For instance he had the cojones to perform a love song-- on one of the biggest world stages-- to a man, the big thing being he had to use the pronoun 'he', signifying even more talk of same gender love (sgl). Now in all honesty we can ask: were the lyrics written from a perspective of a young lady singing about a guy, or a guy (in this case, perceivably Frank himself, since he has affirmed once having a same-sex relationship of which he has no regrets) singing his love of another guy (as he does in his song, 'Bad Religion', from the same album). Either way, in a culture in which many young black males find it honorable (and, for some, as a way of wearing a mask) to wallow in homophobia, the fact that he chose to perform the song at all, given his public persona takes big cojones and he continues to swing them.
Then there is the fact that he chose to perform the song last night in a relative minimalist setting, and rightly so. I think Frank Ocean is best served chilled; he is best experienced outside of the 'big arena' in more intimate environments where his music can be not only be heard, but experienced on a level that is more than just an exquisite voice wailing over pulsing, yet often mundane music. You see, his music is reflective of so much that's going on inside his head and of the generation he's a part of, so there is no need to sing anthems like so many of the artists did last night... no ANTHEMS or big productions, but music that asks you to LISTEN to what he's saying... It was a performance that FINALLY put to rest all of the ANTHEMS I heard last night, though understandable to a certain extent since the Grammys is a show that is 'hyped' arena style for a huge viewing audience that often looks for high-powered productions. But I soon grew so tired of seeing people screaming out songs in front of flashing lights and smoke and jumping all over the stage.
See, here's the thing: listening to Frank Ocean is like listening to Billie Holiday compared to Ella Fitzgerald, or Nina Simone to Aretha Franklin, or Bob Dylan to Paul McCartney; it's not so much about having a sterling voice or being popular than being authentic to the genius that informs him.
Frank Ocean is different. He composes music that can make you nod your head to the groove, yet your eyes are wide open if you're listening to what he's saying. (See his performance below).