Frank Ocean gave a great performance at Panorama Music Festival last Friday, but the resulting discussion around his set has centered not so much on his music — or the fact that filmmaker Spike Jonze filmed the show — but on the instantly iconic T-shirt that Ocean wore during the performance.
“Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you could just be quiet?” Ocean’s plain-white shirt read, in capitalized black lettering.
Over the weekend following Ocean’s performance, the shirt became a viral hit on Twitter, and Robinson’s site flooded with 5,500 overall purchases — a massive boon compared to her typical two-day sales of 100 orders.
The Times story goes on to detail, however, that the text of the shirt originated from the following August 2015 tweet, written by 18-year-old Brandon Male:
why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you could bE QUIET
— brandon (@avogaydro) August 8, 2015
Male said he contacted Green Box Shop about the shirt earlier this year, and they initially disregarded him. After the shirt blew up following Ocean’s performance, Robinson reportedly sent Male $100 via Venmo — less than 1% of the revenue gained from the $18.99 shirts in two days.
“It was an impulsive decision,” Robinson told the Times. “I hadn’t looked at the number of sales, and I wasn’t thinking about it portionwise. It does look like I was just throwing money at him to keep him quiet.”
Male could have filed a cease-and-desist against Green Box for using his tweet without his permission. Instead, the two parties have since agreed to avoid the nebulous waters of internet copyright protection by sitting down to negotiate a proportional profit for both sides.