It’s official. Frank Ocean will be headlining Coachella. It only took an extra three years from when it was supposed to happen.
Back in 2019, it was announced that R&B singer Frank Ocean would be headlining the popular music festival. Ocean was originally slated to headline in 2020 alongside Rage Against the Machine and Travis Scott. But, of course, the coronavirus pandemic got in the way of that.
But now, according to the LA Times, Ocean will finally take up that headlining gig. Just in 2023.
Paul Tollett, a co-founder of Coachella, shared that Ocean’s headlining gig has been rescheduled for 2023. While he and Coachella’s organizers had initially tried to reschedule Frank Ocean for the weekends of April 15-17 and April 22-24, 2022, Ocean isn’t available for that time. As such, he’ll be pushed back another year. While Tollett says he would normally never confirm an artist so early in advance, he wanted to reassure fans “after the chaos and uncertainty of the last year and a half.”
For LGBTQ fans and fans of LGBTQ content, Frank Ocean’s headlining announcement is welcome news. Ocean has been openly bisexual since he came out in 2012. Since then, the artist has explored and discussed his sexuality in his music. Though, he also received pushback after he hosted an ill-planned PrEP+ party in 2019. The artist then apologized and quietly faded out of the spotlight. Part of that was due to his work on a new album, part of it was due to the coronavirus pandemic, and part of it was due to the untimely passing of his younger brother.
So, it seems that 2023 will be a restart for Frank Oceans’ music career. Though, should LGBTQ fans be excited about this particular event? As often happens whenever Coachella comes up, we have to acknowledge the music festival’s ties to anti-LGBTQ legislation. Coachella’s other co-owner Philip Anschutz is known for donating to anti-LGBTQ politicians like Paul Ryan, Scott Tipton, and Mike Coffman. Fader released an exposé in 2018 that revealed Anschutz gave $187,300 to such politicians and Super PACS in 2017. Billboard then wrote last year how Anschutz is still donating to organizations supporting anti-LGBTQ policies. Their report said that between December 2017 and November 2018, Anschultz gave $1,020,000 to the Colorado Christian University and the Sky Ranch Christian Camp organization.
That said, Paul Tollett spoke to the Washington Times last year. He argued that not only does he run the actual organization of Coachella, but people would be hard-pressed not to find a music festival/venue owner who isn’t a Republican.
“Most billionaires are Republicans,” he said. “The billionaire attached to Live Nation is a Republican Trump supporter. Ticketmaster, same thing. Madison Square Garden? Billionaire Trump supporter. I know Mr. Anschutz isn’t a Trump supporter. None of it matters to me. I run a show 365 days a year, making all the decisions.”
“He’s given hundreds of millions to charity and made some mistakes, and he’s addressed it. He made a very strong statement about his beliefs and people’s rights to their sexuality,” Mr. Tollett said. “He made a million-dollar donation to an AIDS charity that specializes in added discrimination in Africa. I’ve seen it here at AEG: He’s good to all of us. There’s no discrimination.”
“Anyone who knows me and the Goldenvoice staff, they know we have a very colorful public history,” he continued. “They see our 1,400 shows a year. They know our well-balanced staff, diverse from the beginning. Currently more women than men, all races, all sexual orientations. We never had a plan to do it that way; it’s just what all of us are. We book our shows that way too.”
Booking Frank Ocean certainly shows that commitment to diversity and inclusion. But, will it matter to LGBTQ fans in the long run? We’ll see when 2023 finally comes around.