Let’s face it, Frank Ocean has been on a roll for the past week. After revealing the touching, yet heartbreaking details of an intimate relationship with a man, Ocean went from hipster royalty to mainstream magnet, igniting a firestorm of conversation about the state of hip-hop and receiving both praise and hate from his musical peers. And the singer kept up that media momentum by making his TV debut with a powerful performance Monday night on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.”
But despite all of that massive buzz, it looks like there may be some unwanted waves brewing in the singer’s waters.
Right before Ocean’s “Jimmy Fallon” performance, it was revealed that his debut album, Channel Orange, had been released for sale on iTunes, a full week before it’s scheduled street release date. And though his fans are happy, music retail giant Target is not.
According to a since-deleted tweet from Ocean’s manager, Christian Clancy, thanks to Channel Orange’s early online release, Target has banned the album from its stores. However, Clancy also hinted that there may be another reason Target won’t stock the CD.
“Target has refused to carry Frank’s album because of iTunes exclusive,” Clancy wrote in a (since-deleted) tweet. “Interesting since they also donate to non-equal rights organizations.”
Clancy’s words aren’t exactly without merit. In 2010, the retail giant was the subject of a boycott by MoveOn.org after it was revealed that they donated $150,000 to Minnesota Forward, a political group which backed several state candidates, including some who supported anti-gay ministry.
However, it must be noted that Target does sell albums by openly gay and bisexual artists like Adam Lambert, Elton John and Lady Gaga, and in recent months, they’ve begun selling gay Pride T-shirts, with the proceeds going to the Family Equality Council, which supports the rights of gay parents.
In a statement to MTV News, Target denied Clancy’s accusations of homophobia and claimed their decision was strictly business.
“At Target, we focus on offering our guests a wide assortment of physical CDs, so our selection of new releases is dedicated to physical CDs rather than titles that are released digitally in advance of the street date,” said Target.
“The claims made about Target’s decision to not carry the Frank Ocean album are absolutely false. Target supports inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our business. Our assortment decisions are based on a number of factors, including guest demand,” the statement continued.
Well, the good news for Ocean is that, barring Target’s ban on his album, HitsDailyDouble released its first-week sales projection for Channel Orange, and predicted that the album will sell anywhere between 110 to 125, 000 units in its first week on the Billboard charts in digital sales alone.
Hopefully, Ocean will at least match his sales prediction numbers and land at the top of the charts. But while you wait to see where his album lands on the charts, check out some other albums that were banned from stores. –nicholas robinson