It’s difficult not to like Frank Ocean. He tells big corporations to “f*ck off” when giving back huge advance cheques; he makes good music and he’s helping to break down the barriers of homophobia in R&B and Rap in his songs by addressing the issue.
Look how much Frank Ocean cares. Look at him.
Let’s start from the beginning. Chipotle – the fast food Mexican chain - wanted Ocean to sing a remake of the Willy Wonka song, Pure Imagination. All was well; the advert would promote responsible framing (as it sort of still does, as you can see below) and Ocean would lend his mellifluous tones to it.
But then things went wrong. Reportedly disturbed by Chipotle’s insistence on having their logo at the end of the ad, Ocean backed out, saying he thought the ad would be solely in existence to promote farming without the use of caged animals and chemicals. Big corporations don’t tend to funnel money into marketing without making sure people know they’re behind it.
And so we arrive at the cheque. Litigation ensued: Chipotle took Ocean to court for backing out of the deal after they’d sent him an advance of $212,500 to sing the spot for them. Ocean has now returned that money in the form of a cheque – according to his Tumblr account – which had a little message for the burrito company. And you know what that message is by now.
More: Why Frank Ocean is teaming up with The Clash.
It seems somewhat naïve for Ocean to be surprised by Chipotle’s intentions. Sensible, responsible farming is something most people would like to see, and it’s something people with the means are willing to pay for. But to expect a corporation to do something for nothing is silly talk. It really is.
The actual spot itself is really fun to watch. It features our Mr. Scarecrow, a workaday chap who lives out of the city. He’s getting increasingly disenchanted with the techniques employed to provide cheap eats by Crow Foods, who seem to have a monopoly in the city when it comes to feeding its residents.
It’s not until he sees a fresh chilli – a Chipotle chilli, no doubt – that an idea sparks in his little scarecrow brain. He’ll use fresh ingredients, responsibly sourced, and serve them up as an alternative to the mass-produced, chemically enhanced tripe the masses consume with their own brand of ignorant gusto.