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Frank Ocean Talks Def Jam Split, Shares Advice For New Artists

The Grammy winner spoke about music and more with ‘Gayletter’ magazine.

Frank Ocean opened up about his split with Def Jam and shared some sound advice for new artists, in the cover story for Gayletter magazine.

It's no secret that Ocean's relationship with the label fell apart before his contract ended. In 2016, the Grammy winner likened being freed from Def Jam to “a seven-year chess game.” When asked about his, Blonde album, and the decision to release the project independently after fulfilling his obligations to the label, Ocean told Gayletter that he's “at peace” with how things turned out, and “proud” of what he was able to get done.

“I feel like the best outcome for myself was that outcome, and I feel proud of what I was able to get done with it. I love the music and the art that came out of that period, as well as the visual work. It’s definitely a period I look back on fondly.”

He went on to give advice to newcomers navigating the music industry. “Well, f**king with major music companies, you’re going to be…deflowered,” he explained. “Anytime you get into the business side of the arts, there has to be some degree of objectification or commodification that you’re comfortable with, of yourself and of your work.”

The 31-year-old singer noted that artists have to be clear about what they want out of their careers and how they quantify success. “A lot of people I talk to about careers in the music industry, their ideas of success have to do with nostalgia. They have to do with tropes of success, things they’ve been shown over the years that represent what a successful career is. I think that helps you become prey, because somebody can manipulate you with those things,” he said.

“Then you may get to a point in your experience where you become disillusioned with those things. So anybody having a clear idea — even if it’s as crass as ‘how much money do I want to make, specifically?’— I think that’s much clearer than some of these other things that represent success, whether that’s X amount of spins or streams or plaques. Even sold-out venues. If those things don’t help you reach your defined priorities, then what are those things there for?”

“That’s how I try to make decisions in my life and career, and, if asked, I share that philosophy with anybody who asks,” Ocean continued. “For me, it’s about Why am I doing this? What exactly do I want from this? And how do I get those specific things I want out of this? And what does success look like on those terms? And what does failure look like on those terms? That’s how I think about it now.”

On a more personal note, Ocean revealed that he has been in a relationship for three years. He also spoke about following his intuition, his interest in queer art and history, and wanting to go to college. “I’d still love to go to school. I’m sure there’s something about adults romanticizing college again, but yeah. Right now I’m just taking French, and you know, honestly, that’s about as much extracurricular as I can deal with.”

Read the full interview here.

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Michelle Obama Interviews Barack Obama For First Episode Of New Podcast

Michelle Obama kicked off her podcast this week with a very special guest. The former first lady welcomed her husband, Barack Obama, for a lengthy discussion about their childhood, as it relates to race and class, experiences that shaped their “notion of community,” and more.

Barack tweeted a photo from the podcast on Thursday (July 29) with the caption,. “Michelle and I have spent a lot of time together these past few months. We’ve had a lot of good talks — and this one’s up there with the best.”

Michelle and I have spent a lot of time together these past few months. We’ve had a lot of good talks—and this one’s up there with the best. Take a listen to the very first episode of Michelle’s podcast: https://t.co/JEaVgT6GPC. pic.twitter.com/oRn1figrRK

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 29, 2020

The podcast aims to give listeners deeper insight into Mrs. Obama's life. “I spent a lot of time thinking, talking with friends and family,” she explained of her life after the White House. “Really just being, if you know what I mean. I reflected back on my time in the White House of course, but I went even deeper. I looked back at the whole arc of my life.

“In this first season, you’ll be hearing me talk with some of the people I’m closest with — my mom…my brothers…friends..colleagues. And I wanted to start at the most basic level. In these episodes, we’ll be discussing the relationships that make us who we are. Sometimes that might be as personal as our relationship with ourselves or how we navigate our health and our bodies at various points in our lives,” said Mrs. Obama. “In other episodes we’ll be talking about what the challenges and the joys of being a parent or a spouse…the growth we gain from leaning on colleagues and mentors…the friends that help us sort through the toughest times.”

Click here to listen to the first episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast.

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YG attends the 2019 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
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YG Recalls Police Pulling Guns On His Children During Home Raid

YG has had his share of run-ins with police, but one incident was particularly harrowing for the Compton native. In an interview with The Morning Hustle, YG opened up about his home being raided and police pulling guns on his young daughters.

The incident occurred in January, a day after the  30-year-old rapper was briefly arrested for suspicion of robbery.  “They came through like four in the morning,” he recalled. “We asleep, the helicopter came around and all that..they bang the door in trying to get in the door, so I go downstairs, I open the door…boom! They drew [guns] on me. That’s normal, but my kids at the time [were] 4 years old and 6 [months old]. They were upstairs in the room with their mama.”

Cops went upstairs where his children were in the room with their mother. “They go up in the room and they got the big AK’s all up in my little kids’ faces [yelling] ‘Don’t move! I’m like ‘bro, what the f*ck is ya’ll doing? Ya’ll got me f*cked up! They doing this to my little kids…and these are little girls, you know what I’m saying?

“I’ve been through a lot of other stuff with the police but I’m from the streets though so it’s like I got a target on my back from that and I know that,” he continued. “When you from a certain area the police gon’ f*ck with you.”

YG added that he’s never been beaten by police, but at least two of his friends have been killed by cops. “It’s a lot of stuff that be going on with the police that don’t make the news, he said. “That activity [being targeted by police] became normal to us. [We’ve] dealt with that for a long time. It’s sad to say but when you’re Black, you feel like that’s what comes with being Black.”

The incident was the second time that police raided his home in the last year. In July 2019, authorities raided the residence in connection with a shooting investigation. YG was not involved in the investigation and was not home at the time.

Watch his full interview below.

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Naya Rivera Laid To Rest During Private Ceremony In Los Angeles

Glee star Naya Rivera was laid to rest during a private ceremony held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles last week, according to a death certificate obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday (July 30).

Rivera’s funeral date was July 24. Her cause of death is listed as an accidental drowning, and her date of death is July 13 -- five days after she went missing at Lake Piru in Ventura County, Calif.

The 33-year-old actress took her 4-year-old son, Josey, out for an afternoon on the lake on July 8. Mother and son were in the water when things went awry and Rivera lifted him back onto the boat.

Rivera drowned within minutes of being submerged in the lake, her death certificate states. Josey was found safely on the boat and was able to tell authorities what happened to his mother.

Days later, Rivera’s family broke their silence to thank those who recovered her body.

“We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her fiends, colleagues, and fans for your continued support,” the family said. “Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time.”

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