Pharrell Williams is on the cover of the November issue of Ebony Magazine and from an early look, it seems like he has taken a dive into the pool of delusion that Kanye West has happily been swimming in for the past couple of years.
Pharrell—a member of the "new black" population that no other black people have heard about—speaks to the magazine about, among other things, Ferguson, Missouri and his love for black women.
He addresses the controversy that swirled when he released the cover for his album G I R L that had nary a black woman on the cover. While it's certainly not his job to represent black women, I don't think critics were out of line in simply being disappointed that black women were, yet again, being underrepresented—and by a black man, no less.
At the time, Pharrell used the, "I have a black friend" defense when he shot back that his wife and mother of his child is black, so obviously he thinks black women are beautiful, just not beautiful enough to be on the cover of his album. He employs pretty much the exact same response in the Ebony interview. Via The YBF:
"I love Black women," says Williams. "If you don't think I love Black women, then you don't understand me." He continues to add, "I have obsessed over Black women since the days of Jayne Kennedy, Beverly Peele and Roshumba Williams. Those are the women I daydreamed about growing up."
I get that he was asked the question and has to respond in some way, but the fact that he just rattles off black women he used to masturbate to is worthy of an eyeroll. A better answer would have been: I'm not even going to explain to you that I find black women beautiful because having to explain that in and of itself is offensive and condescending.
Asking celebrities who have proven that they no serious knowledge of or insight into major national issues is par for the course these days. When Pharrell talks about race, he generally spews a bunch of word salad that he truly believes is smart commentary on racial politics in America, but really just makes me want to enroll him in a black history course.
"I don't talk about race since it takes a very open mind to hear my view, because my view is the sky view. But I'm very troubled by what happened in Ferguson, Mo."
"When things like that happen, we need to be a united cell. We need connective tissue to be linked by spirit and spirituality."
"For every individual who gets killed, someone should build a school or teach a child. We really need to balance things with positivity."
Is that an official policy change he's suggesting? How about, for every unarmed black person that's killed, we prosecute the person who did it for murder and they go to prison? I think most of us would be satisfied with that. Actual justice being served tends to be a pretty positive experience by itself.
This all smacks very much of the shift Kanye West has made over the last couple of years. Kanye West—the child of a Black Panther—went from spitting lyrics like: "And I basically know now/ We get racially profiled/ 'Cuffed up and hosed down, pimped up and ho'd down," to comparing being a celebrity and dealing with the paparazzi to the fucking Civil Right's Movement.
As an old black, I'm not really personally offended by anything Pharrell or Kanye says. I get it. With a different tax bracket comes difference concerns. And while I'd hope they would still be conscious of the experience of most black Americans, I'm not surprised that they've distanced themselves or lost persecutive on the issues we face. It seems we will just have more people to ignore as the new black population grows, one confused multimillionaire at a time. Hey, at least we have Jesse Williams.
Images via Getty and Ebony.