“I’m an artist, it’s core to my job to imagine realities that don’t necessarily exist.”
The night, which launched yesterday (October 17) in NYC, was described as paying “homage to what could have been of the 1980s’ NYC club scene if the drug…had been invented in that era” in a press release.
In his post, Ocean responds to rumours that the invite-only party was funded by Gilead Sciences, the manufactures of PrEP – a HIV prevention drug and the club night’s namesake. “Funded by Blonded, independently,” Ocean wrote. “Let’s just get that out of the way.”
Ocean then went on to respond to criticism of the night from members of the LGBTQ+ community and explain the rationale behind naming his club night after the drug.
Ocean said: “Club culture around late 70s and 80s nightlife in NYC was a special, much talked about and written about thing. From the star studded midtown clubs like studio 54 and the first danceteria to the downtown clubs like Mudd + paradise garage. The figures, the music, the looks, the lack of regulation haha. I [recognise] NY wasn’t all lasers and disco lighting and that simultaneously, there was a lot of crime and poverty and that a huge part of club culture, the gay community, at that time were being wiped out by HIV + AIDS.
“Now in 2019, there’s a pill you can take every day that will at a better than 90% chance prevent you from contracting HIV. This pill was approved by the FDA in 2012…the fact remains that despite price being a very real barrier to this potentially life saving drug for some, the other very real barrier is awareness.
“I decided to name, what was otherwise going to be a night of lights and music inspired by an era of clubbing that I loved PrEP+ because…I started to imagine in an era where so many lives were lost and so much promise was lost forever along with them, what would it have been like if something, anything had existed that in all probability would’ve saved thousands and thousands of lives.”
He continued: “I’m an artist, it’s core to my job to imagine realities that don’t necessarily exist and it’s a joy to.”
At the night, it also looked like Ocean might have played a new song at the opening of his New York club night.
The first edition of PrEP+ was headlined by surprise guests Justice, and footage has emerged of what sounded suspiciously like a new song by Ocean himself.
Frank Ocean recently said that his new material will be about “strength and vulnerability,” and that he’s being influenced by club music while making it, a decision that seems to have led him to setting up PrEP+.
“I believed for a very long time that there was strength in vulnerability, and I really don’t believe that any more,” he said. “Strength” and “vulnerability” sound opposite as words. And so to combine them sounds wise, but I don’t know if it is wise.
“The expectation for artists to be vulnerable and truthful is a lot, you know?—when it’s no longer a choice. Like, in order for me to satisfy expectations, there needs to be an outpouring of my heart or my experiences in a very truthful, vulnerable way. I’m more interested in lies than that. Like, give me a full motion-picture fantasy.”