Do gentlemen prefer Blonde? As Frank Ocean began his reworking of Stevie Wonder’s cover of Close to You at the FYF Fest in Los Angeles this weekend, the video monitors filled with Brad Pitt mock-talking into his cellphone just off stage. Ocean serenaded the movie idol with the pop classic as Pitt continued to mime an intense phone conversation. Ocean then segued into the Jackson 5’s Never Can Say Goodbye as Pitt indulged in the surprising, and crowd-pleasing performance art bit.
Last year, Ocean released his long-awaited follow-up album Blonde, considered a masterpiece by critics, including Pitchfork who marveled at, “an album filled with deep love, heady philosophy, despondent loss.” Pitt was one of the millions of fans who were deeply taken by the raw emotional depths of Ocean’s songs, telling GQ that Ocean’s album helped him during a turbulent time (Brangelina break-up) and praised Ocean saying, “I find this young man so special. Talk about getting to the raw truth. He’s painfully honest. He’s very, very special.”
Ocean came out as bisexual in a bombshell letter prior to the release of his highly anticipated, 2012 watershed album Channel Orange. The album contained tracks alluding to lost love and unrequited desires for men. In the letter, Ocean revealed that at 19 he had fallen for a man and that, “it was my first love, it changed my life.” The letter also let the world know the sense of liberation that coming out gave Ocean, “I feel like a free man.”