Frank Ocean has responded to criticism of his first night at a PrEP + nightclub in New York City. The invitation-only event, which took place Thursday night in New York City, has been described as “a tribute to what might have been the New York club scene of the 1980s if the drug PrEP … had been invented in that time”. PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a once-daily pill that significantly reduces the risk of HIV infection and is prescribed for groups at high risk of contracting the disease.
Those who attended the event were quick to express their disappointment, saying the party was underwhelming, too exclusive, and failed to celebrate or uplift the queer community.
Frank responded to the reviews via Tumblr on Friday, explaining the inspiration behind the event and his intention to raise awareness of the anti-HIV drug.
“A few days before we were having the party I was discussing this topic with my team and one of the architects I work with thought that PrEP as a drug had reached ‘100% saturation’ as long as there was awareness. “, he wrote. “I thought he was totally wrong so I asked a friend (whom I won’t name haha) if he knew what PrEP was and his answer was’ isn’t that a type of viagra or something like that. “My ex who I was with for several years, we didn’t know when we first met at a gay club in LA. Awareness isn’t always what we do. hoped she would be. “
He also denied claims that the event was funded by Gilead Sciences, the makers of PrEP.
Read Ocean’s full response below.
Not funded by Gilead Sciences
Funded by Blonded, independently
Let’s put that aside.
The club culture around the late 70s and the 80s nightlife in New York City was a special thing, much talked about and written about. From star-studded downtown clubs like studio 54 and premier danceteria to downtown clubs like Mudd + paradise garage. The numbers, the music, the looks, the lack of regulation haha. I recognize that NY was not all lasers and disco lights and at the same time there was a lot of crime and poverty and a lot of the club culture, the gay community, at that time. was devastated by HIV + AIDS. Now in 2019 there is a pill you can take every day that with over 90% chances will prevent you from getting HIV. This pill was approved by the FDA in 2012. The pricing strategy behind it is in my opinion malicious and therefore its public perception is tainted and rightly so. But the fact remains that while the price is a very real barrier to this potentially life-saving drug for some, the other very real barrier is awareness. I decided to name what would otherwise be a night of lights and music inspired by an era of clubbing that I loved PrEP + because when designing the club that is inside an old sub – floor of an old glass factory in Queens (shout at The Basement which runs a really good techno night on Fridays after us) I began to imagine a time when so many lives were lost and so many promises lost forever with them, how would it have been if something, something had existed in all probability would have saved thousands and thousands of lives. I am an artist, it is at the heart of my job to imagine realities that do not necessarily exist and it is a joy. A few days before I organized the party, I was discussing this topic with my team and one of the architects I work with thought that PrEP as a drug had reached “100% saturation” in terms of awareness. I thought he was totally wrong so I asked a friend (whom I won’t name haha) if he knew what PrEP was and his response was “isn’t that a type of viagra or something like that ”. My ex who I had been with for several years didn’t know when we first met at a gay club in LA. Awareness is not always what we hoped for. But anyway, I groan. I’m glad people are talking about the topic in the first place. Thank you to everyone who came to dance with us last night. You were all beautiful and the energy was good! Thank you Bouffant Bouffant, Sango, Justice and Sherelle for your sets last night, they were so nice. Oh one more thing, I saw someone say it was a stunt of PR etc, pshhh bitch, come have a drink next time and I will put several bar stools so you can have so many seats as you want. All my love everyone really. Be careful.
This story will be updated.