Yesterday, Frank Ocean put on the first edition of his new Blonded club night, PrEP+, in New York.
“No photos or videos are allowed,” read the night’s rules, messaged to all invitees. “Consent is mandatory. Zero tolerance for racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism or any form or discrimination.”
At the bottom was a strict instruction: “The dance floor is for dancing.”
This – it appeared – was a promise of a real party. A sweaty, sexy affair, amplified by its pledge to deliver an “homage to what could have been the 1980s’ NYC club scene if the drug PrEP – which can be taken daily to prevent HIV/AIDS for those who are not infected but are at high risk – had been invented in that area”.
Located at The Basement, a club space at the Knockdown Center in Queens, the large contemporary art space housed offered generous room for avid dancers, and a less packed corner to have a think.
Overgenerous smoke machines meant faces were obscured by fog. Paired with a blanket of darkness – bar some flashing rainbow lights at the entrance (sourced from legendary NYC gay club, Saint, apparently the only ones left in the world) – anyone could be anyone. And while it was impossible to make out the majority of clubbers – many of which were invited by Papi Juice, who had control over the guestlist – hoards of kids and celebs flocked to support: Zoe Kravitz and her husband, the actor Karl Glusman, Hanne Gaby, Amanda Lepore and Arca (wearing a cut-out black bodysuit and sunglasses indoors) all joining the mob for a Thursday night on the lash.
With a lack of VIP area, it meant the famous had to mingle with the fans. Ocean milled about the crowd dressed in a green and black cap and later premiered what appeared to be a new song. The room was packed, hot and sweaty with grinding in abundance.
Despite positive intentions, Frank Ocean today addressed backlash from some saying that the night was paid for by Gilead Sciences, the parent company that manufactures PrEP. Ocean confirmed in a statement on Tumblr (below) that it was not a partnership with the company, and “funded by Blonded, independently.”
He also cleared up questions posed on social media about the night – meant to celebrate ’80s club culture in NYC – being put on in poor taste, since it was meant to imagine what it would be like had the AIDS epidemic not wiped out over half a million people since the early ‘80s.
Read his full statement below: