have explored other website-creating options, such as wix, or weebly or squarespace that may fit the image I am trying to create when presenting my art/work. I am thinking about transposing some of the design and content of this website to a one of these options to promote my work and supply employers with an exhibition of my creative side in the future. One idea I have is to link articles I have written for Emory’s HerCampus page, but I am still thinking about how I would go about displaying it. I also think that possibly purchasing a domain without the website-creator’s name ( would be important if I want to make a more official site for myself.

Overall, I think that creating a website this semester was a really beneficial process. I think that I have developed something that I am proud of, and learned that there are so many things I can do in the future with the website accessibility I have. I’m excited to take what I have learned and apply it to my future website!

Creative Project Rough Draft

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Here, in the left column, is the timeline that I had created from my personal essay about the way Frank Ocean released his album, Blonde, and in the right column, the way that I will replicate his release of his album as my creative project…

Frank’s Timeline (From Personal Essay) My Interpretation and Experience Replicating Each Event
Frank first releases an instagram photo of working on his music on a mixing board. This will be a picture of me at my dorm room desk, the place that I consider to be my workshop, like Frank’s soundboard/music studio. This is the place where I will try to experiment and experience what it’s like to be part of all the different forms of media that Frank used to release his album.
Though I myself will not be releasing an album, I will also be trying to create a cover of one of Frank’s songs. I will use the media to hint at which song by Frank I will be covering in order to have a reveal as Frank did.
I won’t be looking for responses throughout these media posts, rather I will be looking to explore and reflect the modes of expression, the intimacy, the exposure, and the emotions that I feel while using these different media methods.
In a tumblr post, he hints at the fact that the new album is almost ready. I will use Twitter for this event, for I feel that in 2018 Twitter is more equivalent to the audience Frank was reaching out to with Tumblr. He was trying to reach a group to give a hint about his new album, while also being subtle at the same time. I feel that with Twitter’s low character count and abundance of posts made on Twitter, this will replicate that subtle effect.
His post had said “I got two versions. I got twoooo versions,” with hashtags #ISSUE1 #ALBUM3 #JULY2015 #BOYSDONTCRY.I will write “I got one cover. I got oneeeee cover,” with hashtags #frankoceanexperiment #digitalmedia #December2018 #lonely

“Lonely” will be a hint at the song I choose.

He posts on his website, 3 years after Channel Orange, a picture of magazines hinting at the release of an album titled “Boys Don’t Cry,” just like the magazines. No release comes. My interpretation of Frank posting this image is that Frank was in a personal space (maybe his home, or office) and he was simply showing that he was creating something that meant something to him, while also sending the next hint in his series of hints, one about the title.
Because I am doing a cover, I will have a picture of me in my dorm room, with a stack of books that influence me, with my journal on the top.
But the album is not released. The mystery is still in full force, and a black and white video live streams on Frank’s website in August. Frank is woodworking to build something. The New York Times reveals in reference to this live stream that a new album is coming in five days. But it does not come. I am not sure of Frank’s intentions, but to me it felt like this video indicated a physical manifestation of all the hard work Frank put into his new music: all the labor, the heart, and the thought. His woodworking took time, labor, power tools, and navigation of a blank canvas to start from, just like his album.
I think that the black and white filter was meant to keep the video simple, to show that the color was going to come in form of the sound he would soon give his fans.
I will not be woodworking, but rather creating some type of physical art on camera. I am not sure what this will be yet, but I am thinking that I will either be drawing a picture of something that symbolizes the impact that the song I choose has on me, or doing some type of origami for the same effect. I will do this in black and white as well.
A few weeks later the woodworking live stream continues, and his visual, music-video-esque project, Endless is released with Apple Music the next day. This however is not the album that fans had been waiting for all these years. Endless is the woodworking video, now with music. Some short songs with lots of samplings of other artists play as he finishes his wood project. Mikelle Street writes that “On Endless, the studio seemingly becomes a playground, a sonic Tumblr feed. Here, he reblogs other artists by sampling the likes of Jazmine Sullivan in ‘Wither’ and Lauryn Hill in ‘Rushes’” ( Frank is exploring, sharing the music he loves and what it means to him.
I chose to concentrate my project this semester on Frank Ocean because I have felt connected to Frank’s music, as I know many people do. Music in general is a very important part of my life because of the way that it makes me feel and the way it make people feel that they are not alone in the ways they feel about life. For this part of the replication of Frank’s media timeline, I will make a playlist of songs that make me feel similarly to the song I choose (approximately 10 songs long). With this playlist I will be able to share songs that are important to me as Frank did through sampling.
48 hours after Endless, the album is finally gifted to the world: Blonde, the new name for Boys Don’t Cry, is finally in the hands of Frank’s fans. The final reveal, like his album, will be a recording of my cover of the song, Solo. This song is beautiful and powerful, and I look forward to making a cover. I might even mimic the album cover (displayed at the top of this post).

Project Intention: I hope that by the end of this project I further understand the complicated nature of the way that Frank Ocean released his album Blonde, feeling how much effort he put into making his fans pay attention and wait for his new music. I hope to understand the reasons for why he released his album in this complex way. I also hope to feel more connected to the way that media, physical art and music are all connected in the modern world.

East L.A. Interchange

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In a week where Jewish people are feeling the weight of the world, I felt the feeling of resilience in the room while watching this documentary hosted by the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. We all came to support the creations of the Jewish community, and a film that partially documented to history of Jewish people in America.

Boyle Heights is the oldest neighborhood in East L.A. and is home to a population that has continuously resisted history and infrastructure that has threatened to destroy the diversity and vibrancy of the community. Betsy Kalin, who was in White Hall 2018 with us, did an incredible job at making the film feel real, genuine, and reflective of the true experiences of those who had lived and still live in Boyle Heights. As  stated on the website’s front page, The Huffington Post wrote that this documentary “will transform how you think about living in the U.S. today,” and I honestly think that this is true. I was one of the people that had only heard of the stereotypes of East L.A. and not thought about how my perspective has been influenced by the way the media has portrayed this area of the country. I was particularly struck by Anderson Cooper’s blunt words about how gang violence and poverty dominated the area, swiftly excluding the fact that the people living in Boyle Heights are community members contributing to society while working, going to school, and building bonds across racial and cultural boundaries.

Through Kalin’s lens, I was able to see Boyle Heights for the rich history it has. It reflects resistance to government attempts at racial segregation, the Japanese American Internment, highway systems that intentionally targeted destruction of low-income immigrant communities, and the changing definitions of what it means to be an immigrant and an American in the United States. With a running time of only 57 minutes, East L.A. Interchange used each second effectively, bringing the audience into the world of this misrepresented community and out of the distorted bubble that the media so often creates. The interviews were cunning, catching, and put the audience in the shoes of the camera’s subjects. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and feel that it reflects many of the topics we have discussed in our class this semester; East L.A. Interchange displayed how media can distort how we view each other but can also break in support of those in need.