mtvU Names Frank Ocean and Malala Yousafzai 'Man and Woman of the Year'
mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network, today announced its 2012 Man and Woman of the Year: singer/songwriter Frank Ocean and Pakistani social activist Malala Yousafzai, two Millennials bravely challenging the status quo in their respective communities. Deeply honest and unafraid to break boundaries, Frank Ocean's distinctive sound was heralded as the future of R&B this year, and he became a hero to many when he published a letter on Tumblr detailing his first love -- another man. mtvU's "Woman of the Year" is a very different, and incredibly brave, young person. In her dedicated quest to achieve equal educational rights for women, the 15 year-old Pakistani social activist Malala Yousafzai is a powerful symbol of strength and courage who, despite being attacked by the Taliban, continues to fight for equality. Beginning Thursday, December 6, MTV's college network will profile the "Man and Woman of the Year" to millions of young people on college campuses around the country on-air and online.
"Malala courageously risked everything to stand up against the brutal forces that tried to silence her. In the face of intensely dangerous opposition, she refuses to stop fighting for equality, and at just 15 years old, is already an icon for her generation and the world," said Stephen Freidman, President of MTV. "mtvU is proud to shine a spotlight on her, and on Frank Ocean, whose boundary-shattering music and commitment to personal expression has touched and inspired millions. He refused to let homophobia stop him, and the cultural impact of his work will echo for years to come."
Frank Ocean: mtvU Man of the Year
For years, Frank Ocean was a name known only in the music industry and underground circles. He quietly wrote songs for stars like Beyonce and Justin Bieber, while earning respect for his underground mixtape "nostalgia, ULTRA" – which sounded like nothing else in R&B. His ascent continued with his role as the crooning member of the Odd Future hip-hop collective and with his unmistakable presence on Jay Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne." This year, Frank stepped into the solo spotlight with his first major-label release, Channel Orange, debuting second on the Billboard Charts and garnering critical acclaim. He then showcased his talents to the world with his show-stopping, ethereal performance at the 2012 "MTV Video Music Awards" which set social media ablaze as his name became the most searched term globally that night.
To many- Frank Ocean represents to the future of R&B. Critics hailed Channel Orange as "more than an album," saying "it feels as if it landed years ahead of time." Some of the songs on the album raised questions about Frank's sexuality, and shortly before its release he published a touching, heartbreaking letter on Tumblr that recounted his first love – with another man. It was a fearless move that risked exposing him to ridicule and alienation from a historically homophobic hip-hop community. Ocean ultimately gained the support of his peers and legions of fans, but either way, this was an incredibly brave move for an artist on the verge of superstardom.
Malala Yousafzai: mtvU Woman of the Year
Only a teenager, Malala Yousafzai has already made an indelible impact on her generation, and the world. Her fight began when she started blogging about her desire for women's schooling in Pakistan by standing up and speaking out against the Taliban. This October, her efforts for equal education led to an unfathomable consequence when Taliban militants boarded her school bus, shooting her in the head and neck and wounding two other schoolchildren. She miraculously survived and is now more than ever staying true to her core position, recently stating, "Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right."
To honor her conviction, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon declared November 10 "Malala Day," an occasion designed to draw attention to the global struggle for women's education. Staring down the Taliban at just 15 years old, Malala has demonstrated a fearless and undeniable commitment to equal rights and education for all.
Each year, mtvU selects cultural leaders from the world of music, pop culture and/or politics who are inspiring change and making an impact on the world. mtvU's 2011 "People of the Year" were "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In 2010, the college network named Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and hip hop artist Nicki Minaj its "Man and Woman of the Year."
For more information or to view the mtvU 2012 "Man and Woman of the Year" segment, head to www.mtvU.com.