Frank Ocean hosted the inaugural PrEP+ event last night in Brooklyn which was “the first in a series of nights; an ongoing safe space made to bring people together and dance.”
The super-exclusive event is named after the pre-exposure prophylaxis preventive drug treatment often used by gay and bisexual men who are at higher risk of contracting HIV. According to a press release by GAYLETTER, it “is an homage to what could have been of the 1980s’ NYC club scene if the drug PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) — which can be taken daily to prevent HIV/AIDs for those who are not infected but are at high risk — had been invented in that era.”
The event announcement also stressed that “Consent is mandatory” and that there would be “Zero tolerance for racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism or any form or discrimination”
Fans hoping to purchase tickets were out of luck as tickets were distributed prior to announcing the event and the venue was announced via email the night of.
The event announcement said Frank was the organizer but didn’t confirm him as a guest. The reclusive R&B superstar made a surprise appearance and delighted fans when he previewed two new songs from his highly anticipated new album.
Despite the event being adamant that “No photos or videos are allowed”, one Twitter user (@kurcobanee) was able to surreptitiously film snippets from two new Frank Ocean songs.
Neither song has been confirmed to be on Frank’s new album. In fact, Frank’s new album hasn’t been announced or confirmed yet. The singer has talked about working on new music but concrete details have been scarce which is normal when it comes to new Frank Ocean music.
When asked by W Magazine if he was working on new music, he responded “My answer to that is that I’m always working on music and other things. Right now I’m working on doing four underwater laps in the pool.”
You can watch clips from both songs below:
It appears that the PrEP+ events have replaced “Blonded Radio” (Frank’s Apple Music radio show) as the place to hear unreleased Frank Ocean music.
According to Frank, His New Music Is Inspired By “Techno, House”
Frank Ocean hasn’t released an album since 2016’s “Blonde” which went on to sell over 629,000 copies. “Blonde” was the highly anticipated follow up to 2012’s “Channel Orange”, the Grammy-winning album that propelled Ocean into the mainstream.
The 4-year follow up between the albums became a running joke and meme in the music community who were convinced that the album, which was previously titled “Boys Don’t Cry”, would never be released.
We’re 3 years into our wait for Ocean’s third album and despite him releasing a sporadic stream of singles the past 2 years including the phenomenal “Chanel”, “Lens”, “Provider”, “Biking”, and a heart-wrenching cover of the 60s ballad “Moon River”, it’s anybody’s guess as to when his new album will come out.
In an interview with W Magazine about the inspiration in his new music, he said “I’ve been interested in club, and the many different iterations of nightlife for music and songs. And so the things I look at now have a lot to do with those scenes: Detroit, Chicago, techno, house, French electronic…”
Judging by the two short clips from PrEP+, his influences are represented strongly in his new music. The one clip featuring his sped-up vocals has a snappy beat and funky groove that sounds inspired by 90s R&B. The second clip, which is much more difficult to hear, has a pulsing, techno, Daft Punk-esque beat behind it.
W Magazine also asked Ocean about what themes he’s exploring in his new music. “I believed for a very long time that there was strength in vulnerability, and I really don’t believe that anymore. “Strength” and “vulnerability” sound opposite as words. And so to combine them sounds wise, but I don’t know if it is wise. It’s just this realization that hit me: “Oh, right, it’s a choice whether you will be truthful or a liar.” If I start to tell a story and then I decide not to tell the story anymore, I can stop. It’s my story.”
It’s clear by now that we won’t know anything about Frank’s new album until he releases it. These two new songs leave more questions than answers but give fans hope that new music may be coming soon.
Frank Ocean Responds to Criticism on PrEP+ Event
Frank Ocean was facing some criticism following the inaugural PrEP+ event from music bloggers and other critics who accused Frank of using the PrEP+ name for a PR stunt instead of an event to raise awareness. Some also started rumors that the event was funded by PrEP drugmaker Gilead.
Some attendees also felt the event was advertised as a “queer event” but did not live up to expectations. Out Magazine said that attendees told them it was an “overwhelmingly white event”. Photographer Myles Loftin told the magazine, “There were a lot of straight people there, and a lot of the DJs were straight and white. I just wish that it felt more like a queer New York party.”
Frank Ocean responded with a statement that started off with “Not funded by Gilead Sciences. Funded by Blonded, independently”
He goes on to say that the event was inspired by his imagining of an alternate reality where the drug PrEP+ was widely available in the New York gay club scene in the 70s and 80s. Ocean says it would have probably “saved thousands and thousands of lives”.
He also goes on to explain that although his event organizers told him the drug had reached “100% saturation” in terms of awareness, he had several friends that were unaware of it. He also welcomes the criticism and says that he’s just “happy that folks are talking about the subject in the first place.”
He ends the letter by saying “for those of you that thought this was a PR stunt etc. etc. pshhh bitch please come get a drink next time and I’ll put several barstools out so you can have as many seats as you need.”
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