Metro Weekly

Frank Ocean Makes History With Coachella Headlining Spot

Ocean is the first openly gay musician to headline Coachella, one of the largest and most important music festivals in the world.

Frank Ocean -- Photo via Flickr/Ole Haug
Frank Ocean — Photo via Flickr/Ole Haug

The lineup for the 2023 edition of the Coachella music festival was revealed earlier this week, and a quick look at the biggest names on the poster shows that this is going to be a historic year on many fronts for the event.

Frank Ocean is scheduled to headline the third day of the festival, taking to the main stage on both Sunday, April 16 and the following Sunday, April 23. He is sure to play to an enormous crowd on both occasions, and his being selected is a huge moment for both the festival itself and the LGBTQ community.

Ocean appears to be the first openly gay musician to headline Coachella, which is one of the largest and most important music festivals in the world. The show has previously been headlined by at least one openly bisexual performer, Lady Gaga, but until this year a new ceiling will be shattered.

The crooner was originally slated to headline Coachella back in 2020, when he was selected to lead the show alongside rapper Travis Scott and hard rock band Rage Against the Machine.

That year, the event was initially postponed from April until October due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but once it was clear that the world was still in turmoil by the fall, the concert was canceled outright.

Coachella did not return in 2021 either, and when it did resume in 2022, none of the three headliners who had been scheduled for 2020 returned. Instead, the show was headlined that year by Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, and a joint showing of Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd.

Ocean came out as gay more than a decade ago during the height of his ascent in the music industry. He had hinted at same-sex romances in his songs and even in the liner notes of his debut album Channel Orange, and it didn’t take him long to share an open letter on social media that confirmed what many had assumed

Since then, Ocean has remained one of the most high-profile openly gay artists in both the R&B and hip-hop genres, as he regularly releases music that straddles the line between the two styles and works with artists who are known for producing music in one field or the other.

Fans of the superstar are thrilled he will be headlining Coachella this year as it’s been a while since Ocean has made a big splash (pun intended). The singer is known to go long periods of time without releasing music or really making any comment to the public.

His last projects – Blonde and Endless (which were marketed as two separate albums, despite being released one day apart) – dropped in the summer of 2016. Since then, he has doled out plenty of songs and collaborations with other artists, but long-time listeners are still waiting for a new full-length of some kind.

This year will be a historic year at Coachella no matter the day or the stage, as all three headliners are a first in some fashion.

Bad Bunny is slated to open the event on the two Fridays in which it will occur, breaking barriers as the first Latin headliner and the first headliner to perform primarily in Spanish.

On the pair of Saturday nights of Coachella 2023, Blackpink will perform for untold thousands, becoming the first K-pop act to headline the festival.

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