Frank Ocean talks political activism, social media, and skincare in rare new interview

A rare and wide-ranging conversation with the reclusive star

Frank Ocean has given a rare new interview in which he discusses topics including social media, skincare, and his political activism.

Ocean was speaking to Vegyn and Emmett Cruddas, the co-hosts of his Beats 1 show ‘Blonded Radio’, which the singer reprised twice in 2018. The conversation was published in GQ.

A notable part of the discussion was Ocean’s political activism during the 2018 US midterm elections, for which he offered free merch to people who could prove they voted.

“The stakes feel higher now,” Ocean said of the current political climate in the US. “I was excited about the idea of incentivising people to vote and to get excited about midterms, because people aren’t usually excited about voting at midterms.

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean (and Rick Rubin)

“Getting 7,000 or 8,000 people who might not have otherwise voted to participate like that is a testament to what public figures can do or encourage with their voice. It feels responsible, especially at this time. Maybe also at many times prior, but it feels less like responsibility and more like a great opportunity that I had and still have.”

He also discussed his decision to finally make his Instagram account public in November 2018. “I feel like there was dissonance between how I was seen by the audience and where I was actually,” he said.

“There’s also the idea of dialogue and discourse and conversation—like theatre where the audience can interrupt you versus the television.”

Ocean also spoke at length about how he chooses the songs he covers, sparked by his acclaimed version of ‘Moon River’ which appeared early last year.

“I have to live with the song for a bit and I have to see if it’s worthwhile to interpret it first. To see what I can do with it, where I can insert my voice.”

The conversation varied from fashion to Ocean’s move to New York– “I enjoy the energy”–to his New Year’s resolution which is to finish a planned jewellery release.

Perhaps most importantly of all, Ocean also shared his skincare routine.

“My mom told me years ago that you gotta get somebody to stitch the silk inside the lining of the cap so it doesn’t irritate your skin, ’cause your skin is sensitive. I didn’t listen to my mom, but I really do believe in a night cream.”