It pains me to have to write a blog post that is in any way supportive of Frankie J. "Look at me, notice me" Grande. His "I'm Ariana Grande's brother so worship me" schtick was old about thirty seconds into it and the preening 31-year-old has worn out his welcome on my and many millions of TV screens. He's self-absorbed, narcissistic, delusional, and catty. But he's not Satan, he's not a contender for Keith Olberman's "Worst Person Ever," and he's not deserving of the explosively negative reaction now taking over the Big Brother 16 Twitter timelines.
Here's the story. As any fan of this season knows, Frankie is not just a dancer/former Broadway performer, YouTuber, and Famous Adjacent Dude*, he's also a philanthropist. He is part of two different charities doing work in Africa - Broadway in South Africa and Build On. Despite what his detractors want to think, both are legitimate charities and both have raised money to help people in disadvantaged countries. Whether you think the money is spent wisely, or whether there are more "deserving" charities, there is no dispute that they are real, raise money, and try and do some good.
Before one of Frankie's trips to South Africa, he apparently posted the following about his experience at the airport as he tried to catch his flight. As anyone who has ever flown knows, getting through the airport can be frustrating to say the least. You have to maneuver through a maze of check points, avoiding squalling children and pieces of luggage larger than a water buffalo, strip down to your undies hoping to retrieve all of the belongings you jettisoned to make it through security only to find your plane has changed gates, has mechanical problems, or was rerouted to Guam. With that backdrop, Frankie wrote the following:
I read that as funny and relatable. Frankie has a way of describing things that is actually pretty funny. And the juxtaposition of going off to do charity work while simultaneously bitching about all the little people who stand between him and the plane is hysterical. In my family, we have one rule - anything for humor. The question is not, should you say that, but was it funny. Life is too short not to laugh, not to find the humor in every situation, whenever you can. There is so much serious crap going on all the time (not to mention, spoiler alert, we're all going to die some day) why not take the chances to smile, chuckle or laugh out loud every chance you get.
As a formerly fat, currently Jewish person, I was not at all offended by anything he said in that post. It was exaggeration of an experience for humorous effect - basically the very definition of humor. What was important to me was - it was well-written and funny. It was not mean-spirited or hateful (unlike much of the vitriol currently being hurled at Frankie).
Frankie was taking his time to go and do something to benefit someone else. Did he do it solely for "selfless reasons?" Of course not. No one does. Mother Teresa and Gandhi were supremely selfish people - they served others because they wanted to, they felt compelled to and BECAUSE IT MADE THEM FEEL GOOD. This notion that charity has to be done "unselfishly" is ridiculous. Giving makes people feel good, helping others gives one purpose. Anyone who gives of themselves for another is helping - and it is not for anyone else to judge whether one charity is more deserving of another or one do-gooder is superior to another.
I know that Big Brother creates heroes and villains and Frankie is this year's villain (personally, I am much more disturbed by the Gaslighting that Derrick has done to the young people in the house than anything Frankie has done). As an avowed Zach Rance fan, I hated Frankie for backstabbing Zach as much as the rest of you. But right now I'm much angrier at all the hatred he is getting for this funny if somewhat tasteless post and the fact that it forced me to do something I never thought I'd do. I had to write something in support of Frankie J. Grande. Oh, Rose!
*coined by https://twitter.com/LunaCee73