Ocean, too, addresses invisibility and discrimination in his work. On the first track of his celebrated 2016 album Blonde, titled “Nikes,” he pays tribute to Trayvon Martin, a young black man killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer at age 17, with the line: “RIP Trayvon, that nigga look just like me.” The allusion to police brutality and racial profiling is one of several made across the record.
Ocean has also made the prejudice and shaming the LGBTQ community faces the subject of his songs. “Lens,” in particular—through its hypnotic, labyrinthine rhymes—advocates for greater acceptance by telling the story of a closeted relationship. “Can’t be my type, I’m a low life,” he chants in one section, alluding to a fear he’s expressed of being honest with himself and others about his own sexuality. “Despite the life I lead, all this life in me, spirits watch me, pants down, can’t be ’barrassed of it,” he sings in the chorus.