Pharrell to Black Women: You Don't Need Me to Represent You

Remember when the Internet was mad at Pharrell Williams for not including a black woman on his G I R L album cover? Well, the Oscar-nominated Hat Wearer called the Internet's bluff in a new GQ interview, saying that one of the women in the LP’s photo is indeed black. And also, it's not his responsibility to represent black women anyway!

It's insecurity. If you love who you are—and I'm not saying that there's not a plight out there for people who have different skin colors, because Mexicans go through just as much discrimination, if not more discrimination, than black people do in this country. Right? ... The girl that was closest next to me is black, but they didn't know that, so they jumped the gun. And it wasn't all black women. There were a lot of black women that were really angry at some of those girls, but some of those girls are the ones that instantly get mad when they don't see somebody that's dark. And it's like: "Yo, you don't need nobody to represent you. You represent you. You represent the best version of who you could be. You go out there and change the world." Because I'm black, and I wouldn't trade my skin color for nothing. But I don't need to keep wearing a badge that tells you that I'm black every time I do something! I'm black! In fact, the media will tell you I'm the first black person that's had a number-one record in America in a year since Rihanna's "Diamonds" in 2012—the first black person! ... So why do I need to roll around with a scarlet letter on my forehead that says "Black"? My mother's black, who's a big part of my business; a black woman runs my business; and I'm married to a black woman. What more do you want? And why are we talking about this? And if we're going to talk about degrees of black—what is it in this country? I still believe that if you are at least 1/32nd of black blood in your body, even if you look like you, you are deemed black. Right?

Also, the black woman in the G I R L album cover is one of Skateboard P’s ex-girlfriends from ten years ago. Back in the interview chat, the GQ writer agrees with Pharrell, as any good journalist would, to get him to keep talking and swirl farther into his tangent. Pharrell doesn't disappoint.

Lenny Kravitz is biracial, but to me and everybody else I know, he's known as one of the biggest black rock stars of all time. Our president: He's biracial! Mom was white, daddy was black, and he is black. So what do you want me to do, go picket in front of the White House that he's not black enough? So to me, that's a divisive conversation that just comes at the wrong time, because the first black guy to have a number-one record in over seventy countries—number two in this country, to Rick Ross: I'm happy! That's my man. No one deserves it more than him. But at the end of the day, the rest of the world: It was mine. I'm a black man. I'm happy to be black, and anybody that is not happy to be black will point around and ask for that kind of sympathy. But the thing is, let's not ask nobody for no more sympathy. Let's get together ourselves and support ourselves.

It doesn't make sense to me. That kind of divisiveness is not necessary at a time when we're supposed to be unifying. That's what happiness is all about, and if you look at my "Happy" video, I had everybody in there: fat, skinny, gay, straight, purple, polka-dot, plaid, gingham print, houndstooth, alien. I fuckin' had dogs in there! I had children in there! I had kids in there! I'm the most indiscriminate person that there is! I believe in equality.

So which is it? Is President Obama black or not? Since you're so mad: Is he black or not? Come on, man! We ain't got time for that. We are black people. This is the new black. Oprah Winfrey: That's the new black. She's a black billionaire. President Obama: He is a black American president. Regardless of what you think about him, this is his second term. That's the new black. LeBron James: the first black man ever shot on a Vogue cover, a black man. Me: a guy that's written a song at 40! Nominated for an Oscar, four Grammy awards—at 40! That's the new black! And by the way: a song that has transcended my lyrics, my own intention, and has become a movement and helped cancer patients. That's the new black! Black ain't a color: Black is a spirit, and it is ubiquitous. In fact, there's more black out in space than there is stars. We have nothing to be insecure about.

In Pharrell's world of wealth, where people probably see him as that rich music guy first and a black man second, race shouldn't matter. Let's get free!

Pharrell is also confident that Hillary Clinton will win the next presidential election — if she’ll just announce her candidacy already — and compares Republicans and Democrats to the Bloods and the Crips, naturally.

Everywhere you go in this country, you have red and blue. You got the Democrats; you got the Republicans. You got the Bloods; you got the Crips. Everything is red and blue in this country. You know what else is red and blue? Blood. Blood is blue in your body until air hits it, and then it turns red. That means there's unity. There's gonna be unity. So when you think about a night where there's late-night talk-show hosts and it's mostly women, that's a different world. Right? A world where seventy-five percent of the prime ministers and the presidents were women: That's a different world. That's gonna happen, and it's gonna happen when Hillary wins. Because you know what? No matter how staunch of a supporter you are of no-abortion, whatever you are: You're a woman, and there's no way in the world you're going to vote for somebody that's going to try to tell you what to do with your body.

We should probably introduce Pharrell to Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin and Jan Brewer. Oh, and Miley Cyrus is his Republican woman whisperer.

The Tea Party guys? The guys with the nigger jokes in 2014? They're all trying to learn how to do the Dougie. Please. While their daughters are all twerking. Trust me: Miley tells me all the time. Not saying that about Billy Ray, but I'm saying Miley tells me all the time: All those little girls, all those girls with their Republican daddies, they're twerkin' somewhere listening to Jay Z and Beyoncé and doin' the "Happy" dance. And that's black.

These statements make it pretty clear that while Pharrell is a talented guy with a face for an anti-aging commercial, he lives a very singular life insulated by wealth and class. He's created a world of beauty and creativity, and everyone won't always support his vision but that's art, isn't it? When Black Twitter is upset about something these days, that group wastes little time voicing their opinion. Now, unlike say in 1992 when Pharrell began in the music business with his first work of art "Rumpshaker," dissidents can aim their vitriol directly at Pharrell with 140 characters. Still, I see Pharrell's point; Why can't Americans move on from race stratifications and what those ranks are fashioned to represent in popular culture? Unfortunately, we can't answer those questions today Pharrell. This is America dammit, a country built on enslaving and subjugating people. Our history is not the best, it's complicated and brutal but it's ours and we're all trying to push our way through the muck. Maybe one day the myth of a post-racial society will actually exist, until then we have the musings of the guy behind our favorite drunken party songs.

#neverforget